20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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Released 1916

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Director:
Richard Fleischer , Stuart Paton
Released:
1916
Rating:
G

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is the classic 1916 adaptation of Jules Verne's famous novel about Captain Nemo and his exotic submarine, The Nautilus. This silent film was unprecedented in many ways. For one, it was the first big-budget film, with a cost so astronomical that industry executives couldn't imagine it ever making a profit. The film also pioneered underwater photography. While watertight encasements for cameras were not yet available, a system of watertight tubes and mirrors positioned in shallow waters reflected underwater images the cameras could then film. The film begins in America, where the Navy is receiving reports of a sea creature terrorizing the open waters. A ship is sent to investigate and the crew discover the "creature" is actually The Nautilus, a highly-advanced submarine designed by the mysterious Captain Nemo. The American soldiers join the submariners and they explore the depths of the ocean. It's not long before Captain Nemo's true intentions begin to surface. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a historical landmark for silent film making, ushering in a style of storytelling still used in the blockbusters of today.

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    Themes

    epic adventure, disasters at sea, fantastic adventure, light science fiction, childlike sense of wonder