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Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1954)

James Mason , Kirk Douglas , Charles A. Nichols , Richard Fleischer  |  G |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Mason, Kirk Douglas, Peter Ellenshaw, Elmo Williams, Vincent Di Fate
  • Directors: Charles A. Nichols, Richard Fleischer
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Live, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JKU0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,857 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

All-New Audio Commentaries With Director Richard Fleischer And Classic Film Historian/Author Rudy Behlmer

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

Besides making a lavish, state-of-the-art live action film in the early 1950s, Walt Disney was perceptive enough to chronicle his film with a great deal of care and clarity. The new 90-minute documentary is stuffed with vintage behind-the-scenes color footage. As director Richard Fleisher, Kurt Douglas, and a bevy of technicians reminisce about their adventures on set, there is often footage chronicling the exact moment. This DVD edition is one of the most complete packages of a classic movie to date. Interesting tidbits include an audio re-recording Peter Lorre's dialogue, unused animation (for undersea scenes), gobs of photos, and vintage marketing films. A short segment about the Nautilus ingeniously combines computer animation with movie sequences, production photos, and blueprints for a tour of the sub. The jewel, though, is the original squid attack that was reshot because it looked so fake. Even on the new commentary track (enjoyable, but low-key), Fleischer thinks--and hopes--the footage is lost, yet seeing the sequence illustrates how the movie was almost sunk by a less-than-breathtaking final act. --Doug Thomas

Product Description

The submarine the Nautilus was built to scale: 200 feet long and shaped as Verne had described it -- a monster with headlights as eyes.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior DVD Package of a Memorable Film January 25, 2004
Format:DVD
Loosely based on the celebrated novel by Jules Verne and set in the late 19th Century, LEAGUES offers the story of Professor Arronax (Paul Lukas), his assistant Conseil (Peter Lorre), and harpooner Ned Land (Kirk Douglas), who are coaxed by the United States government to aid in the search for a sea monster said to be terrorizing shipping lanes. But the monster is not of flesh and blood, and soon the three find themselves in the hands of the mysterious Captain Nemo (James Mason) as prisoners aboard the Nautilus--a fully functional submarine capable of ramming ships and sending them to the ocean floor.
Underwater photography was hardly new in 1954, but never had it been used so extensively nor to such visually beautiful effect, and the art designs--particularly those for the Nautilus--are justly celebrated. But for all its beauty, it is the performances which make the film work. James Mason does not merely play Nemo, he seems to be Nemo; after seeing his performance it is impossible to imagine any other actor in the role. Paul Lukas adds yet another brilliantly understated performance to his memorable career, and while Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorre are hardly the Ned Land and Conseil of the Verne novel they have surprising chemistry and lend the film considerable dash.
At the time of its release, LEAGUES was the single most expensive motion picture ever made (ironically it would loose that dubious distinction later that same year to yet another film featuring James Mason: A STAR IS BORN), and every penny of the money spent shows in the onscreen result. While many of Disney's live-action films are fondly recalled, few have had enduring fame, much less claim to status as art--but LEAGUES is the exception, and although the episodic nature of the story seems a shade languid from time to time it remains both a landmark and one of the most influential films of its decade. Truly enjoyable from start to finish.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great DVD of a Great Film May 27, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Like many of the other reviewers of this movie, I'm a pre-boomer who was dazzled by the film as a child. Somewhere in my aging mom's attic, I have a few bolts (painted wood) from the movie set of the Nautilus, which I "borrowed" from one of the Disney properties as a kid nearly a half century ago. I remember taking a bus from LA to Burbank to stare through the slats of the fence in the back lot of the Disney Studios and seeing a partial model of the Nautilus, perhaps 1/3 scale, tossed in a corner like so much debris. What I would have given to be able to drag that model home.
When I viewed the VHS version of this film a couple of years ago, I was bitterly disappointed by the poor quality which made the watching experience actually painful to a fan like me. But, let me tell you, this DVD is as thrilling as the VHS was painful. This fully-restored version of the film comes roaring back to life in all of its glory and then some. It's the best film restoration these old eyes have ever beheld. Watched on a state-of-the-art widescreen TV, this is every bit the experience it was in the '50's and I think it's wonderful that this great film is now preserved for the ages, just as it was when it was first released.
Is this a perfect movie? No. Even as a kid, I noticed that the background music was too cheesy, that Kirk Douglas's songs seemed gratuitous, that the fish swimming outside the large porthole were cartoonish, and that the electrically-illuminated eye of the Giant Squid made an otherwise perfect special effect look a bit fake. I'm just as puzzled by those weaknesses today as I was then, especially since all other aspects of the film, including the numerous, Oscar-winning special effects involving the Nautilus, are masterful. But no movie is perfect and this movie, minor warts and all, is nothing less than a memorial to the genius of Disney, the acting of James Mason, the passion of the Disney staff, and the vision of Jules Verne.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing special edition of a great classic! October 1, 2004
By Dave
Format:DVD
Ever since I was a child, no other Disney film has captivated me quite like this classic. In my opinion this is one of James Mason's best performances (along with "Odd Man Out") & Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre, & Paul Lukas are perfectly cast. Even after 50 years, the special effects are wonderful. I was so excited when this dvd was released because my old vhs copy was worn out. The special features on this dvd are amazing & I've never seen so many documentaries on a special edition before. This is like a "Criterion Collection" dvd of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" at half the cost! The movie has been beautifully restored & you simply won't find a better Disney classic anywhere. I recommend you buy this soon before Disney puts it in their freekin' vault!
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here's a story about how good this film is March 17, 2003
By A Customer
Format:DVD
First off, I'll say that this is BY FAR the best live-action film Disney ever produced. None of the irritating condescension that characterizes so many Disney films. No -- this film delivers the goods.
And my story...?
I first saw the film on television as a child. But about ten years ago, I was lucky enough to see the film on the big screen, at a matinee showing in a small-town community theater. The theater was jam-packed with children, ages ranging from about 5 to 10. The kids were chattering like crazy -- the theater was filled with noise. Even when the film started, the kids kept talking.
But very slowly, as the minutes passed, the kids got quieter. And quieter.
Late in the film, when we're moving into the final explosive climax, the Nautilus rams a warship that has been hunting it. The protagonists -- Aronax, Conseil, and Ned Land -- rush to the sub's giant iris window. The iris opens onto an underwater vista -- to reveal, in the murky blue distance, the warship sinking awesomely, majestically, down to the bottom of the sea -- flames and smoke issuing from its still-burning interior. We can hear the muffled roar of its descent.
At that moment in the film, I realized that the audience had become completely silent. They were riveted and awestruck.
That, my friends, is great storytelling. Any film that can cause an entire theater-full of 5-10-year-olds to become completely silent, totally rapt with attention, is worthy of praise.
As far as I'm concerned, this film is the best thing Disney ever did.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic
I remember lying on the living room floor in my pajamas, watching this film on "Wonderful World of Disney" as a child. Read more
Published 5 hours ago by Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars Childhood Favorite
What's not to love here? Sci/Fi / Adventure with terrific effects a great cast and Jules Verne's awesome imagination..... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Frank Childs
5.0 out of 5 stars Classice Disney Fun
Great Disney classic. Simply one of the best during a time with Walt was still alive. Bonus CD is interesting on the creative process.
Published 10 days ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun to see again!
Excellent video and audio quality. Great fun to see it again. I remember seeing it when it was first released in the theaters.
Published 17 days ago by greekmermaid
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome flick!
one of the best older movies you could watch,very fun and upbeat still to this day. a timeless classic film!
Published 25 days ago by rachel dowdy
1.0 out of 5 stars could not see entire movie
the movie stopped soon after it started. we were not able to watch it, the grandchildren were disappointed. I am hoping to get a refund on the cost of the rental. thank you
Published 1 month ago by anne lopez
4.0 out of 5 stars Forgot about the old classics take a look back.
It has been since I was a child that I saw this movie but watching it again for the first time, maybe 40 years, I thoroughly enjoyed it if you're a fan of Kirk Douglas or James... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Stillapistol
5.0 out of 5 stars again
Once again I have added another Disney movie to my collection. They are always great fun and entertainment. well done Disney
Published 1 month ago by Paul C, Surprise, Az
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Special Edition
Great two-disc special edition. The second disc had great incite on how the movie was made. I usually don't watch the second disc, but this one was worth the time.
Published 1 month ago by Cattrina
5.0 out of 5 stars A Disney Classic
This was a classic before it ever was a movie and has gone on to become a classic movie. The story is imaginative and wonderful still today, my 8 year old was captivated by Captain... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Daniel N. Bulliner
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