• 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (the silent version)

    From Gary McGath@21:1/5 to All on Tue Jun 27 20:46:09 2023
    I just finished watching the 1916 silent movie, "20,000 Leagues under
    the Sea." This seems like as good a place to write about it where people
    will be interested.

    It's a very impressive movie for its time. When I watch silent films, I
    like to improvise my own musical accompaniment. This movie was made for
    music, especially in the rather long undersea scenes. They were
    technically groundbreaking (water-breaking?) for their time.

    The story is a mix of "20,000 Leagues under the Sea," "Mysterious
    Island," and some other plot elements which may have come from other
    Verne novels or been made up for the occasion.

    Although Captain Nemo does some nasty things near the beginning, he
    proves to be the hero of the movie as the plot drifts away from the
    novel of the title. He even looks a little like Santa Claus. Professor
    Arronax is pretty much forgotten after the first half hour, and a new
    villain turns up in the middle of the movie.

    Just as everything seems to be wrapped up, Nemo decides to tell his
    backstory, which runs another quarter hour. The intertitles explicitly
    tell us this part isn't from Verne. In the movie, he was formerly a
    Muslim prince. If I recall correctly, Verne had him coming from India
    but didn't specify his religious background. The movie backstory adds
    events which Verne didn't describe in either of his Nemo novels.

    I accompanied this movie at ConCertino 1992, but it was opposite other programming and the con was too small to support multiple tracks, so the audience was tiny. This was the first time I've watched it since then.
    It's a movie worth seeing, and very different from the 1954 Disney
    version, which sticks closer to the original text (unusually so for Disney).
    Gary McGath http://www.mcgath.com

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