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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Special Edition)

4.8 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Mason, Peter Lorre, Kirk Douglas, Ted De Corsia, Paul Lukas
  • Directors: Richard Fleischer
  • Writers: Screenplay By Earl Felton, Based On The Novel By Jules Verne
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Live, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: G
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: March 2 2004
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00005JKU0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,919 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Climb aboard the Nautilus ... and into a strange undersea world of spellbinding adventure! Kirk Douglas, Paul Lukas, and Peter Lorre star as shipwrecked survivors taken captive by the mysterious Captain Nemo, brilliantly portrayed by James Mason. Wavering between genius and madness, Nemo has launched a deadly crusade across the seven seas. But can the captive crew expose his evil plan before he destroys the world? Disney's brilliant Academy Award(R)-winning (1955, Best Art Direction and Best Special Effects) adaptation of Jules Verne's gripping tale makes 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA a truly mesmerizing masterpiece!


The swashbuckler genre bumped into science fiction in 1954 for one of Hollywood's great entertainments. The Jules Verne story of adventure under the sea was Walt Disney's magnificent debut into live-action films. A professor (Paul Lukas) seeks the truth about a legendary sea monster in the years just after the Civil War. When his ship is sunk, he, his aide (Peter Lorre), and a harpoon master (Kirk Douglas) survive to discover that the monster is actually a metal submarine run by Captain Nemo (James Mason). Along with the rollicking adventure, it's fun to see the future technology that Verne dreamed up in his novel, including diving equipment and sea farming. The film's physical prowess is anchored by the Nautilus, an impressive full-scale gothic submarine complete with red carpet and pipe organ. In the era of big sets, 20,000 Leagues set a precedent for films shot on the water and deservedly won Oscars for art direction and special effects. Lost in the inventiveness of the film and great set pieces including a giant squid attack are two great performances. Mason is the perfect Nemo, taut and private, clothed in dark fabric that counters the Technicolor dreamboat that is the beaming red-and-white-stripe-shirted Kirk Douglas as the heroic Ned Land. The film works as peerless family adventure nearly half a century later. --Doug Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: DVD
Like many of the other reviewers of this movie, I'm a pre-boomer who was dazzled by the film as a child. Somewhere in my aging mom's attic, I have a few bolts (painted wood) from the movie set of the Nautilus, which I "borrowed" from one of the Disney properties as a kid nearly a half century ago. I remember taking a bus from LA to Burbank to stare through the slats of the fence in the back lot of the Disney Studios and seeing a partial model of the Nautilus, perhaps 1/3 scale, tossed in a corner like so much debris. What I would have given to be able to drag that model home.
When I viewed the VHS version of this film a couple of years ago, I was bitterly disappointed by the poor quality which made the watching experience actually painful to a fan like me. But, let me tell you, this DVD is as thrilling as the VHS was painful. This fully-restored version of the film comes roaring back to life in all of its glory and then some. It's the best film restoration these old eyes have ever beheld. Watched on a state-of-the-art widescreen TV, this is every bit the experience it was in the '50's and I think it's wonderful that this great film is now preserved for the ages, just as it was when it was first released.
Is this a perfect movie? No. Even as a kid, I noticed that the background music was too cheesy, that Kirk Douglas's songs seemed gratuitous, that the fish swimming outside the large porthole were cartoonish, and that the electrically-illuminated eye of the Giant Squid made an otherwise perfect special effect look a bit fake. I'm just as puzzled by those weaknesses today as I was then, especially since all other aspects of the film, including the numerous, Oscar-winning special effects involving the Nautilus, are masterful. But no movie is perfect and this movie, minor warts and all, is nothing less than a memorial to the genius of Disney, the acting of James Mason, the passion of the Disney staff, and the vision of Jules Verne.
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Format: DVD
Finally! The definitive edition of a Jules Verne classic brought back in all its pomp and glory. The price, for once, is right.
I remember it when it first was released in Europe, and I can safely say that this version beats even that showing back then.
Extremely clear image, stupendous surround sound, make this a must have in the most absolute way.
Forget all the other versions ever made. This remains THE classic of them all!
Forget the dated special effects which, by the way, you may not even notice, since the story is so gripping and fast paced, that you may not even realize they are.
James Mason gives a wonderful portrayal of Captain Nemo. One of his best roles, together with Fieldmarshal Rommel in "The Desert Fox", Cicero in "Five Fingers" and Professor Arronax in "Journey to the Center of the Earth" of about the same period.
Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorre form a perfect if not odd comical duo, to ease the tension of the story.
The score is beautifully remastered and brings you immediately back to those long bygone days of great moviemaking.
I won't be long reviewing this movie, since many others before me, have already praised it and described it in detail.
I can only say, buy it, buy it, buy it!
Oh, and by the way, don't forget about another Jules Verne classic coming out soon on DVD and in Widescreen:
"Around the World in 80 Days".
That's another "absolutely must have".
In the meanwhile, have you checked on "Journey to the Center of the Earth".
Do you have it on your DVD shelf?
Shame on you...
Go and get it fast.
It's been remastered and it's a worthy companion to the other two Jules Verne movies.
So, what are you waiting for?
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Format: DVD
Neither of the abysmal recent television adaptations of Jules Verne's classic novel manage to capture the tragically noble essence of Captain Nemo as well as this sweeping and colorful 1954 Disney adaptation. Whereas the predictable contemporary direction is to create an obsessed sociopath consumed by his own rage, Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" sticks to Verne's original vision of an elegant but tortured genius who vows to rid the world of war by hunting the seas for those who traffic in human suffering. The spot-on James Mason brings Nemo to life with just the right touch of brilliance and sadness-we know he is doomed to failure, yet despite his misguided methods, there's a part of us that roots for him and his cause. Paul Lukas is wonderfully sympathetic as Professor Arronax, the soft-spoken, Victorian biologist who begins to identify with Nemo; Peter Lorre, as the professor's skulking assistant, Conseil, and Kirk Douglas, as Ned Land, the brash harpooner that ultimately causes Nemo's undoing, provide much of the comic relief. But even the solid cast must compete with Harper Goff's version of the Nautilus, quite possibly the most successful blend of technology and imagination to ever grace the silver screen. In a production that shines--from the beautiful cinematography to Richard Fleischer's sure-handed direction to special effects that are wonderfully tangible in this age of cold computer effects--there is a feast for the senses in every scene, and Paul Smith's evocative score--Douglas' musical number notwithstanding--will stay with you long after the credits roll. Disney deserves kudos for producing a DVD that is lovely to look at and packed with extras, though we probably could live without the myriad commercials at the beginning of the main disc.
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