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Master of the World (1961)

 |  Sci-Fi, Adventure  |  May 1961 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 1,651 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 25 critic

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 ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Captain Robur
...
John Strock
...
Prudent
Mary Webster ...
Dorothy Prudent
David Frankham ...
Phillip Evans
Richard Harrison ...
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:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Robur - Der Herr der sieben Kontinente  »

Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (including prologue)

Sound Mix:

(StereoSonic Sound)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Matheson combined two stories by Jules Verne for this screenplay: "Clipper of the Clouds" (1886) and its sequel "Master of the World" (1904). See more »

Goofs

The shot of the "warship" from sea level is actually Fred MacMurray's ship, the "Gerrymander" from the 1952 film: "Fair Wind to Java" which was also directed by William Whitney for Republic. The same footage was later used on "The Wild Wild West". See more »

Quotes

Robur: You're an intelligent man, Mr. Strock. Surely you must appreciate my ultimate objective.
John Strock: I would also have to believe in your method of achieving this objective. I don't.
Robur: What alternate method is there that would not require centuries more of violence and bloodshed? No. It is too long to wait. With courage and daring, worldwide peace can be achieved now.
John Strock: Not with my help, Mr. Robur.
See more »

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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beginnings of Steampunk
3 May 2010 | by (Portland, OR, United States) – 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.


9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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