A scientist is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew. Problems arise almost as soon as they enter the bloodstream.
During the US Civil War, Union POWs escape in a balloon and end up stranded on a South Pacific island, inhabited by giant plants and animals. They must use their ingenuity to survive the dangers, and to devise a way to return home. Sequel to '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'.Written by
Stewart M. Clamen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mysterious Island was the first of the films made in Europe by exiled director Cy Endfield to be released in his native USA with his actual name as director on the credits, instead of the name of a friend or a pseudonym. See more »
A long view of the balloon's basket did not show any bags of ballast hanging over the side, however when the Union soldiers got near the balloon to enter the basket, the ballast is plainly visible. See more »
All right, now get down.
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Opening credits prologue: THE SIEGE OF RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 1865 See more »
What I did was in the name of peace. Your war, like all wars, glories in devastation and death.
Mysterious Island is a loose adaptation of Jules Verne's novel of the same name. It's out of Columbia Pictures and was filmed at Shepperton Studios in England with exteriors on the coast of Spain. Directed by Cy Endfield, with Ray Harryhausen working his stop motion genius for the creatures, it stars Michael Craig, Joan Greenwood, Michael Callan, Gary Merrill, Herbert Lom, Beth Rogan, Percy Herbert & Dan Jackson. Bernard Herrmann provides the score.
The plot sees three Union soldiers escaping in a gas balloon from a Confederate prison camp during the American Civil War. Also caught up in the escape is a Confederate rebel and a newspaperman. As they battle the elements they are forced to crash land on some island they think is in the Pacific. Here they encounter giant animals that threaten their survival. Soon two ladies are shipwrecked onto the island too, but the strange animals are not the only thing to worry about, the island volcano is close to eruption and they appear to not be the only humans on the island?
Though something of a lesser light in the pantheon of fantasy adventure films, Mysterious Island, in spite of its flaws, is rather good fun. Dramatically it's OK, with the creatures particularly memorable, but those in search of a science story befitting Jules Verne are in for a let down (though some small science interest does come in the last quarter). This is an out and out desert island survival movie with some Harryhausen kickers. There's a nice group dynamic as soldiers from opposing sides are forced to come together to survive. While the arrival of "posh stock" ladies throws up a class distinction issue, that is nice, if not fully exploited.
There's the usual clichés of course, and as much as I enjoyed it as a red blooded man, did they really need to make Beth Rogan's newly made island dress the shortest in the land? And true enough, some of the matte paintings and effects have aged better in our childhood memories than actually on the print of the film. It's nicely photographed by Wilkie Cooper in Eastman Color using the Super-Dynamation process, but the film also suffers in parts for the restoration. For the prints that exist on DVD now are beset by spotting, fading and scratches. While of course the resolution now shows the flaws of the source material that were once never evident.
Still this is a must have film for fantasy adventure enthusiasts.Yes, as with many Harryhausen based movies, the action sequences involving his creations light up an episodic picture. But with giant animals intent on eating our survivors, a Vernian turn of events in the last quarter, Herrmann's brilliant bombastic score and Rogan's dress! Who cares about routine narrative eh? 7/10
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