20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Well! I last watched this at about the age of ten. These are my memories:
a) I want Ned’s stripy top and sailor’s hat
b) The little funny one who looks like a mole is ace
c) I want to live on the Nautilus
d) Ned improbably wrestling a giant squid
e) Captain Nemo is both a bit scary and terrifically magnetic
I am interested to see if this is still the case after watching it as an adult. As two of my favourite actors (voices) ever are in this (James Mason and Peter Lorre) I am amazed it’s taken me so long to rewatch. I think an aversion to Disney sentiment/50s technicolour epics/Kirk Douglas’ late period overacting (I’ve seen The Vikings, Kirk) are factors. Frankly, I was a fool. It’s flipping terrific, in a ridiculous kind of way.
Look! Here’s Ned. He’s so heterosexually virile he can entertain TWO whores. In the space of a minute, he has seen off some shysters, stood on a horse and proved himself both a sailor and a man with hearty good humour.
In contrast: here are the Professor (I had forgotten him! Soz, Prof. I last saw you being evil on a train with Michael Redgrave! Long time no see.) and Conseil his apprentice enjoying some Victorian Interiors. (Side query - is there an American term that equates to Victorian? As this is 1868 San Francisco!)
They all get on a ship to go hunting for the mysterious sea creature that is destroying everything. Ned entertains the sailors with the campest bit of singing I have seen in a long while. (Hence the TWO WHORES, because from this point on Ned is like something Jean-Paul Gaultier has dreamt up, and that’s not Disney).
Ship meets sea creature, chaos ensues. Amazingly, our three protagonists all end up on this mysterious craft. OOOOH LOVELY NAUTILUS GPOY
This must be its mysterious Captain. UNF.
Nemo differs from James Mason’s previous Coldly Indifferent Yet Sexy Saucepots as he hates the whole of mankind, not just women.
However, he totally fanboys all over the Professor, whilst winding up Ned and Conseil over dinner. “The cream, of course, is milk from the giant sperm whale”.
So, the characters are all set. Nemo is sternly clever and misanthropic, the Prof is humanely sympathetic and intellectual, Ned is hearty and quick-tempered, Conseil is snarky, loyal and quite lovely. It’s like an extended shag, marry, cliff. Hmmmm.
In other news, the underwater photography is pretty darn good. Look, Ray, Turtles!
Time passes on the Nautilus. Nemo plays his Obvious Organ Of Self-Pity, the Prof and Conseil do sciencey things, Ned fashions a playable guitar out of a turtle. Oh, Ned, I’d be bloody pleased with myself too if I’d managed that.
Nemo takes the Prof to a disco, in the hope that he will put out. OH, no, actually it’s the Nautilus’ ‘secret power source’ control room. Vague science is vague.
Then he tries lounging seductively. Works for me, James *fans self*
Day trip to Island Of Evilly Enslaved Workforce Of Doom also fails to work, and Nemo turns to his Organ again, bashing out Bach’s Toccata and Fugue like any self-respecting 17 year old goth (what no I am not at all speaking from personal experience also it doesn’t sound as good on a piano)
I have lost track of the amount of times Kirk gets his top off unnecessarily in this film. Look. Ridiculous. *cough*
One of the best things about this film is the chance for Peter Lorre to be the comedian and steal every scene (cf every scene he is in the background of in The Maltese Falcon). I get upset when I think of the chances he missed by being typecast, so him and Esme is lovely.
Jumper Catalogue - Victorian Sailor Edition. AHHH James your casual sexiness kills me.
Totally un-PC hilarity ensues with Nemo electrocuting the cannibal natives. Ned and Conseil are all “Dance, Monkeys!” Go Disney!
HUZZAH! It’s the giant squid. How do I remember Kirk but forget the extended Wet James Mason Wrestling Giant Squid sequence? Fail, childhood brain. I like this shot, it’s like a Victorian Sailor Pieta. All those years in church were useful after all.
Ned is so distressed that he’s saved Nemo’s life that he goes off to get drunk on preserving alcohol with Esme. This is an adorable scene.
Nemo is saying something important here but honestly I can’t recall anything because GUH
Vulcania! Warship! Misanthropy! Other plot points! And then James gets to show off his I-have-been-fatally-shot-but-will-struggle-through-to-the-end-of-the-film acting that he perfected in Odd Man Out. God, he’s good.
Jonestown Nautilus. Ned is not so happy to go down with the ship.
Beautiful last shot of the ocean for Nemo. And beautiful last shot of Nemo for meeeee.
Honestly, who ends a technicolour epic with three blokes in a tiny boat? I am somewhat distressed that they saved themselves through Ned’s brute strength (wet fighting aplenty, ripped shirt ahoy) rather than through intellect or reasonable argument.
Well, I can see why my ten-year-old-self liked Nemo (my now-self can barely glance at James Mason without swooning at his sexiness AND his acting ability) and also Conseil (because he ROCKS). I STILL want Ned’s stripy top and sailor cap. And I’d still like to live on the Nautilus, but for slightly different reasons than when I was ten. And I can’t believe I forgot the Prof because he is a lovely mix of scientist and humanist.
In conclusion: shag Nemo, marry the Prof, cliff Ned. (I reckon Ned could survive a cliff fall, and I’d get Conseil and Esme as a package with the Prof. Win.)
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- thisisaslongas said: We still call it Victorian over here. I will add to your ten yer old observations my six year old one of my father explaining to me that the bright light thing was nuclear power, because he was a nuclear engineer.
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