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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

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A ship sent to investigate a wave of mysterious sinkings encounters the advanced submarine, the Nautilus, commanded by Captain Nemo.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writer:

Earl Felton (screenplay)
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kirk Douglas ... Ned Land
James Mason ... Captain Nemo
Paul Lukas ... Prof. Pierre Aronnax
Peter Lorre ... Conseil
Robert J. Wilke ... First Mate of the Nautilus
Ted de Corsia ... Capt. Farragut
Carleton Young ... John Howard
J.M. Kerrigan ... Old Billy
Percy Helton ... Coach Driver
Ted Cooper Ted Cooper ... Mate on 'Lincoln'
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Storyline

The oceans during the late 1860-92s are no longer safe; many ships have been lost. Sailors have returned to port with stories of a vicious narwhal (a giant whale with a long horn) which sinks their ships. A naturalist, Professor (Pierre) Aronnax, his assistant, Conseil, and a professional whaler, Ned Land, join an US expedition which attempts to unravel the mystery. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The mightiest motion picture of them all! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1955 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Jules Verne's 20000 Leagues Under the Sea See more »

Filming Locations:

Negril, Jamaica See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$28,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1969, Captain Nemo's pipe organ, which had been on display in Disneyland, was redressed and now resides in the ballroom of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. A duplicate was constructed for the ballroom of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion, which opened in 1971, and over a decade later another duplicate was built for Tokyo Disneyland. See more »

Goofs

Obvious stunt double for Ned can be seen when Captain Nemo first finds the three stowaways and has them stand outside the Nautilus as it submerges. See more »

Quotes

Shipping Agent: [first spoken lines] I say there ain't no monster! But, we need men. And just to treat you fair and square, I'm willing to give each of you two wages and a bonus, from Frisco to Shanghai and back, ALL FOUND!
Casey Moore: ALL DEAD, you mean! Don't sign up for him, Lads! You can't buy off the Monster with two wages and a bonus! You won't make it back to Frisco to collect your pay!
See more »

Alternate Versions

This film was also released in a "flat" version. This was optically derived from the anamorphic negative. This was for release in small cities where there were no theaters yet equipped for CinemaScope. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Good Eats: Squid Pro Quo (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

A Whale of a Tale
Lyrics by Norman Gimbel
Music by Al Hoffman
Sung by Kirk Douglas (uncredited)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Cuz He Swears By His Tattoo
10 February 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

There's something out there roaming the Pacific Ocean destroying a whole lot of shipping and killing a lot of people. The more maritime the nation, the more losses it's suffering. Jules Verne's story has the United States of America taking the first crack at finding what's going on in the Pacific.

On a ship commanded by Ted DeCorsia are two Frenchmen, renowned scientist Paul Lukas and his assistant Peter Lorre. Also along is Kirk Douglas who is crack whaling harpooner.

Of course they meet up with the beast and it's no living thing, but a submarine. This was all new back then, although prototype submarines were used in the Civil War they had limited effectiveness. In fact this particular kind of submarine was something unheard of until the middle of the last century. It's captain is a misanthropic fellow named Nemo, played by James Mason. He's taking it out on the nation's of the world for some personal losses sustained.

His brilliance as a scientist, his refinement also attracts Paul Lukas. But Kirk Douglas just wants to escape because for all of Douglas's carefree philistinism, he sees Nemo as a murderer and a menace. The conflict between both is what drives the story.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea won Oscars for both Special Effects and Art direction. It is probably Walt Disney's most successful live action film ever done, even beating out Mary Poppins dare I say. Even in this day of computer generated effects, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea still holds its own with more modern films.

Kirk Douglas enjoyed the part of Ned Land the harpooner and it's a favorite of his today. He might have made a few more films for Walt Disney but for an incident that took place after the film.

Disney was also at the same time creating his first theme park, Disneyland in Anahem, California. When it was opening he invited Kirk and his family to spend the day there on him and he even agreed to furnish a camera crew to follow the Douglas family around as they enjoyed the park attractions.

So Kirk took his wife and his sons and they had a grand old time and got some free home movies as a souvenir. But Walt Disney kept the negative and the films showed up on his Walt Disney Presents television show. Of course Kirk never got paid for this appearance and neither did any of the rest of his family including young Michael Douglas.

Even though this left a sour taste in Kirk Douglas's mouth as he related in his memoirs, The Ragman's Son, he liked his work in this film very much and the part certainly has the same kind of exuberance we expect from a Kirk Douglas movie. Kirk even gets to sing in the film, a nice little sea chantey called A Whale of a Tale. He even made a record of it and I'm sure if you can find it, the item might be worth a few dollars as a collectible.

Right around the time 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was released the United States Navy launched it's first atomic submarine. In tribute to that most popular of French authors with American audiences, the Navy named the ship the Nautilus. A great tribute to a great writer of fabulous tales of imagination. And Walt Disney couldn't have gotten better publicity had he paid for it.

Don't believe me, I swear by my tattoo.


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