Review: ‘20000 Leagues Under the Sea’

Walt Disney's production of 20000 Leagues under the Sea is very special kind of picture, combining photographic ingenuity, imaginative story telling and fiscal daring. Disney went for a bundle (say $5 million in negative costs) in fashioning the Jules Verne classic.

Walt Disney’s production of 20000 Leagues under the Sea is very special kind of picture, combining photographic ingenuity, imaginative story telling and fiscal daring. Disney went for a bundle (say $5 million in negative costs) in fashioning the Jules Verne classic.

The story of the ‘monster’ ship Nautilus, astounding as it may be, is so astutely developed that the audience immediately accepts its part on the excursion through Captain Nemo’s underseas realm.

James Mason is the captain, a genius who had fashioned and guides the out-of-this-world craft. Kirk Douglas is a free-wheeling, roguish harpoon artist. Paul Lukas is a kind and gentle man of science and Peter Lorre is Lukas’ fretting apprentice.

But it is the production itself that is the star. Technical skill was lavished in fashioning the fabulous Nautilus with its exquisitely appointed interior. The underwater lensing is remarkable on a number of counts, among them being the special designing of aqualungs and other equipment to match Verne’s own illustrations.

Story opens in San Francisco where maritime men have been terrorized by reports of a monstrous denizen of the seas which has been sinking their ships. An armed frigate sets out in pursuit and is itself destroyed, with Lukas, Douglas and Lorre the survivors.

1954: Best Color Art Direction, Special Effects.

Nomination: Best Editing

20000 Leagues Under the Sea

Production

Walt Disney. Director Richard Fleischer; Producer Walt Disney; Screenplay Earl Fenton; Camera Franz Planer; Editor Elmo Williams; Music Paul Smith; Art Director John Meehan

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1954. Running time: 120 MIN.

With

Kirk Douglas James Mason Paul Lukas Peter Lorre Robert J. Wilke Carleton Young

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading