LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA
(director: Richard Fleischer; screenwriters: Earl
Feltor/from the novel by Jules Verne; cinematographer:
Franz Planer; editor: Elmo Williams; music: Paul Smith;
cast: Kirk Douglas
(Ned Land), James Mason (Captain Nemo), Paul Lukas
(Prof. Pierre Arronax), Peter Lorre (Conseil), Robert J.
Wilke (First Mate), Ted de Corsia (Capt. Farragut),
Carleton Young (John Howard); Runtime: 126;
MPAA Rating: G; producer: Walt Disney; Walt Disney Home
"A good one that could have been better with a little less Kirk Douglas and more scientific things to gawk at in wonder."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
fantasy adventure version of the classic Jules Verne novel, directed
with the skill of a craftsman by Richard
Fleischer ("The Narrow Margin"/"Violent
Saturday"/"Doctor Dolittle") and finely written by
Earl Feltor to be lively, comical and fiddling around
with a political agenda that can't quite say out loud
it's against colonialism by the major powers but gives
the madman scientist a motivation for why he's so
pissed off at the world--something not found in the
novel. Great art designs, colorful underwater
shots and amazing technical skill fashioning the
ultra-modern submarine, plus robust battle scenes, a
superbly dark performance by James Mason and
imaginative story-telling, make this sci-fi sea yarn a
good one that could have been better with a little
less Kirk Douglas and more scientific things to gawk
at in wonder.
In 1868, in San Francisco, there's fears of a sea monster destroying vessels in the South Seas which has sailors afraid of signing onto ships heading in that direction. When a US Naval warship under the arrogant Capt. Farragut (Ted de Corsia) sails to the South Seas to either destroy the monster or prove no such a thing exists, gentle humanitarian visiting top-notch French marine scientist from the National Museum of Paris, Prof. Pierre Arronax (Paul Lukas), his toddy apprentice Conseil (Peter Lorre) and the brutish randy American adventurer harpoonist Ned Lands (Kirk Douglas) are invited to go on the expedition. In the water near Saigon, Farragut's vessel is destroyed by the so-called monster, which turns out to be a futuristic submarine named the Nautilus, that's been built and is steered by power-hungry idealistic madman genius Captain Nemo (James Mason) and the crew consists of a dedicated band of robotic-like sailors. The three survivors--Ned, the Professor and Conseil-- are taken on board as captives, and are wowed by all the advanced technology but dismayed at how ruthless Nemo is in killing innocent sailors because he believes the world powers are transporting war goods on the sea.
When the demonic Nemo,
oddly enough fighting the forces of evil, is finally
ambushed by a fleet of warships, he and his crew
choose suicide and to blow up with an A-bomb like
explosion his home-based island of Vulcania--where he
built the Nautilus and invented all of its
futuristic machinery--claiming the world is not ready
for his secrets.
REVIEWED ON 5/29/2012 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ