20000 Leagues Under the Sea – 1954 – English
Film directed in 1954 by Richard Fleischer, and starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, Peter Lorre, Robert J. Wilke, Carleton Young, Ted de Corsia, Ted Cooper, Percy Helton, J.M. Kerrigan…
Synopsis: Adaptation of the homonymous novel by Jules Verne. In 1870, due to the stories of sailors who claim to have seen a sea monster in the South Pacific, the United States chartered a warship to destroy the beast that alters the tranquility of the seas. But, when the monster attacks them, all their war power is useless to avoid disaster. After the sinking of the ship, the crew are rescued by the “monster” itself, which turns out to be a ship capable of diving into the sea, something unprecedented until then.
Review: Watched 20000 Leagues Under the Sea recently and was delighted to find it stands the test of time as one of the better Disney live action films on the market. A quality take on Jules Verne‘s advanced story of subs and the atomic threat that was soon to become ever so prominent in the public conscious. This adaptation is a corking sci-fi adventure that benefits from great work from all involved.
The cast are just smashing, James Mason is the stand out as the barmy but intelligent protagonist Capt. Nemo, gruff and menacing with a dandy slice of camp into the proceedings. Then we have Kirk Douglas, tough and rugged with a song and dance to help moral moving along, and even taking time out to befriend a seal to help jolly the film in heart. Peter Lorre is solid as ever, and Paul Lukas almost steals the show as the conflicted Professor Pierre Aronnax.
The sets are wonderful, the direction seamless, and the special effects make it hard to believe this was made back in the early 1950s, but ultimately its a story for adults and an adventure for the kids. Containing a giant squid sequence that sees Mason & Douglas fighting it to the death serves as proof positive that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is an unadulterated joy. 9/10