20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Special Edition)
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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 submarine the Nautilus was built to scale: 200 feet long and shaped as Verne had described it -- a monster with headlights as eyes.|Based on the classic Jules Verne novel, this was the first Disney feature filmed in CinemaScope.|The Disney special effects department built the giant squid out of rubber, steel spring, flexible tubing, glass cloth, Lucite, and plastic. When finished, the monster had tentacles that were 40 feet long and two feelers that measured 50 feet long. It took a crew of 28 to operate the beast's intricate remote controls.|The first time the battle with the giant squid was staged, the monster got waterlogged and sank. Real creatures weren't much more cooperative. When the filmmakers couldn't get real fish to swim by the cameras, the studio substituted animated fish instead.|Shooting locations for the film included various locales in the Bahamas and Jamaica, as well as the Disney backlot.
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.See all Product Description
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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.
The movie has been around since (1954), now available on DVD and streaming. We are also seeing a resurgence of this movie on TV. You will recognize many popular actors of the 50's era.
There is roomer of a giant see creature that is sinking ships. This is in the day that sails are giving way to steam. No one notices that the ships are all war ships. A professor (Paul Lukas) on his way to Saigon is enlisted by the U.S. Government to prove or disprove the roomer.
He soon finds out the truth in the matter. We get to go along for the adventure.
Do not forget to read the book to see how this story was Disneyfied.
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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