20,000 Leagues Under The Sea


D: Richard Fleischer

Buena Vista/Disney (Walt Disney)

US 🇺🇸 1954

127 mins

Science Fiction/Adventure

W: Earl Felton [based on the novel by Jules Verne]

DP: Franz Planer

Ed: Elmo Williams

Mus: Paul Smith

PD: Harper Goff & John Meehan

James Mason (Captain Nemo), Kirk Douglas (Ned Land), Paul Lukas (Prof. Pierre Aronnax), Peter Lorre (Conseil), Ted de Corsia (Capt. Farragut)

Bringing Jules Verne’s classic adventure to the screen was an ambitious project to undertake in 1954, even for a major studio like Disney, but it was groundbreaking for its visual aspects, even though the adaptation itself was a little heavy-handed.

James Mason was perfect casting for the role of Captain Nemo, but I was less convinced by Kirk Douglas’ performance as Ned Land, especially when his character breaks into song and dance for the incredibly silly addition of the “Whale Of A Tale” number.

Worth watching for the production design and visual effects, which made this film an early influencer for the cyberpunk sub-genre, and even though certain aspects are dated, this was really ahead of the game for 1954, especially for the giant squid sequence, which still holds up quite well over half-a-century later.


20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea