20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)

Allen Holubar, Dan Hanlon, Edna Pendleton, Curtis Benton,
A French professor and his daughter accompany Captain Nemo on an adventure aboard a submarine.
  • 6.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Jules Verne, Writer:
  • Stuart Paton, Director:
  • Producer:
6 / 10

Nemo the Bedouin

As is the case with these early science fiction efforts, there some pretty interminable scenes for a modern viewer. The underwater hunting trip is endless, but in its time probably was quite remarkable. The interaction with the principle characters is virtually non-existent. Nemo has something going on and his submarine is known as a monster, yet he takes on board, those whose ship he destroyed. He seems intent on helping people and seems to have a good heart. Of course, the original book is thrown out the window, with a tale of a lost child and a dead wife and the pursuit of a man whom he has obsessed over. This is OK because it does bring in an interesting set of circumstances. It presents guilt and its implications. I did not see a very good print, which was distracting, but the early silent feature is quite inviting.

5 / 10

First adaptation based on Jules Verne's novel rendered in a silent film

First retelling based on Jules Verne's fantasy-adventure novel with unknown cast and extraordinary scenarios . Silent take on for cinema , filmed in on location in Bahamas . When Jules Verne wrote this famed novel , the startling inventions impressed the world as being the limit of imagination and impossibility . The scenes were made possible by the Williamson Brothers inventions with submarine photoplay ever filmed . The film talks about the known story from Jules Verne novel , a real masterpiece ; 1868 ,the oceans are no longer safe , many ships have been lost, the sailors have returned to New England's fishing port with tales of vicious giant whale with long horn . The naturist and biologist expert named professor Pierre Aronnax and his daughter undertake a dangerous mission . Aronnax , his daughter , along with a professional whaler and famous harpoonist named Ned Land join forces in an expedition commanded by captain Farragut that attempt to unravel the mysterious sinking ships by an unknown creature . Aboard the ship called USS Abrahan Lincoln , they go out to investigate . At sea, Professor Aronnax was aboard the ship when Nautilus rammed it and threw the Professor, his helper and Ned Land into the water . They are captured and get thoroughly involved with power-hungry captain Nemo (Allen Hollubar, being in Disney version masterfully played by James Mason) and take an extraordinary adventure underseas in an advanced submarine called Nautilus . Prisoners at first, they are now treated as guests to view the underwater world and to hunt under the waves. Nemo will also tells them about the riveting submarine of the future and the revenge that has driven him for all these years . Our heroes get stuck in the ship , undergoing numerous adventures and suffering innumerable perils .

Exciting and thrilling submarine movie dealing with the Nautilus captained by Nemo , rendition from ¨20,000 Leagues¨, but also another Verne novel, ¨Mysterious Island¨, so the result is that there are two diverse tales taking place which don't at all seem to fit together, until ultimately they come together in the strange conclusion, which makes little relation in respect to the original classic . It displays sensational adventures , drama , marvelous scenarios and is enjoyable but dated . This film became famous for its groundbreaking work in actual underwater photography by George M. Williamson and J. Ernest Williamson who alone had solved the secret under-water sea photography . The actual undersea footage was shot in the Bahamas due to the unusually clear water . When this film was remade by Walt Disney 38 years later, they came to this same spot for their undersea footage . Fascinating submarine movie blends action , disaster spectacle, hokey fun , suspense and emotional happenings . Surprise-filled entertainment and with plenty of action on grand scale with breathtaking special effects by that time and some ships and submarine by maquette or scale model and filmed in Leonia, New Jersey, Universal Studios , Universal City, California, and New Providence Island, Bahamas . The underwater scenes , sea animals , flamboyant FX to make large-size Octopus seem like horrible monster , all of them are spectacular and the film is an early Hollywood product . However , a confuse plot and overlong runtime became a little boring film . This vintage story was regularly directed by Stuart Paton , it results to be an old mute (1916) with archaeological interest . The motion picture will appeal to fantasy-adventure buffs and silent movie aficionados .

The best adaptation turns out to be the Walt Disney production (1954) , marvelously directed by Richard Fleischer , James Mason plays a serious revenger captain Nemo ; Paul Lukas plays perfectly Annorax as intelligent scientific ; and Ned Land played by Kirk Douglas as a stubborn sailor who spends most of their time devising intelligent ways for escape . Other versions from this unforgettable novel are the following : for TV (1997) directed by Rod Hardy with Michael Caine , Mia Sara and Patrick Dempsey ; and another Television film (1997) directed by Michael Anderson with Ben Cross and Richard Crenna ; furthermore a cartoon movie directed by Arthur Rankin.

5 / 10

Captain Nemo and the Mysterious Island

White-bearded mystery man Allan Holubar (as Captain Nemo) trolls the seas, looking for revenge against William Welch (as Charles Denver). We begin when Mr. Holubar's invention, an underwater ship called a submarine, is mistaken for a sea monster. Commanding the "Nautilus", Holubar wants to avenge the abduction of his wife and find his "child of nature" daughter Jane Gail (as Princess Daaker). He defeats, then compassionately rescues a crew of attackers, and goes near "Mysterious Island". Coincidently, enemy Welch and daughter Gail end up there, the latter falling in love with Matt Moore (as Lieutenant Bond)...

Reportedly, the first submarine photoplay ever filmed, "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" begins with a tribute to the Williamson brothers, "who alone have solved the secret of under-the-ocean photography." The brothers Ernest and George Williamson appear in an on screen introduction, tipping their hats (and looking like they could have had careers as actors). The film is mainly notable for their work in pioneering underwater photography; otherwise, this adaptation of Jules Verne's popular novel (with additions from his "The Mysterious Island") is sluggish sailing. It also corrupts the source material.

***** Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (12/24/16) Stuart Paton ~ Allen Holubar, Jane Gail, Matt Moore, William Welch

7 / 10

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Revolutionary but bland

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916) was a movie of firsts. It was the first feature length adaptation of Jules Vernes classic and was also the very first movie to film underwater.

Alas the troubles of this silent movie became apparent quite early on, namely that it's not exactly loyal to the source material. If you're expecting something strongly resembling the book then this may be an adaptation worth skipping over.

Now as mentioned this is a silent film (Entirely even devoid of music) which I'll be honest I've never liked. It's not anything snobbish or any expectations that I impose on a film, it's more that sitting for 90 minutes odd in silence gives me a migraine.

For this reason I watched this in sections and when the credits rolled I still managed to acquire a migraine and wasn't overly impressed with what I saw.

Considering it's age the majority looks fantastic as does the underwater filming. Certain parts struggle and it's unclear everything that is taking place but thankfully unlike 1907's version they are few and far between.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a passable attempt at a grandiose tale and the first of many many adaptations.

The Good:

Revolutionary for its time

The Bad:

Something about silent film gives me a headache

Not loyal to the original book

7 / 10

The first science-fiction epic

With a half-million dollar budget and state-of-the-art 'special effects', this film may have been the first science-fiction 'epic'. Loosely based on Verne's eponymous novel and on the book's sequel 'Mysterious Island', the film follows the mysterious Captain Nemo on his quest for vengeance aboard his fabulous underwater boat "The Nautilus". The film wisely sets the action in the mid 1860's, when a submarine would still be a fantastic thing (by 1916 submarines were familiar military hardware, the RMS Lusitania having been sunk by a U-boat torpedo the previous year). Notable for being the first feature to include underwater photography, the film made excellent use of J.E. Williamson's 'photosphere', a submersible chamber that could house a cameraman and his gear. Shot in the clear and brightly lighted waters around the Bahamas, there are numerous scenes of Nemo or his crew walking across the ocean floor, avoiding sharks, investigating wrecks and, climatically, battling an enormous octopus (perhaps primitive looking to modern viewers but amazing at the time). The scenes of the Nautilus utilised a full size model capable of surface movement and a model for submerged scenes (scenes of the Nautilus surfacing are obviously done with mattes rather than models, with the submarine seeming to appear, rather than arrive, on the surface). The secondary story, which weaves in elements of "Mysterious Island" is less interesting, as several escaped Yankee POWs in a balloon land on a deserted (almost) island and meet 'a child of nature', a ridiculous feral-girl character with an implausible backstory (even by Hollywood standards of acceptable coincidence). The acting is typical of American silent films, with lots of melodramatic gesticulations and grimaces. The film stays true to the novel, presenting Nemo/ Prince Dakkar (played by Alan Holober) as being of Indian origin, but the makeup used is almost black-face and the character look a bit like a heavily-tanned, emaciated Santa at times (for some reason, the film's follow-up, 1929's 'Mysterious Island' reimagines the character as being a count from a fictional Eastern European county). There are numerous versions online. I watched the TCM version, which used Dvorak's New World Symphony as a score (often inappropriately IMO) and oddly seemed to lack the octopus scene (usually at around the 1 hour mark). The DVD version (Image Entertainment) that I obtained from the local library is much clearer that any of the on-line versions I found. Worth watching if only for the ground-breaking cinematography.