20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)

Much to my family’s chagrin, I am becoming a fan of the silent film; particularly old science fiction and horror films.  As a child, one of my favorite science fiction stories was Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea which told the tale of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus and their adventures under the ocean deep. The film below is a restored version of the 1916 silent film produced by Universal Studios and directed by Stuart Paton. It was one of the first films to depict underwater scenes by using mirrors and watertight tubes to reflect images of underwater scenes staged in shallow, sunlit waters. The film was one of the most expensive of its era and was praised for its special effects (which aren’t bad for an early 20th Century film).

One of the very first ‘steampunk-y’ films. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has been remade several times; including a popular 1954 film starring Kirk Douglas and two releases of the film in 1997 starring Ben Cross (Dark Shadows) in one version and Academy Award winning actor Michael Caine in the other.


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