During the US Civil War, Union POWs escape in a balloon and end up stranded on a South Pacific island, inhabited by giant plants and animals. They must use their ingenuity to survive the dangers, and to devise a way to return home. Sequel to '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' .
Michael Craig ... Capt. Cyrus Harding
Joan Greenwood ... Lady Mary Fairchild
Michael Callan ... Herbert Brown
Gary Merrill ... Gideon Spilitt
Herbert Lom ... Captain Nemo
Beth Rogan ... Elena Fairchild
Percy Herbert ... Sgt. Pencroft
Dan Jackson ... Cpl. Neb Nugent
Director: Cy Endfield
Runtime: 101 mins
Codecs: DivX 5 / MP3
Schneer and Harryhausen team up to create a film that has all the allure and adventure of Kong's Skull Island. It's a war story, an adventure and a fantasy all in one.
Each scene is gripping and doesn't really slow down for me until the introduction of Capain Nemo. I wish the film had taken a different direction at that point, but I realize that it was a necessary part of the story to include him.
If only the contestants on "Survivor" had it so good! With the boiled crab, fresh oysters and BBQ chicken, who needs take-out? And the girl's outfit is just as skimpy; several years ahead of Raquel Welch in "One Million Years BC." This movie is everything that "The First Men in the Moon" is not. It has mood and atmosphere that is lacking in the fore-mentioned movie. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It succeeds on the strength of its story and is only enhanced by the wonderful Harryhausen creations, wisely spaced evenly throughout the movie.
I only offer one word of advice: climbing to the rim of an active volcano is never a good idea. But, what the heck, the climb was worth the goat's milk!
This is a splendid adventure story from the Schneer-Harryhausen team, adapted freely from the Jules Verne novel. A group of union soldiers in a Confederate prison hijack a weather balloon during a storm, which, due to some very strange climatic conditions, takes them across the United States and over half the Pacific ocean. Miraculously, they land on an island, where they soon encounter, among other things, a giant crab, bees the size of cows, and a smoking volcano.
The story is too good to give away, and much of the pleasure of the film is the way it unfolds, chapter by chapter, as it were, without seeming episodic or forced. Harryhausen's stop-motion creatures are breathtaking, and movie is overall beautiful to see, very imaginative, managing to walk a fine line between the fantastic and the realistic, with just enough artifice in some of the exterior shots to make it seem larger than life, but not so much as to come off as contrived. Director Cy Enfield deserves his share of credit for keeping the focus on the story, not the effects, and maintaining a deliberate pace. The script could be wittier, though its plainness makes the movie suitable for children.
This is a nice, satisfying telling of the Verne story, with special effects by Ray Harryhausen and a good score by Bernard Herrman. Escapees from a Civil War prison camp are blown way off course in a balloon they stole. They find themselves on an apparently deserted island somewhere in the Pacific, are joined by two women who were shipwrecked, and eventually come face-to-face with Captain Nemo and the wrecked Nautilus.
They have to deal with pirates, an erupting volcano and Harryhausen's creature threats. These include very large versions of a hungry red crab, an aggressive chicken (or dodo), a bee and an unhappy squid. Some of the creatures turn out to be very good boiled or roasted.
The movie holds up well because of a strong story, good action, and fairly well-defined characters. It features Herbert Lom, in my view an under-rated actor, and Joan Greenwood. By this time Greenwood was taking character parts and doing a lot of stage work. But from the mid-Forties to the mid-Fifties she was, I think, one of the sexiest, smartest actors Britain has ever produced. Her plummy, smoky voice is inimitable.
* Producer Charles H. Schneer claimed that he chose this story after reading an article stating that Jules Verne's "Mysterious Island" was the most-looked-at book at public libraries.
* Ray Harryhausen has related the story of watching a cut of the film with composer 'Bernard Herrmann' . In a sequence involving a giant bird, Herrmann stated that he was going to score it with "Turkey in the Straw". Herrmann was only kidding.
* One of the factors that led to the green lighting of this project was the huge success of a film with a similar story, Swiss Family Robinson (1960) that was made by Walt Disney.
* A real Brown crab was disemboweled, dismembered, cleaned and fitted with an internal armature for Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion animation of the giant crab. Additional live crabs were used for some of the "facial" close-ups, then later cooked for a crew dinner.
* The opening scenes at the Confederate prison camp were shot in England and the exteriors were shot at Shepperton Square.
* Originally, there was going to be a scene featuring a man-eating plant, but it was never shot.
* The scene with the giant bird was from the original draft of the script, which was to have had prehistoric monsters rather than giant oysters and crabs.
* The original concept for the film was that it was going to be shot as a straight survival story without the giant animals. However, the producers felt that concept was too boring and decided to include the giant monsters.
* The scenes on the island were actually filmed on the coast of Spain.
* Although produced by different studios, it is obvious that the exterior design of the "Nautilus" submarine as seen in the film was heavily influenced by Harper Goff's "half crocodile/half shark" Nautilus design in Disney's 20000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), especially with respect to the sub's top spar and rounded "eye" windows. In the original Jules Verne novels of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "Mysterious Island", the Nautilus is described as being rather plain, basically a cigar-shaped steel tube with very little outside detailing.
* The armature for the crab is covered with the shell of a real crab instead of the usual latex. Ray Harryhausen bought three crabs for the production, having one humanely killed by a museum employee as boiling it would have changed the color of the shell. The other two were used for close-ups of the crabs' mandibles, which would otherwise have required a huge amount of time to properly animate. These crabs subsequently served as a dinner entrée for Harryhausen and producer Charles H. Schneer.