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Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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For the first time ever, you can enjoy this timeless classic in a Special Edition DVD. Fully restored to look and sound as it was originally intended, it also includes hours of exclusive bonus materials your family will enjoy again and again. Climb aboard the Nautilus...and into a strange undersea world of spellbinding adventure! Kirk Douglas, Paul Lukas, and Peter Lorre star as shipwrecked survivors taken captive by the mysterious Captain Nemo, brilliantly portrayed by James Mason. Wavering between genius and madness, Nemo has launched a deadly crusade across the seven seas. But can the captive crew expose his evil plan before he destroys the world? Featuring Norman Gimbel and Al Hoffman's memorable song "A Whale of a Tale," Disney's Academy Award(R)-winning (Special Effects and Color Art Direction, 1954) adaptation of Jules Verne's gripping tale makes 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA a truly mesmerizing masterpiece!|The submarine the Nautilus was built to scale: 200 feet long and shaped as Verne had described it -- a monster with headlights as eyes.|Based on the classic Jules Verne novel, this was the first Disney feature filmed in CinemaScope.|The Disney special effects department built the giant squid out of rubber, steel spring, flexible tubing, glass cloth, Lucite, and plastic. When finished, the monster had tentacles that were 40 feet long and two feelers that measured 50 feet long. It took a crew of 28 to operate the beast's intricate remote controls.|The first time the battle with the giant squid was staged, the monster got waterlogged and sank. Real creatures weren't much more cooperative. When the filmmakers couldn't get real fish to swim by the cameras, the studio substituted animated fish instead.|Shooting locations for the film included various locales in the Bahamas and Jamaica, as well as the Disney backlot.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another Excellent Addition For My Project With My Family And Ketrina.
Rollin Ressegieu ☺
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