Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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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

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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