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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea


All the way back in 1954, Disney created one of their biggest live-action hits with their large scale adaption of Jules Verne's 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA.

Kirk Douglas is roustabout seaman Ned Land, who joins Professor Aronax (Paul Lukas) and his sidekick Conseil (Peter Lorre) investigating numerous, mysterious sinkings at sea.

They turn out to be the work of Captain Nemo and his submarine of the future, The Nautilus.

Nemo is played with surprising menace by the great James Mason and I was constantly shocked how dark this Disney film plays.

By today's standards, it's very slow and methodical in it's voyage, with a few too many "cute" Disney moments thrown into the mix.

As a matter of fact, it has some pretty boring stretches. In the end though, several actions sequences end up picking up the film, including the all time great giant squid battle on the deck of the Nautilus.

The giant squid was created full-size by Robert Mattey, who created the shark for JAWS twenty one years later and his work here is terrific in a full scale battle that still wows today.

With Mason, Douglas and Lorre at full tilt and that giant squid it certainly has it's moments, but the water-logged slow pace and the clapping seal moments drag this down to a B-.

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