HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Last Picture Show, The
Pathfinder
Skatetown, USA
Donbass
He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not
Mary Poppins Returns
Beyond the Sky
Sorry to Bother You
Last Days, The
Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The
Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story
Once Upon a Time in London
King Lear
Under the Silver Lake
Satan's Mistress
Border
Lemonade Joe
Earth Maiden Arjuna
Sons of Katie Elder, The
Soldier, The
Mr. Topaze
Aquaman
One, Two, Three
Bad Times at the El Royale
Caretaker, The
Old Man and the Gun, The
Song of Bernadette, The
Creed II
Anna and the Apocalypse
Return of the Hero
White Reindeer, The
Lizzie
Wicked, Wicked
Faces Places
Strange Woman, The
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Sky Bandits
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Devil's Sword, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
   
 
  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea A Whale Of A TaleBuy this film here.
Year: 1954
Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, Peter Lorre, Robert J. Wilke, Ted de Corsia, Carleton Young, J.M. Kerrigan, Percy Helton, Ted Cooper, Laurie Mitchell, Gloria Pall
Genre: Science Fiction, Historical, Adventure
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: The year is 1868 and the ships of all nations in the South Seas have been afflicted with a mystery force of destruction that has by now left barely any vessels making the journey across the ocean for fear of the crew and cargo being lost. What could be causing the shipwrecks? Maybe, as is suspected, some hitherto unknown species of sea monster? Whatever the reason, willing sailors are hard to find, as is the case in San Francisco where a certain Ned Land (Kirk Douglas) marches up to a street speaker who is declaiming the shipping companies and starts a fight with him. His path is about to cross with that of Professor Arronax (Paul Lukas) and his assistant Conseil (Peter Lorre) on an adventure into the unknown.

Of course, the reason Kirk has that scene where he has a brawl with a girl on each arm was to prove his character wasn't a homosexual. Not something Jules Verne, author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea might have worried about, but we were dealing with stars here to bring the famous story to life in a version that has still yet to be bettered. Adapted by Earl Felton, it was a live action Disney epic supervised by Walt himself, and one of the finest live action movies the studio ever produced (although when the competition is the likes of Herbie Goes Bananas and Superdad, that might not mean as much as it should).

Of course, if you know anything about this story then you'll be well aware that it is no leviathan from the deep that is causing the sabotage, but the submarine Nautilus of one Captain Nemo, essayed to perfection by a haunted and enigmatic James Mason. He ends up smashing his craft into the ship which the investigating Professor, Conseil and Ned are on, and they would have been set adrift if it had not been for the chance that Nemo would pick them up and take them aboard. The three men are treated as prisoners, but tolerated by the Captain who is intrigued by the Professor's learning, though rebellious Ned is skating on thin ice (and Douglas can be an acquired taste here).

Nemo's motives for his campaign of large scale violence is a reaction against the evils of war: he believes that if he destroys the machines of conflict and the ships that carry the raw materials for making them then he will end all world war. The fact that many die as a result is of no consequence to him, as he thinks he has to take lives to save many more, a fascinatingly twisted view that is never less than convincingly brought to life by Mason. The Professor tries to reason with him as much as Ned rejects him, but really the three of them represent a Venn diagram of personalities, with Ned's selfishness connecting to Nemo's singlemindedness and the Professor's need to keep Nemo's scientific discoveries for his research.

And along with that the good folks at Disney cooked up some spectacular effects work and handsome production design: this is a very impressive-looking film indeed. Although some of the details may be a trifle lunatic, such as the cream made from sperm whale's milk (okay, how do you milk a sperm whale, then?) and the Captain's habit of playing a pipe organ to relieve stress, it's all part of the fun. This may have a grave, even portentous, air in spite of Douglas' comic moments (and song-singing), that not even the pet sealion Esmeralda can lighten, but it's a rare family film that opts for such gravity and succeeds so well, as this does. Leaving enough room for the philosphising in amongst the action sequences is an effective move, even if it's the action that sticks in the mind - the cannibal attack, and the thrilling giant squid that threatens the Nautilus being highlights. So well regarded was this that Disney remade it as The Black Hole. Music by Paul J. Smith.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 8865 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Richard Fleischer  (1916 - 2006)

American director whose Hollywood career spanned five decades. The son of famed animator Max Fleischer, he started directing in the forties, and went on to deliver some stylish B-movies such as Armored Car Robbery and Narrow Margin. His big break arrived with Disney's hit live action epic, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, and which he followed up with such films as The Vikings, Compulsion, Fantastic Voyage, The Boston Strangler, true crime story 10 Rillington Place, See No Evil, cult favourite Soylent Green, Mister Majestyk, Amityville 3-D and sequel Conan the Destroyer. He became unfairly well known for his critical flops, too, thanks to Doctor Dolittle, Che!, Mandingo, The Jazz Singer remake, Red Sonja and Million Dollar Mystery, some of which gained campy cult followings, but nevertheless left a solid filmography to be proud of.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: