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The Return of Captain Nemo
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Amazing Captain Nemo (TV) More at IMDbPro »The Return of Captain Nemo (original title)

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Camp fun

Author: egregiusnotanumberdamnit
19 July 2004

The Amazing Captain Nemo is a movie not worth searching out, but definitely worth watching if it's on TV late at night, when you don't take everything that is shown very seriously anymore. The movie has a deliciously nonsensical story about 2 Navy-commando's who accidentally find Captain Nemo and free him from stasis. After a 100 years, the Nautilus is still light years ahead of other submarines in terms of technology. When a mad scientist threatens the world in exchange for a ransom, Captain Nemo's help gets asked, even though he really wants to continue his search for Atlantis.

The movie is full of over-wrought cheesy dialogue, over-acting, and unbelievable technology, but that's really the movie's charm. The mad scientist's dialogue could be used, line-for-line, as samples in techno-songs; that's how campy it is. Jose Ferrer is really the right man for the role. Although I know him more for his serious roles in secret intelligence movies, he plays the role of the larger-than-life Nemo fantastically. A fun movie to watch on a bored Friday night.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

One Of My Top Five TV Shows Ever!

Author: StuOz
5 August 2003

The Amazing Captain Nemo was an odd ball mixing of actors and TV genres from another time put into the Star Wars-minded world of 1978. The show is very unique, not quality material in many ways, but there is nothing else like it that I know.

I was just 12 in 1978 when this appeared on Oz TV in 1978. I had spent the last few years of my life watching Irwin Allen sci-fic TV like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost In Space but they were all afternoon re-runs of something that was made in another decade. Nemo was NEW!

Even today I remember the constant TV advertising that played for seven days and seven nights before the show screened! Then on a Saturday night it appeared and one of the characters even mentions the year as being 1978, which really pushed the point that it was current. I seem to remember enjoying the show at the time but I was perhaps a bit too young to like the well spoken lines of Jose Ferrer as Captain Nemo and Burgess Meredith as the bad guy. Seeing the sub encounter a force field and having the crew get frozen in time was interesting to a 12 year old. But now let me move on to my adult reaction ....

Jose Ferrer had two outstanding 1950s movies behind him when he made Nemo, Cyrano de Bergerac and The Caine Mutiny, so it is very refreshing to see him years later, in 1978, stealing this show, Captain Nemo. In the 1960s Irwin Allen casted another cinema giant, Richard Basehart, to lead his Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Nemo and Voyage have other things in common. Warren Steven appears in both. Both feature exactly the same submarine miniature which was changed for Nemo. Both have explosions mixed with the fantastic storyline. Stock footage of the 1961 Voyage feature film even turns up for a minute!

But not all viewers enjoyed this film. Many hated everything about it! The scene where Nemo explains his return to two young men could be viewed as the worst bit of sci-fi ever made or you could just go along with this fantastic ride and have a ball with it! It all depends on how strong your sense of fun is.

I will say that this great under-rated show has problems. The Star Wars-look is not so good. The submarine effects were ten times better in the 1960s Voyage/Sea series. The submarine sets were ten times better in the 1960s series. But the acting from most of the cast is first class. Don't expect the Captain Nemo of the 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954) or the Mysterious Island (1961). This is Jose Ferrer's fun loving version of the character that reminds me of his work in Cyrano de Bergerac.

A special thanks to Richard LaSalle for the score.

In some parts of the world it was decided that this was good enough to be re-edited into a cinema release - The Amazing Captain Nemo - and that is how I remember this show, too good for TV! Thankfully, we are now living in a time when Irwin Allen sci-fic TV is getting popular again and I suspect that the full - Return Of Captain Nemo - will hit DVD stores one day. Getting that never seen missing hour would be a joy to me and other Irwin Allen fans.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

He's wet! He's wild! He's visited by men in short skirts!

10/10
Author: Andy Steinberg (afnaste@yahoo.com) from South Hadley MA US
16 August 2002

A very fun bad movie. Jose Ferrer (who played Emporer Shaddam IV in the fake video version of Dune) was the only good actor in this film. I saw this for the first time on TV in the late eighties in Woburn MA. I love submarine shows, fact and fiction, and my friends and I were heckling bad movies long before MST3K did it professionally. Professor Cunningham is the world's most senile supervillain. Tor the xenophobic psychic android was hilarious with his "Aliens must die!" lines. I swear that Cunningham's sub the Raven looked like it was made from Space:1999 Eagle parts. When Mr. Miller said that,"The U.S. government is not a commercial enterprise" I howled with laughter. Also laughed when Miller held up a Betamax videotape (another case of superior marketing [VHS] beating out superior technology [Beta], like Microsoft's brilliant marketing of crappy software, or the soap opera-like addictiveness of the WWE). Nemo's submarine the Nautilus was an incredible anachronism, psychedelic nuclear fission reactor, stealth projector, laser cannon, force field, 120 knots top speed (I believe our fastest subs today go almost 40 knots), and a crush depth deeper than anything other than the Bathyscape Trieste (which reached the deepest part of the oceans in 1960 with 2 crewmen aboard). Good guys fired blue stun lasers while bad guys fired red kill shots. Tor had the best handgun, 5 settings, stun, kill, 'freeze', 'thaw', force field. They even slowed down some Star Wars music for a corridor fight scene! The Atlantean King's two top advisors set off my gaydar. Apparently the formula for Nemo's laser beam is only about 10 characters long, according to Cunningham's brain tap, like wow man. I give this a 10 as a bad movie!

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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Great Premise

Author: Brian Washington (Sargebri@att.net) from Los Angeles, California
22 November 2003

This show had a pretty good premise. It took the Jules Verne's legendary character of Captain Nemo and placed him in the modern day facing various threats to mankind. If C.B.S. who broadcast this as a mini-series back in the 70's had any sense, they would have made it into a regular series. Also, I know the science is pretty bad, but this was an action packed show.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

THE AMAZING CAPTAIN NEMO {Condensed Theatrical Version Of TV Mini-Series THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN NEMO} (Alex March, 1978) **

4/10
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta
2 November 2007

I know this film was shown on local TV when I was a kid, but I can't remember whether I watched it or not; seeing it now, considering how utterly forgettable it is, I still don't know – so I counted it as a first viewing! There have been several films featuring the title character, a creation of visionary French author Jules Verne; these include: 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954; with James Mason in the role), MASTER OF THE WORLD (1961; Vincent Price), MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1961; Herbert Lom), CAPTAIN NEMO AND THE UNDERWATER CITY (1969; Robert Ryan) and THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND OF CAPTAIN NEMO (1973; Omar Sharif).

This version stars Academy Award winner Jose' Ferrer. However, even if the premise itself isn't half-bad – awakened from suspended animation in his submarine, "The Nautilus", and finding himself in modern times, Nemo adopts all his ingenuity to aid the U.S. Navy in defeating megalomaniac scientist Burgess Meredith – it emerges as easily his most infantile adventure yet! For instance: five seconds into the film, Meredith's assistant – donning a steel mask – rants that "The World Shall Be Ours!"); equally hilarious are the zealous gesticulations of the similarly decked-out midget, whose task it is to fire The Professor's all-important "Delta Beam" - and how about those android-type minions aboard Meredith's vessel who never seem to do much of anything?!

Ferrer manages to maintain his dignity throughout, but Meredith is an embarrassment (in what is virtually a retread of his Penguin characterization from the 1960s BATMAN TV series and film) where the budget was so tight – mostly invested in bland production design and shoddy special effects, no doubt, and both evidently influenced by STAR WARS (1977) – that, apparently, they couldn't even afford him a decent costume (he looks positively idiotic wearing a tie in a sub)! The supporting cast includes Mel Ferrer (playing a saboteur in the vein of Joan Fontaine from another Irwin Allen production, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA [1961], and who engages in a swashbuckling routine with his namesake inside the engine-room of "The Nautilus"), Lynda Day George (unsurprisingly, she's the only female character around) and Horst Buchholz (as the King Of Atlantis – for whatever reason, Nemo is obsessed with locating the famed Lost Continent).

By the way, having been reduced from a three-part mini-series for theatrical exhibition, the film obviously feels choppy – though one is still able to discern where one episode ended and another began.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Fun if you don't take it too seriously

Author: rudge49 from United States
16 May 2013

This is sort of a "1930s Serial as done by Irwin Allen". Imagine what Republic or Mascot could have done with 1970s movie technology. Superb special effects, the acting ranges from good to hammy, the dialog often inane, the premise preposterous, but if you don't take it too seriously, it's fun, a good rainy/snowy afternoon entertainment. It does contain one of my favorite movie scenes however. When the two Navy officers awaken Captain Nemo and he starts to talk about his crew and his ship, one of them says: "But Captain Nemo was a character in a book by Jules Verne!" To which he replies: "Had it perhaps occurred to you that that writer was a biographer as well as a novelist?"

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Bad Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea redux

3/10
Author: TVholic from New York
9 January 2011

Two years after Irwin Allen did some of his best work with his Time Travelers TV movie, he did some of his worst with this summer replacement series. I remember rather liking this back then. Revisiting it via the recently released Amazing Captain Nemo DVD, it's nothing like what I thought I remembered. It was much less fun and exciting. I think I'll stick with my memories. Thanks to the Towering Inferno and the Poseidon Adventure, Allen earned the sobriquet, "Master of Disaster." With this, that was certainly accurate. It was definitely a disaster.

The plot made no sense at all. At one point, Nemo tells Tom to set his hand weapon to stun because "We are not murderers." Never mind that a stunned scuba diver would probably drown, probably a less pleasant death. Only minutes later, they utterly destroy the villain's submarine, so presumably everyone onboard is killed. The Atlanteans appear to be able to breathe water, but Nemo insists that they take his mini-sub to escape. Amazing Captain Nemo, edited down to two hours from several episodes, was even worse. The editing was completely haphazard, jumping from scene to scene at times and being hard to follow.

This cast was utterly forgettable. Jose Ferrer chews the scenery but does little else, once flinging his cape backwards as if he were auditioning for Phantom of the Opera. Tom Hallick, who had previously appeared on Allen's Time Travelers, was okay, but the character was about as two-dimensional as they come, like all of the other characters. Lynda Day George stood around as decoration but didn't actually do anything to help the crew.

A superior undersea effort came a year earlier, with the Man from Atlantis TV movie. That also featured a former Batman guest villain, namely Victor Buono (King Tut) while this had Burgess Meredith (the Penguin). That movie also featured mind control devices. Was Allen cribbing again? Like most Irwin Allen works, there was no character development here. Nemo is stuffy and good. Cunningham is crabby and evil. The Navy pair are loyal. Nobody grows or changes at all through the series.

Allen stole from everything this time. It's no accident that the corridor on Professor Cunningham's sub resembles the one from the beginning of Star Wars. Even the music during that fight shamelessly apes John Williams' iconic score, but without the master's touch. Allen reused (twice!) a shot of two mines colliding and exploding, taken from his 1961 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea movie.

Just how chintzy was the budget? The filming model of the villain's submarine was recognizably built using major parts from a model kit of the Space: 1999 Eagle, which you could buy from any hobby store at the time for less than $10. Maybe that's why they called it the Raven. I can't imagine any other reason why someone would name an undersea vehicle after an aerial creature. To mask the poor effects, every "underwater" shot was filled with swirling particles and silt. There were "robots" in cheap rubber masks and spray-painted wetsuits. The mask on Tor muffled the actor's voice and they never bothered to even dub it, even though it would have been easy since there were no lip movements to match. Not that hearing him more clearly would have been a blessing. His lines were monotonous, ridiculous ones like, "Aliens live! Aliens must be destroyed!" If you must watch one of Irwin Allen's undersea works, I strongly suggest going with his Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea series instead. That was ten times better than this. Or better yet, get the 1961 Voyage theatrical movie with Walter Pidgeon and Barbara Eden.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A merely-tolerable surrogate for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Author: mahatmarandy from Newport Nohwere, Florida
28 September 2005

I fondly remember watching this show when it first aired in 1978. I was very excited about it thanks to previews in Starlog magazine, and had been waiting for it for months. I videotaped all three episodes on my dad's Betamax. I was 11.

I enjoyed it, but even at 11 I was *very* aware that it was, at root, a retread of the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea premise about a super-sub and it's super-genius owner/builder who save the world from certain annihilation every week. The sets were similar to Voyage ones, the feel of the show was similar, and at one point during a dive scene, we even get a few bars of the old Voyage theme music. I would not have been surprised if Admiral Nelson or the Seaview showed up at some point, it was just that similar. (And I later found out that the Nautilus miniature was actually a heavily re-worked Seaview miniature!) That said, it wasn't that good. I enjoyed it as only an 11-year-old weaned on crappy Irwin Allen shows can, but I was very much aware that it wasn't a really great show. It's about on par w/ some of the 4th season episodes of Voyage: watchable, but kinda' lame. Not only was it derivative of Allen's earlier work (And even managed to use a lot of stock footage), it had a strong dose of "Whatever people like right now" so you had shootouts very similar to the ones in Star Wars in corridors that resembled those of the Death Star, etc.

I'm a bit confused about the production, however: This aired as a 'series' that ran for 3 weeks, and wrapped up it's entire storyline. Years later, I saw it as a movie version that included - as far as I can tell - all of the 3 episodes of the series. I get the feeling this was perhaps filmed as a 2-hour-and-change movie, and then chopped into three parts to fill a hole in CBS' schedule or something.

I wouldn't mind watching it again, just to see how fuzzy my memory has gotten, but I didn't mind too much when it got canceled.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Fire Delta Beam!

3/10
Author: Rob_Taylor
27 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This has to rate as one of the cheesiest of TV shows in a long time.

Jose Ferrer played the title character, Nemo. He did the part justice and certainly looked the part. But nowadays, it strikes me that the Nemo he was made up to be bore more than a passing resemblance to Captain Bird's Eye, from the TV commercials. Or maybe it's the other way around.

His nemesis, Professor Cunningham, was overacted brilliantly by Burgess Meredith. He never seemed to get over his "Penguin" days from Batman. Although he doesn't do his Penguin "quack" here, he is without parallel as the maniacal Professor. Only John Colicos, of Battlestar Galactica fame, chewed up the scenery better as a maniacal despot.

I never can recall what the grudge was between Nemo and Cunningham, but it must have been severe, since the Prof. never missed a chance to try and scupper Nemo, and vice-versa.

The effects were nothing special, though Prof. Cunningham's submarine was way better looking than Nemo's. It also had a crew of strange, fish-like amphibians that served Cunningham and did his every bidding.

However, the most memorable aspect of the whole show was Prof. Cunningham's secret weapon. The Delta Beam! He was forever saying "Fire Delta Beam!", whereupon, a fishy crewman would horribly overract the motion of firing the weapon by use of a full shoulder shrug. Truly priceless! They don't make them like this anymore, and perhaps just as well. But like other series of this era, for those who remember it, it will always have an affectionate, if cheddar-covered, place in our hearts.

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Jules Verne was also a biographer

4/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
8 July 2015

This short lived television series based on a cryogenically frozen Captain Nemo coming to life in the latter part of the 20th century and and putting his Nautilus at the disposal of the USA whom he sees as the good guys. Of course it helps that Naval Intelligence undersea branch in the persons of Tom Hallick and Burr DeBenning discover him and thaw him out. They serve as first and second mates on detached duty from the navy.

His Nautilus even beats our nuclear submarines, but it isn't the Russians who have a better boat. It's arch villain Burgess Meredith as a mad scientist who wants to rule the world with a half human, half robot crew that wants that.

This film is compilation of three episodes of the television series. While it was done it must have been a hoot for both Jose Ferrer and Burgess Meredith. These guys were just loving trying to top the other in outrageous displays of ham acting. They make it a joy to watch this most inferior science fiction film.

Best line in the film was when Hallick says Captain Nemo was a figure of fiction, Ferrer says that Jules Verne was a biographer as well as a science fiction writer. From there get set for some ham a la mode.

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