6.1/10
240
6 user 1 critic

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1907)

20000 lieues sous les mers (original title)
| Short, Adventure, Fantasy

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A Nightmare (1896)
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Amusing, only if one can tolerate its atrocious picture quality
30 May 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Short film has little to do with Verne's original story, but it is still amusing, if one can tolerate its atrocious picture quality. If you can, you'll faintly see mermaids dancing a few feet under "water", before the lead does battle with octopodes (not "octopi", even though that does sound funnier) and we wake up, to find it was all just a dream.

This film is said to be incomplete, with only ten minutes' worth of its supposed original eighteen minutes runtime known to exist, and what footage does still remain is in a horrible, degenerate state. Scenes are very blurry and washed out, much of the footage is almost completely white, and nearly unwatchable. Blurry, high contrast, flickery, and without any real detail at all, this looks like a high generation copy. Some segments look like they have been solarised. The dancing girls drift in and out of focus, which does add a bit of an eerie effect to their segment, but probably was not meant to have such an effect. The sets and costumes look like they might have been impressive for a 1907 production, but again it's difficult to tell with such poor quality film- all the more reason why a restoration would be beneficial.

For fans of Méliès' trick photography, and fans of very old cinema, this may hold some appeal, but be prepared to endure a poor quality print before you dive in to this one.


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