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I must have seen a different print to the one watched by Snow Leopard (on one of the Retour de flamme DVDs) because the one I saw was in extremely good condition with good colour. There's no real plot to speak of as the film is really more of a showcase for the film-maker's special effects and imaginative sets. There's an almost dreamlike quality about films like this - most of which were made by the French - which makes them still enchanting to this day. The trick photography obviously looks a little ordinary today, but no doubt it was quite impressive in its day. And, of course, the influence of Melies, the giant of film pioneers, can be seen in every frame...
This interesting, imaginative Ferdinand Zecca feature was probably very
enjoyable and satisfying to its original audience. It is still fun to
watch, even though the print has suffered quite a bit from the process
of physical aging. In particular, almost all of the color tinting has
now faded away, and you can only get a dim idea of what it might have
looked like in its original form.
It still has more than enough to make it worth seeing. The story follows the fantastical adventures of a diver, as he encounters sea creatures and much more in the ocean depths. The French cinema pioneers, like Zecca and Méliès, seemed to have a knack for this kind of material.
Certainly, many of the visual effects will look less impressive now, but they still remain interesting, and most of them are still fun to look at. The story itself is pretty lively, and almost all of it shows some imagination as well as technique that is pretty good for its era.
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