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Master of the World (1961)

Not Rated | | Sci-Fi, Adventure | May 1961 (USA)
In 1868, an American scientist and his team become hostages of fanatical pacifist Robur who uses his airship Albatross to destroy military targets on Earth.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (based on two novels by: "Master of the World" and "Robur, the Conqueror")
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
David Frankham ...
...
Alistair
...
Topage (as Vitto Scotti)
Wally Campo ...
Turner
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Storyline

The world in the late 19th century: A scientist and his team are held as "guests" of Robur on his airship, that he want to use to ensure peace on earth. Peace with all, even if he has to bombard military targets all over the world. Can the scientist stop him ? Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The fabulous adventures of the man who conquered the earth to save it!

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Adventure

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jules Verne's Master of the World  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (including prologue)

Sound Mix:

(StereoSonic Sound) (uncredited)

Color:

(Magnacolor) (uncredited)| (archive material)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the end titles credit the song "Master of the World" with music by Les Baxter, lyrics by Lenny Adelson and sung by Darryl Stevens, there is actually no song in the released film. As a matter of interest, Intrada for its 2009 soundtrack CD managed to trace the missing song, which turns out to be a haunting, alternate version of the end title. After the song was dropped, it was still credited on screen, but the chosen end title has just orchestra and choir. The lost lyrics go as follows: "Any man is Master of the World / If he has wandered in the world / And found his love / And of all the secrets of the earth / He has the only treasure worth / Dreaming of / If he rules just one heart a man is a king / It seems as though his soul has taken wing / And like the stars that fly on high above the earth / A man is Master of the World / When he is loved!" See more »

Goofs

Just before the warship is bombed, Robur observes it through the scope. The view shown of an approaching sailing ship is clearly filmed from sea level. A moment later he looks again and the view is from above. See more »

Quotes

John Strock: It was risk enough to refuse joining forces with him. I think that was a mistake. If I had joined forces with him, I could've found his weaknesses more easily. Now I'll have to work in the dark, Mr. Evans, but at least I'm alive to do so! Perhaps somewhat less than a perfect gentleman, but alive.
Phillip Evans: Without honor, sir!
John Strock: Oohh, honor be damned, Mr. Evans!
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Crazy Credits

Unusually for an early 1960s American film, the opening credits do not list the director, writers, or major technical staff; only the top-billed actors are credited, followed by the title, after which the film begins. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Richard Matheson Storyteller: Comedy of Terrors (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Master of the World
Music by Les Baxter
Lyrics by Lenny Adelson (as Lenny Addelson)
Sung by Darryl Stevens
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User Reviews

 
Beginnings of Steampunk
3 May 2010 | by See all my reviews

Despite this film's title, it stars neither Russel Crowe nor Leonardo DiCaprio. However, any movie starring Vincent Price and with a screenplay by Richard Matheson is at least going to be interesting, especially for fans of old-school B-Films, Scifi, and Horror. In my opinion, this film has been unfairly scrutinized for its 1961 FX sequences, the use of anachronistically inaccurate stock footage, and the strange-looking flying machine. On the basis of total aesthetic and entertainment value, I say it deserves at least an 8.

Price and Matheson always improved whatever they were given to work with. In this movie, we essentially get to see how Vincent Price would have played Captain Nemo, which was quite fun. Matheson, for his part, synthesized and improved upon material from 2 Jules Verne novels, and added in a few bits of '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' for good measure. As usual, Matheson also throws in some provocative observations of the human condition, and leaves clues for the audience to contemplate, such as the efficacy of attempting to halt humanity's war gods by means of propaganda leaflets and an airship that is, for all intents and purposes, also constructed of paper. Certainly Jules Verne longed in earnest to pacify the nations, and certainly paper was his medium.

The FX and the model airship both have an unfortunate effect on modern audiences, which is too bad because both serve to tell the story and create a unified mood. Vincent Price was a great actor, but his style was not realistic, per se. Therefore, you really should not be expecting realistic FX in a Vincent Price movie. Conveying a mood, telling the story and having fun are the primary goals here, and they are achieved quite well.

In the slew of Jules Verne movies from the 50's and 60's, this one ranks behind Disney's Captain Nemo adaptation, and roughly equal with Harryhausen's. (Harryhausen's FX are much better, but his script is weaker.) Although cheaper than Pat Boone's Journey to the Center of the Earth, this is miles ahead of it in terms of intelligence.

In addition, this film helped pave the way for the TV series 'The Wild, Wild, West' which is one of the possible beginning points for the Steampunk Genre. As far as that goes, this film is head and shoulders above many latter day entries, such as the dreadful 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' (which was a good graphic novel, but a horrible movie).

Watch this film with reasonable expectations, and if you are fan of the proper genres, you will enjoy this movie.


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