Friday, January 8, 2016

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954)

Starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, Peter Lorre, Robert J. Wilke
Directed by Richard Fleischer
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

An esteemed professor and his assistant become captives aboard the Nautilus, a revolutionary submarine commanded by Captain Nemo, obsessed with ridding the world of devices of war.

Disney's first live action adventure film is still a marvel decades later, with fantastic art direction and photography and memorable performances from all the principals, particularly Mason as the brooding Nemo, and Douglas shining as the uncouth fun-loving harpooner Ned Land.  Yet despite their screen presence, the Nautilus seems the true star of the film, wonderfully realized from the pages of Jules Verne's novel, and more captivating here than in any other adaptation.  I've heard this was a labor of love for Walt Disney, and it shows, in a film deftly balancing grim themes with sights of wonder and amusing moments that will make you smile.

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