20000 Leagues Under the Sea

Still one of Disney's most ambitious live action adaptations, only marginally vulgarising Jules Verne's original and notable for some staggering designs, including the beautiful 'Nautilus' submarine itself, with its lush Victorian interior. It was the first Disney film to use very big stars, with Mason contributing a thoroughly sympathetic performance as the anguished Captain Nemo, and Lorre as one of his foils. Time hasn't been quite so kind to Kirk Douglas' role as a lusty harpooner, who looks as though he was inserted to reassure American audiences in the face of what might seem to be a sternly anti-colonial plot. Otherwise this is one of the great movie adventures, fully deserving its canonisation in Disney World, where an elaborate underwater ride attempts - with mixed success - to duplicate some of the film's major thrills.

Release details

Duration: 126 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Richard Fleischer
Screenwriter: Earl Felton
Cast: Kirk Douglas
James Mason
Paul Lukas
Peter Lorre
Robert J Wilke
Carleton Young
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