20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Is a 1954 American Technicolor adventure film and the first science fiction film shot in CinemaScope.

An extremely wonderful classic Disney film, however this is the only full copy I could find and it isn’t a very good quality. It’s a shame we can’t enjoy it in all it’s glory. Adjust the video speed to 1:25 for a small improvement in the audio.

The film was personally produced by Walt Disney through Walt Disney Productions, directed by Richard Fleischer, and stars Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas and Peter Lorre.

It was also the first feature-length Disney film to be distributed by Buena Vista Distribution. The film is adapted from Jules Verne’s 19th-century novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. It is considered an early precursor of the steampunk genre.

The film was a critical and commercial success, being especially remembered for the fight with a giant squid, and Mason’s definitive performance as the charismatic anti-hero, Captain Nemo.

Plot:

In 1868, rumors of a sea monster attacking ships in the Pacific Ocean have disrupted shipping lanes. The United States invites Professor Pierre M. Aronnax and his assistant, Conseil, onto a Navy expedition to prove the monster’s existence. On board with them is the cocky master harpooner Ned Land.

After months of searching, the “monster” is spotted shortly before it rams the warship. Ned and Aronnax are thrown overboard, and Conseil goes in after Aronnax. Now helpless, the frigate drifts away, and no one aboard responds to the overboard passengers. The three find a strange-looking metal vessel, and realize the “monster” is a man-made “submerging boat” that appears deserted. Aronnax finds a large viewport and witnesses an underwater funeral.

Ned, Aronnax, and Conseil attempt to leave in their lifeboat, but the submarine crew stops the castaways. The captain introduces himself as Nemo, master of the Nautilus. He returns Ned and Conseil to the deck while offering Aronnax, whom he recognizes for his work, the chance to stay. After Aronnax proves willing to die with his companions, Nemo allows Ned and Conseil to remain.

Nemo takes them to the penal colony island of Rura Penthe. Nemo was a prisoner there, as were many of his crew. The prisoners are loading a munitions ship. The Nautilus rams it, destroying its cargo and killing the crew. An anguished Nemo tells Aronnax that his actions have saved thousands from death in war; he also discloses that this “hated nation” tortured his wife and son to death while attempting to force him to reveal the secrets of his work. Ned discovers the coordinates of Nemo’s secret island base, Vulcania, and releases messages in bottles, hoping somebody will find them.

Off the coast of New Guinea, the Nautilus becomes stranded on a reef. Ned is surprised when Nemo allows him to go ashore with Conseil, ostensibly to collect specimens, while strictly admonishing them to stay on the beach. Ned goes off alone to explore avenues of escape. While drinking from a pool, he sees human skulls on stakes. Ned runs for his life and rejoins Conseil, and they row away, pursued by cannibals. Aboard ship, the cannibals are repelled by electrical charges through its hull. Nemo is furious with Ned for disobeying his orders, confining him to the brig.

A warship approaches, firing upon Nautilus, which descends into the depths, where it attracts a giant squid. After a similar electric charge fails to repel the monster, Nemo and his men surface during a storm to dislodge it. Nemo is caught in one of its tentacles. Ned, having escaped from captivity, saves Nemo from drowning. Nemo has a change of heart and claims he wants to make peace with the world.

As the Nautilus nears Vulcania, Nemo finds the island surrounded by warships whose marines are converging on his base. As Nemo goes ashore, Ned tries to identify himself as the author of the bottled messages. Aronnax is furious, recognizing that Nemo will destroy all evidence of his discoveries. Nemo enters the base and activates a time bomb, but is mortally wounded on Nautilus’s deck from a slug to the back. After navigating the submarine away from Vulcania, Nemo announces he will be “taking the Nautilus down for the last time”. The crew declare they will accompany their captain in death.

Aronnax, Conseil, and Ned are confined to their cabins. The Nautilus’s crew also retreat to their cabins at Nemo’s instructions. Ned escapes and manages to surface the Nautilus, hitting a reef in the process and causing the sub to flood. Nemo staggers to his salon viewport, watching his beloved sea as he dies.

Aronnax tries retrieving his detailed journal, but the urgency of their escape obliges Ned to knock him unconscious and carry him out. The companions witness Vulcania explode, and Ned apologizes to Aronnax for hitting him. As the Nautilus disappears beneath the waves, Nemo’s last words to Aronnax echo: “There is hope for the future. And when the world is ready for a new and better life, all this will someday come to pass, in God’s good time”

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