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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea


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Product Details

  • Actors: Allen Holubar, Dan Hanlon, Edna Pendleton, Curtis Benton, Matt Moore
  • Directors: Stuart Paton
  • Writers: Stuart Paton, Jules Verne
  • Producers: Stuart Paton, Carl Laemmle
  • Format: AC-3, Black & White, NTSC, Silent
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 1999
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305268150
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,761 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Released by Universal in 1916, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" was the first great special effects spectacular of early cinema. Based on the Jules Verne novel, the story concerns a team of scientists investigating a series of naval disturbances who find the culprit is the Nautilus, a submarine piloted by Captain Nemo, a hate-driven renegade seaman. Over a year-and-a-half in production, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" is a colorful recreation of Verne's science fiction classic.

Customer Reviews

This is a classic, first of its kind film.
SoloSailor
I'm commenting on the "A2ZCDs" 2008 DVD release (UPC 882012439951) of this 1916 classic film.
Doctor John
The tinting looks very good and the music score is great.
larryj1

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Nick Smiles on July 31, 2000
Format: DVD
This version of Jules Verne's classic is unique in so far as it concentrates upon the character of Captain Nemo, providing considerable material on his background, most of which has been neglected in subsequent adaptations. The groundbreaking underwater photography is still amongst the best on film. This print is a little scratched in places, but on the whole it's still an excellent copy. The color tinting effectively sets the atmosphere for each scene, and an appropriate musical score in Dolby Digital Stereo adds tremendously to the viewing experience. I highly recommend this DVD to any connoisseur of early cinema.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 1999
Format: DVD
A special effects laden sci-fi blockbuster in 1916? That's exactly what this film was. It was one of the very first films to make extensive use of underwater photography. Almost too extensive in fact. While long panoramas of coral reefs and sea beds in black and white might have thrilled audiences in 1916, they can start to get a little tedious to modern viewers. Overall, though, this version of the classic Jules Verne tale is very well presented. The acting and visuals are good for that time time period. The film goes beyond the book to present a very unique explaination of Capt. Nemo's origins and motives. This Capt. Nemo is very different from the one in the Disney productions that would follow. It's worth a look for any fan of the Jules Verne classic.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Doctor John on February 23, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm commenting on the "A2ZCDs" 2008 DVD release (UPC 882012439951) of this 1916 classic film. It is advertised on Amazon as a "Remastered Edition," and it is - to the detriment of the viewer. It's been subject to so much DNR that it cannot be watched. Apparently this is another early film now in the public domain that anybody can "remaster", repackage, and sell on Amazon. (There's at least one other such edition also being advertised.)

Since it is such an important early film you should purchase the 1999 Image Entertainment edition (UPC 014381466621), which appears to still available via Amazon; it looks the way you'd expect early 20th century films to look (i.e. hasn't been digitally modified to any appreciable extent) and it's watchable.

Perhaps some day some studio really will remaster this film - but the A2ZCD edition isn't the One.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JDC on April 21, 2012
Format: DVD
Image Entertainment 1999 Release

This is a very hard movie to rate, as one has to take into account not only the entertainment value, but it's historic value as well. As an entertainment entity, I believe it fails. Scenes between three different tales keep alternating, and it isn't until the end of the movie that one finally realizes how they all tie together. (Jules Verne's books "20,000 Leagues..." and "Mysterious Island", are both intertwined into the plot of the movie, along with a storyline created just for the film.) Add to that an inordinate amount of time showing underwater shots which, while I'm sure were wonderful in their day, were eclipsed long ago by the likes of Jacques Cousteau, and you have both a confusing, and rather boring film.

That said, if one views this movie from an historic perspective, it can be quite enjoyable. After all, this was made in 1916, and was one of the first films to have such underwater photography. The octopus, as an extremely early special effect, would be quite convincing, if it weren't for the readily apparent fake eyes.

As for the DVD, the source used was quite good, considering the age of the film. I can't say how it would look on a large monitor, and I'm guessing that it is probably interlaced. However, on my smaller widescreen TV, it looked quite nice. The musical accompaniment was wonderful. It fit both the era of the film, and was scene appropriate.

The transfer may have benefitted from windowboxing (to make up for overscan), as some of the intertitles are pretty tight. However, given this is a 1999 release, I think it looks quite good.

If you are interested in cinema history, I would recommend this disc. However, if you are looking for pure entertainment, go with the 1954 version of the film (which is quite a different story, too).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Underwood on September 10, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
With all famous, classic stories which have been remade several times over the decades, it can be difficult not to compare one version with the other, especially when one of them was made in the middle of the silent film era. So it's important to keep in mind that this early 1916 version of Jules Verne's classic was a state-of-the-art superior production at that time, complete with exciting battle scenes, special effects and even the first real underwater photography. The film even opens with a credit to the two inventors of the new underwater camera, as well as a suitable little tribute to Jules Verne's amazing foresight as he described submarines and other futuristic things half a century before they were invented. Keeping all this mind, viewing this silent version of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" becomes a whole new adventure, and even though the underwater shots, old-fashioned diving suits and short battle scenes are humdrum for us today, they are still of good quality even by today's standards, and must have been an exciting spectacle for audiences back in 1916.

While not entirely faithful to Verne's original, the story is quite interesting and involves far more than just showing off the technology of the period with many underwater and submarine scenes. In fact, for a 1916 production, this film is particularly sophisticated on various levels, and with careful editing the lives of three different groups of people are related, leading to a climax which shows how all their paths cross and how they are connected. There is Captain Nemo with his mysterious quest for revenge, some balloonists who become stranded on an island where a wild girl lives, and then the man plagued by a guilty conscience who returns to this island in search of the girl.
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