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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Special Edition)

James Mason , Peter Lorre , Richard Fleischer    G (General Audience)   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 14.99
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Product Description

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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

Special Features

All-New Audio Commentaries With Director Richard Fleischer And Classic Film Historian/Author Rudy Behlmer

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great DVD of a Great Film May 27 2004
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. ( Special Edition) Aug. 13 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love this movie. I was reading the book which I found so good and I decided to get the movie. I had never seen this movie and I'm so glad I bought it. I love Jules Verne and now I have another of his stories on DVD. Fast delivery and in excellent condition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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?
No?
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the Best Version! Dec 8 2003
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collectable for Kirk Douglas/ James Mason fans
For many this brings back memories of child hood fantasies. For others it is time to create some.

The movie has been around since (1954), now available on DVD and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I have been trying to find this movie since I saw it on TV a few years ago. Well worth the price.
Published 7 months ago by Aline M Carley
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
If you enjoy watching the oldies, you'll enjoy this old classic. The monsters were corny but enjoyable just the same.
Published 13 months ago by Watcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun - vintage Disney adventure!
This is a vintage Walt Disney adventure movie. Fun for everyone; a great combination of adventure, drama and suspense. Classic Disney at its best.
Published 15 months ago by Bruce Cowan
4.0 out of 5 stars COLLISION SPEED!
Definatly one of the classics. It took me back to my childhood watching Wonderful World of Disney on sunday nights.
Published 18 months ago by dustygiant
4.0 out of 5 stars A great cast,but an overly long film
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea(released Dec/54)stars Kirk Douglas,Peter Lorre,James Mason and Paul Lukas,in Walt Disney's take on the Jules Verne novel of the same name. Read more
Published on April 29 2012 by Robert Badgley
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior DVD Package of a Memorable Film
Loosely based on the celebrated novel by Jules Verne and set in the late 19th Century, LEAGUES offers the story of Professor Arronax (Paul Lukas), his assistant Conseil (Peter... Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2004 by Gary F. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-notch fantasy movie
Like most people who have seen this film, I admire and respect it greatly. A timeless classic. About the DVD: the picture and sound quality is very sharp and clean. Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic adventure movie
This movie was to its time what Pearl Harbor was to ours-a trailblazing film. I've watched this movie many times and I highly recommend it. Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2004
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