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 <email@example.com>
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 »
Robur's men use single-fire flintlock pistols. Yet the film is set in 1868, three years after the American Civil War, which saw wide use of percussion cap firearms, revolver pistols and repeating rifles, all of which existed before the War. For a man who claims to be ahead of his time, this is a weird anachronism. See more »
Closing credits: "I take my dream with me. But it will not be lost to humanity. It will belong to you the day the world is educated enough to profit by it and wise enough not to abuse it" From Jules Verne's MASTER OF THE WORLD See more »
The Warner Home Video version runs 95 minutes and has no prologue sequence. The Orion Home Video version runs 99 minutes with the sequence. The laser disc version also includes the original exit music which brings the running time to 104 minutes. See more »
I caught this one on cable recently, seeing it for the first time as an adult. I must admit to a slight bias toward this film: when I was growing up in the dreaded BC (before cable) days, it was standard Saturday afternoon TV fare on our local indie channels. I was surprised at how well it's held up after all this time.
Master of the World is actually based on two little-remembered Jules Verne novels. Price is his usual hammy self as the standard Verne not-quite-villain, Robur (read: Nemo in the air) who, like Nemo, seeks to end war through technology. The young Bronson, as a sympathizer who then rebels against Robur's violent methods, is far less wooden than in his later years. But the real star of this movie is its production design. The rendering of what an aircraft might have looked like in Victorian days (had such a thing been possible) is dead-on, and the special effects are pretty impressive for 1961. The script, by Richard Matheson, is a little overwrought, but true to Verne's spirit while eliminating the blatant racism of the original stories. This time around though, I found the sweeping, melodramatic score to be a bit overpowering.
In short, not a perfect film or even a great film, but Master of the World remains a well made, entertaining action fantasy. I'm surprised it isn't better remembered by fans of the genre.
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