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101 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior DVD Package of a Memorable Film
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...
Published on January 25, 2004 by Gary F. Taylor

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable movie
Great movie for its time, especially with the Nautilus. Special effects were good for the time. James Mason did a good job. Kirk Douglas was well cast as Ned Land.
Published 22 months ago by Roger Todd


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101 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superior DVD Package of a Memorable Film, January 25, 2004
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (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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68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great DVD of a Great Film, May 27, 2004
By 
Louis Barbarelli (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
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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38 of 38 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
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (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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56 of 59 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 (Tennessee United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (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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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Two-Disc DVD!! One of the very best I own!, August 16, 2003
By 
Erik Morton "Erik Morton" (Carmel, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Unfortunately for me, I think this is one of those movies where you had to grow up with it in order to truly LOVE it. I didn't grow up with it. That said, it's most definitely a great movie, and a classic in every sense. For a while, it was the most expensive movie ever made, and the first-ever Disney film in Cinemascope. It clearly shows, as the production design is masterful, and the wide(REALLY WIDE)screen presentation takes it to the very max and uses every oppurtunity available. The cast was and still is first-rate, too. Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorre form a very believable and amusing pair. But James Mason steals the show, making for a better Captain Nemo than anyone could ever have dreamed. The music perfectly matches the mood of the film, as well. Just about everything in this film shows how much love and effort went into it. In short, it's a masterpiece of the cinema, one of the most groundbreaking movies ever made, and forms a respectable duo with the other classic Jules Verne adaptation of the 50s, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (also starring James Mason).
For any movie made within the last decade, the transfer is great. For a movie made in 1954, it's truly unbelievable! This is one DVD where when they say "Fully-Restored", they really mean it! The sound is incredibly clear, as well.
But the true reason to buy this Special Edition DVD is for the second disc jam-packed full of extraordinary extras. The 90 minute making-of documentary is one of the best ever produced, covering every aspect of the film's production in a manner that is both fun and fascinating. Also of great interest is the lost "Sunset Squid" sequence, which is the original giant squid battle as it was first filmed. When compared to what's actually in the film, the difference is astonishing! What's shown here is so incredibly fake that it realy is hillarious! Aside from these two features, there are just so many other extras it would be futile to attempt to list them all here. You have to buy the DVD to discover the extent of it all, and trust me: you will be stunned.
CONCLUSION: For any respectable fan of classics, science-fiction, fantasy, or Disney adventures (or all four combined), you should be ashamed to not own this ground-breaking DVD experience. I would have gladly spent more $! Now how many times can you hear someone say that and truly mean it?
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Wonders that defy my powers of description...", October 15, 2004
By 
Brad Baker (Atherton, Ca United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Just after the Civil War,a ship is sent to investigate mysterious sinkings by a "Sea Monster(in reality, an advanced submarine)". The ship is attacked by the submarine Nautilus, commanded by Capt. Nemo. The redoubtable Capt. Nemo destroys ammunition cargo ships to satisfy his anti-war agenda. Capt. Nemo: "Think of it. On the surface there is hunger and fear. Men still exercise unjust laws. They fight, tear one another to pieces. A mere few feet beneath the waves their reign ceases, their evil drowns. Here on the ocean floor is the only independence. Here I am free!" Based on Jules Verne's 1870 novel, 2-time Academy-Award-winner "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" is Walt Disney's 1954 Technicolor Cinemascope triumph. Directed by Richard Fleischer, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" was filmed in Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Hollywood. It features an international cast of screen legends including Oscar winner Paul Lukas, Kirk Douglas, James Mason, and Peter Lorre. This dual-disc DVD is a rich anamorphic transfer, with an eye-popping 2.55:1 aspect ratio and a newly remastered, THX-enhanced Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The movie has commentary featuring film historian Rudy Behlmer, and a 97-minute documentary with interviews with 88-year-old Kirk Douglas. There's more! There are five more featurettes, a Donald Duck cartoon, two galleries of production stills, unused undersea animation, audio clips, bio/filmographies, and literally an entire sea-chest more of extras and goodies. The documentary contains one error. Disney's true first all-live-action feature was 1950's "Treasure Island". In "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", James Mason is simply electric as the enigmatic anti-hero Nemo; a lonely madman whose only cause is vengance. Curiously, the Greek word for Nemo is "no one". They don't make movies like this anymore. Maybe they never did...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DISNEY DVD BACK IN FORM WITH 20,000 LEAGUES, May 20, 2003
By 
Nix Pix (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Based on the immortal book by Jules Verne, "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" is the tale of three castaways, (a stuffy professor {Paul Lukas}, his meager assistant {Peter Lorre} and a salty harpooner {Kirk Douglas})who stumble across the Nautilus, a revolutionary submarine operated under the deadly influences of Captain Nemo (James Mason). This was Walt Disney's first extremely expensive, Cinemascope, live action feature film and with its launch, the Disney Studio legacy would never be the same. The special effects are masterfully undertaken, for the most part, holding their own with the best done today, and there is much to be admired in the noble handling of the subject and charaters. This is, in point of fact, a children's classic made more for adults than children, with that added magical spark destined to ignite the child within us all.
THE TRANSFER: The staff at Disney ought to give each other a well deserved pat on the back. This DVD is simply gorgeous. Yes, the color scheme is muted, with flesh tones that appear rather on the bland side, but these are shortcomings based in the original color negative and should not be criticized on this DVD.
The image quality throughout is smooth and textured with fine details and wonderfully strong contrast and black levels. Edge enhancement and pixelization are non-existent. Shimmering is only a minor concern and infrequent. Film grain is practically non-existent. The 5.1 remastered audio effort astounds in both its clarity and spread.
EXTRAS: Where to begin. Blow me down, there's just too, too many to talk about. Here are the highlights: a very fine making-of documentary, the original octopus fight sequence against a sunset, some wonderful out-takes and a really fine gallery of stills. As I say, these are just highlights. There's plenty more to shiver your timbers on this 2-disc set.
BOTTOM LINE: Don't walk - run to your video retailer and snatch up this classic film. It's absolutely essential to the library of any one calling themselves a film buff.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Before "Wild, Wild West", August 13, 2002
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Probably the greatest movie (IMNSHO) ever to come out of the house that Mouse built. Though based on the classic Verne novel, "20K" takes a different direction from the book. As in the original book, set shortly after the Civil War, the famed marine biologist Professor Aronax and his faithful aide, Conseil (Peter Lorre) embark on a global study of the oceans, hot on the trail of a mysterious monster that has been poking triangle-shaped holes in the sides of ships. Aboard the USS Lincoln, they meet Ned Land, a strong-willed whale hunter eager harpoon the mysterious beast. When the Lincoln is instead herself attacked, Land, Conseil and the Prof find themselves adrift at sea, eventually coming upon the iron-plated sin of the monster, which ofcourse is really a submarine ship (unheard of in those days) under the command of the enigmatic Captain Nemo. A genius served by a loyal crew of outcasts, and owing no loyalty to any country, Nemo stalks their ships. In both film and book, Nemo (whose name means "no man" in latin) is tortured by some terrible secret. Professor Aronax, in thrall to Nemo's genius and the secrets his fantastic submarine have revealed, loyally follows the captain, though not so closely that he can't see the depth of Nemo's pain. Ned Land, probably because of his casting, is a much more significant character here, playing the brawn counterpoint to James Mason's cool Nemo.
The flick steers a different course from there. While Verne was fastidious to bring the fantastic Nautilus into the realm of possibility - carefully documenting its dimensions, its compartments and the science behind its propulsion (harvesting electricity from the sea using elements commonly found in sea water), the film hints at a more seductive possibility (with the professor witnessing an incredible fire burning inside of a propulsion unit deep within the Nautilus, and also climaxing with the Captain's mysterious island being wiped out by a familiar looking mushroom cloud). James Mason's Nemo isn't as specific with his facts as Verne's, and his character hints instead at the many scars he's endured. The other altered character is the Nautilus itself. Verne probably conceived the Nautilus as some hopped up hybrid of two legendary confederate warships - the Hunley and the Virginia - essentially a 19th century approximation of the WWII submarine. Disney's ship is wonder in its own right - a beautiful if terrifying monster that matches its creator in genius and pain, and wonderfully matching the Victorian age in which it was built. "20K" single-handedly spurred a run of movie makers onto works of Verne and HG Wells - offering tantalizing if improbable prospects that industrious men of the 19th century invented airplanes, submarines, nuclear power and interplanetary travel. Only this film realized the promise of that genre with its combination of wit, great performances and even a deeper, if more obscure vision of science. And, though it often sounds like a throwaway line in other, lesser films, this really is a great film for the whole family.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-See!, February 26, 2005
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
I'm (...), and this is one of my most favorite movies ever!!! I would rate this movie PG because some scenes may be disturbing to young children, but kids 8+ (especially little boys) could probably handle it. The giant squid scene, for example, is quite dramatic; featuring a HUGE black squid attacking the submarine and Captain Nemo narrowly escaping death. Also, an island scene features a tribe of armed natives chasing Ned Land to the sea. Still, it's certainly a thriller; be sure to watch it at night. :) The main actors (Peter Lorre, Paul Lucas, James Mason, and of course, Kirk Douglas) were terrific and "cut out" for the parts of Conseil, Professor Aronnax, Captain Nemo, and Ned Land. The movie is a bit long, but no matter; an audience would have a hard time getting bored.
A few quotes:

(at dinner table in the submarine with the Captain)

Captain Nemo: Ah, gentlemen! Be seated, please. Your clothes are being dried and will be returned to you shortly; in the mean time resort yourselves to my humble hospitality.

Ned Land: Humble you call it! Yeah, you do quite well for yourself, mate!

Captain Nemo: You may call me "Captain Nemo."

Professor: I'd like to express our gratitude, Captain. We are grateful to be alive.

Captain: I want none of your gratitude. You're all under the strictest probation. And I advise you not to attempt an escape. You understand your position?

Ned: Well, I don't know, Captain. A prisoner has a right to escape, hasn't he?

Captain: That is correct.

Ned: And a guest don't need to! Say, I guess that makes us a little bit of both, huh? (laughs)

(A little later)

Conseil: This food is delicious, isn't it, Professor?

Professor: Oh, very good! Never tasted better!

Captain: We flavor the sea-taste. That is fille of seasnake.

Conseil puts down fork: I suppose, this is not lamb then?

Captain: That is bisquit of blowfish with seasquirt dressing, basted in barnacles

(Ned stops eating)

Anyway, an extremely enjoyable movie. :)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Disney movie ever... and a DVD to match it!, April 17, 2004
By 
Patrick Selitrenny (Switzerland a.k.a. Helvetia Felix) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Finally! The definitive edition of a Jules Verne classic brought back in all its pomp and glory. The price, for once, is right.
I remember it when it first was released in Europe, and I can safely say that this version beats even that showing back then.
Extremely clear image, stupendous surround sound, make this a must have in the most absolute way.
Forget all the other versions ever made. This remains THE classic of them all!
Forget the dated special effects which, by the way, you may not even notice, since the story is so gripping and fast paced, that you may not even realize they are.
James Mason gives a wonderful portrayal of Captain Nemo. One of his best roles, together with Fieldmarshal Rommel in "The Desert Fox", Cicero in "Five Fingers" and Professor Arronax in "Journey to the Center of the Earth" of about the same period.
Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorre form a perfect if not odd comical duo, to ease the tension of the story.
The score is beautifully remastered and brings you immediately back to those long bygone days of great moviemaking.
I won't be long reviewing this movie, since many others before me, have already praised it and described it in detail.
I can only say, buy it, buy it, buy it!
Oh, and by the way, don't forget about another Jules Verne classic coming out soon on DVD and in Widescreen:
"Around the World in 80 Days".
That's another "absolutely must have".
In the meanwhile, have you checked on "Journey to the Center of the Earth".
Do you have it on your DVD shelf?
No?
Shame on you...
Go and get it fast.
It's been remastered and it's a worthy companion to the other two Jules Verne movies.
So, what are you waiting for?
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Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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