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On a volcanic island near the kingdom of Hetvia rules Count Dakkar, a benevolent leader and scientist who has eliminated class distinction among the island's inhabitants. Dakkar, his daughter Sonia and her fiance, engineer Nicolai Roget have designed a submarine which Roget pilots on its initial voyage just before the island is overrun by Baron Falon, despotic ruler of Hetvia. Falon sets out after Roget in a second submarine and the two craft, diving to the ocean's floor, discover a strange land populated by dragons, giant squid and an eerie undiscovered humanoid race. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film is on TCM right now and I started watching it for a few minutes because it starred a fairly young Lionel Barrymore, before he was crippled. I think it was the first time I had seen him without white hair! What struck me was that the usually stellar Barrymore was giving a really bad, hammy performance. In this one long sequence where he's explaining that he believes there are these man-like sea creatures, he rarely looked the other actor in the eye, he kept putting his hand on his chin and rubbing his face. The camera, most likely due to the lack of technology, was very static. No camera movement at all - just cuts. It's a hoot to watch such a youngish Lionel (although he was already 51 at the time) and it is also interesting to note his stronger resemblance to his brother in this movie (more so in this movie than in later films.) During this time of transition, many films were basically silent films with some talking scenes, as studios found it difficult to wholly embrace this new technology. Even the well-known movie, The Jazz Singer, was not an all-talking movie. It is, however, the first feature length movie to have talking in it. On July 6, 1928, the first all-talking feature, Lights of New York, premiered. Our movie is made in 1929, which was at the end of the silent era.
If you want to know more about early talkies, check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_film
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