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Tim Elliott ...
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Matthew O'Sullivan ...
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Ron Haddrick ...
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based on novel | See All (1) »

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23 October 1976 (USA)  »

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An odd choice for a TV special.
24 January 2007 | by (Newport Nohwere, Florida) – See all my reviews

I saw this once in 1978 or 79 when I was 11 or 12 years old, so my memory of it is a little dusty. It aired on CBS one Saturday morning after their normal lineup of Saturday cartoons was done for the day.

The story is fairly faithful to Jules Verne's novel, with a man named Robur who has developed a flying car/boat and is either attempting to take over the world, or simply show off (His motivations are a little bit muddy). It's set in or around the turn of the century, which is consistent with the book, which takes place in 1903 or 1904. It's an odd choice of story to adapt for the small screen, since it's one of Vernes' more obscure tales, and certainly not among his more compelling. Still and all, for the conscious decision to do something comparatively unknown, I'm probably giving them higher marks than the special actually deserves.

The voice-casting was adequate, and an Irish-sounding cleaning woman sticks out in my memory going on about how man was not meant to be moving "At fifty miles an hour!" Animation, however, was very weak particularly in the seemingly endless talking heads scenes, and was probably comparable to some of the less-inspired scenes in Charlotte's Webb or maybe a really good episode of that dumb Partridge Family In Space cartoon from the early 70s.

I have no idea who produced or financed this, or why, but even as a kid I had the feeling it was just being dumped on to the air in a more-or-less dead time slot as a one-shot special simply to get rid of it. Our local CBS affiliate seemed to have more than it's share of those in the late 70s.

In any event, this is probably not worth tracking down unless you're an absolutely incoherent Verne fanatic.


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