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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)

Passed  -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi  -  24 December 1916 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,014 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 10 critic

Captain Nemo has built a fantastic submarine for his mission of revenge. He has traveled over 20,000 leagues in search of Charles Denver - a man who caused the death of Princess Daaker. ... See full summary »

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Title: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)

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A look at how Jules Verne's classic character Captain Nemo created his underwater vessel, the Nautilus.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dan Hanlon ...
Edna Pendleton ...
Curtis Benton ...
Allen Holubar ...
Matt Moore ...
Jane Gail ...
A Child of Nature
Howard Crampton ...
William Welsh ...
Charles Denver (as William Welch)
Lois Alexander ...
Prince Daaker's Daughter as a Child
Wallis Clark ...
Pencroft (as Wallace Clark)
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Storyline

Captain Nemo has built a fantastic submarine for his mission of revenge. He has traveled over 20,000 leagues in search of Charles Denver - a man who caused the death of Princess Daaker. Seeing what he had done, Denver took the daughter to his yacht and sailed away. He abandoned her and a sailor on a mysterious island and has come back after all these years to see if she is still alive and if the nightmares he has will stop. The daughter has been found by five survivors of a Union Army Balloon that crashed near the island. At sea, Professor Aronnax was aboard the ship 'Abraham Lincoln' when Nemo rammed it and threw the Professor, his daughter and two others into the water. Prisoners at first, they are now treated as guests to view the underwater world and to hunt under the waves. Nemo will also tells them about the Nautilus and the revenge that has driven him for all these years. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

24 December 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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| (video)

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(tinted and toned)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film became famous for its groundbreaking work in actual underwater photography by George M. Williamson and J. Ernest Williamson. See more »

Goofs

In one scene on the island the balloon survivors are at a table and a black servant appears. He never shows up again and is not rescued at the end of the film with the rest of the survivors. See more »

Connections

Version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Of Historical Interest Only
6 April 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

The 1916 version of 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA is a perfect example of what can happen when a film relies primarily on special effects. In its day, it was widely celebrated as one of the first feature-length films to make use of underwater photography, and audiences thrilled to its scenes of coral reefs and sharks. But nowadays we're very used to seeing underwater photography, and of a quality that far surpasses that seen here. And the film has little else to offer.

The story, of course, is based on the Jules Verne classic--but "based" is the operative word. About the only thing this film version has in common with the Verne novel is the title, a few character names, and a few basic concepts, so if you're expecting a faithful silent adaptation of the novel you're outta luck. In this version, a scientist (Dan Hanlon) and his party go in search of sea monsters and run afoul of the Nautilus, but they soon discover that Capt. Nemo (Allen Holubar) really isn't such a bad guy after all. There's a subplot about a "child of nature" (Jane Gail) who lives on a "Mysterious Island" and who has some mixed experiences with shipwrecked sailors stranded there--and before the whole thing ends we are flashed back to colonial India for an explanation of just who Capt. Nemo really is and how he got that way. In the process there is underwater photography aplenty, including a faintly hilarious attack on a sailor by a 1916 special-effects-octopus.

The acting is extremely broad here, even for 1916, and Nemo's costume makes him look rather like a skinny Santa Claus gone bad. The Nautilus is uninspired and the cinematography is only so-so. Consequently, what audiences thrilled over in 1916 seems pretty clunky today. The film has not been well-reserved, nor has any attempt been made to restore it, and there isn't a single scene that isn't riddled with artifacts. This is really a film for die-hard silent film buffs rather than casual viewers, and even silent film buffs will probably find themselves hitting the fast forward more than a couple of times. Recommended as a historic artifact, but nothing more.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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