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Mysterious Island (Widescreen)

4.3 out of 5 stars 288 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on Jules Vern's classic novel, MYSTERIOUS ISLAND is the story of five men escaping from a Confederate prison in an observation balloon. When they land the balloon, they find themselves on a South Seas island where they encounter pirates, a giant bird, a giant crab and even Captain Nemo.

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Jules Verne's classic adventure is perfectly matched with Ray Harryhausen's timeless movie magic in Mysterious Island. Based on Verne's sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, this rousing Civil War-era fantasy begins when a band of Union war prisoners (and one Confederate straggler) escape in a hot-air balloon, which crash-lands on the titular island of mystery. Verne's novel doesn't include any gigantic creatures, but Harryhausen's version--under the capable direction of genre specialist Cy Endfield--features giant oysters, bees, a prehistoric Phororhacos (a giant chickenlike bird!), an undersea cephalopod, a giant crab, and enough danger to keep its resourceful ensemble on constant alert. Captain Nemo (Herbert Lom, ably filling James Mason's shoes) is a third-act hero, pursuing an ill-fated dream to save humanity from hunger and war. The action may be too intense for younger viewers, but Endfield's pacing and Harryhausen's stop-motion mastery make Mysterious Island a wondrous precursor to Harryhausen's follow-up classic, Jason and the Argonauts. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • The Making of Mysterious Island
  • The Harryhausen Chronicles
  • "This Is Dynamation" featurette
  • Photo gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Craig, Joan Greenwood, Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, George Lucas
  • Directors: Cy Endfield, Richard Schickel
  • Writers: Richard Schickel, Crane Wilbur, Daniel B. Ullman, John Prebble, Jules Verne
  • Producers: Anna Sofroniou
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 29, 2002
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (288 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006JDRG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,904 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mysterious Island (Widescreen)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Mysterious Island was always a favorite Harryhausen film of mine as a kid. The screenplay and direction (like those for The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and The Argonauts)is top notch. Director Cy Endfield has a solid cast and the pacing along with Bernard Herrmann's classic score creates an eerie and, well, mysterious feeling for most of the movie. The stand out in the cast is, of course, the marvelous and under rated Herbert Lom as Captain Nemo. If you haven't seen the film, I'd rather not spoil the third act of the film for you so won't go into too much detail.

The Civil War is tearing America apart. A small group of Union soldiers and a reporter escape a military prison during the seige of Richmond, Virginia. They also have a There's a scouting balloon just outside the prison walls. As the attack rages, the prisoners escape in the balloon. They are washed up ashore on an uncharted island with a brewing volcano.

It's not ordinary island (no surprise)though as they discover a giant crab and later, giant bees, chickens and other creatures. They're joined in their Robinson Crusoe adventure by a couple of women who are later washed ashore from a shipwreck. They soon discover the origin of the giant beasts and some nasty news about the volcano as well.

The cast gives a good performance. Gary Merrill (best known for All About Eve and former husband of Betty Davis) and Michael Callan are the most recognizable faces. Callan was a regular in a number of movies and television shows as a supporting actor. Joan Greenwood also gives a convincing performance as well. Still, the stand out here is the brooding performance as Herbert Lom. Lom always managed to raise the bar in any film he appeared in.
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By A Customer on November 2, 2002
Format: DVD
After "JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS", this has always been one of my favorite pictures by special effects guru RAY HARRYHAUSEN. The story is great, the monsters (especially the giant crab) look fantastic and HERBERT LOM is wonderful as CAPTAIN NEMO ("Contact with my species has always disappointed me"). The picture and sound on the DVD is most pleasing. My only complaint (and its a minor one), is I'm tired of seeing the hour long special "THE HARRYHAUSEN CHRONICLES" as a bonus feature. I think its on every Harryhausen disc except "JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS". Its a nice feature (don't get me wrong) but does it have to be on EVERY DISC? But the movie is what's most important and this is a very enjoyable film given a nice presentation on this DVD. Buy it and enjoy!!!
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Format: VHS Tape
Those who have become accustomed to the virtually limitless possibilities of computer-generated special effects should learn to appreciate the "old ways," the by-now-primitive techniques that delivered the goods while working within the limits of the technology of the time. When you consider that Mysterious Island was produced in 1961, you have to marvel at the way the oversized creatures were brought to life in this film, thanks to the magical touch of Ray Harryhausen, the acknowledged master of stop-motion animation. But more than the special effects, this production is well-acted, beautifully filmed, perfectly scored, and intelligently written. Plus, it's an excellent way to introduce the kids to Jules Verne. I eagerly await the DVD release of this movie.
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Format: VHS Tape
This film is perhaps the best of the Verne adaptations, with solid direction from Cy Endfield, who right after this film , co produced and directed the epic classic, ZULU. Ray Harryhausen's special effects are a major part of the film for sure, but, the acting , script and drama, are also of equal caliber. Bernard Herrmann's score is a milestone in film music history. The London Symphony Orchestra gives the score the full power of Herrmann's genius (the new surround stereo sound is amazing to hear). Contrary to a previous review, the main title theme is not repeated over and over again, but is used only at the beginning, (one of the most dramatic main titles ever composed) and once more before the volcano eruption. Herbert Lom's performance of Capt. Nemo is of equal stature to James Mason's in Disneys 20,000 Leagues. The photography,art direction and sets etc. are exquisite. Of all of the Harryhausen films, this is the most character driven,and, a story where the human element is not secondary to the special effects.Produced with a big budget and with great taste,It embodies the very essence of adventure and drama and fun,that few if any films today can even approach.
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Format: DVD
Counterfit widescreen is nothing short of marketting vandalism. All of the Ray Harryhausen films exept First Men In The Moon were shot on standerd 35mm film. This means that the original shape of the picture,as it was seen in the theater was a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. They were NOT filmed in widescreen "letterbox".
Why is this important? Because,to achive the effect of miniature puppets living in the real world,R.H. mastered a technique called the "foreground matte". Simply put,in stead of simply placing the monster on a miniature stage and projecting the prefilmed images of the performers on a small screen behind it, Harryhausen invented this cheeper and far superior method. By adding the photographic componants of the foreground into the viewer's feild of vision, the only object in the picture that is not "real" is the animated creature. This illusion of huge living monsters and dinosaurs interacting with real people was debatably the most advanced and succesfull way to create impossible visions on the movie screen for decades.
At the time they were made,the Harryhausen films were among the most unique and amazing films ever done.
So what's the big deal? When a film is photographed in 1.33.1 aspect there is only one way to make it "wide screen",1.78 to 1.85.1. The company releasing the film "chops" off the top and bottom edges of the picture to create a wide screen shaped picture at a loss of almost 40% of the original image. In doing this to a Harryhausen film, frequently the top of the creature's head or the bottoms of the feet of all the performers,real and artificial are lost. This cropping spoils the film for the first time viewer. By shaving the picture these films actually look less realistic.
Of course,in a way this may be only a point of taste.
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