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Jules Verne - on the Screen
Quick Facts – Jules Verne was one of the pioneers of science fiction, he was born in Nantes, France in 1828. He moved to Paris to study law. Verne was fascinated by science and new discoveries. Interested in reading and writing he wrote his first novel – Five Weeks in a Balloon in 1862. It was a big success and Verne decided to make writing his career.
Jules Verne enjoyed speculating about the future. He was writing stories about electrically-powered submarines and rocket flights to the moon decades before anyone gave them serious thought.
Some of his most famous novels include – Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870), Around the World in 80 Days (1873) and The Mysterious Island (1875).
Jules Verne suffered from diabetes in the last years of his life, he died at his home in 1905. Verne is one of the most translated authors in the world, second only to Agatha Christie, and along with H.G. Wells one of the fathers of science fiction.
A Trip to the Moon (1902) directed by Georges Melies. 14mins.
The first science fiction film even if it was only 14 minutes long. Based very loosely on Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and H.G. Wells First Men in the Moon (1901).
The making of this film featured in the Oscar winning movie Hugo (2011) directed by Martin Scorsese.
IMDB rating 8.2
The Conquest of the Pole (1912) directed by Georges Melies. 30mins.
Based on the novel The Adventures of Captain Hatteras (1866) by Verne.
Balloonists come face to face with a frost giant at the North Pole.
IMDB rating 6.8
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916) directed by Stuart Paton, starring Lois Alexander, Curtis Benton, Wallace Clarke, Howard Crampton and Allen Holubar as Capt. Nemo. 105mins.
Noteworthy for it's groundbreaking underwater photography and as the first full length Jules Verne movie.The story also included elements from The Mysterious Island.
An expensive film at the time, which included elaborate sets, location photography and innovative special effects.
IMDB rating 6.6
The Mysterious Island (1929) directed by Lucien Hubbard, starring Lionel Barrymore, Jacqueline Gadsden, Lloyd Hughes, Montagu Love and Harry Gribbon. 95min.
Released in two-tone Technicolor, the film took 3 years to complete because of various production problems and re-filmed with talking sequences and synchronised music.
IMDB rating 6.1
The Soldier and the Lady (1937) directed by George Nichols Jr, starring Anton Walbrook, Elizabeth Allan, Akim Tamiroff, Margot Grahame and Eric Blore. 85mins.
Based on Verne's novel Michael Strogoff (1876).
A remake of the French film Michel Strogoff (1936) which also starred Anton Walbrook, RKO studios bought the rights to the film and inserted 22 scenes from that film into the remake.
IMDB rating 6.4
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) directed by Richard Fleischer, starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas and Peter Lorre. 127mins.
An expensive film adaptation of the Jules Verne classic produced by Walt Disney studios, it was the second biggest hit of the year (White Christmas was no.1).
Nemo: Do you know the meaning of love, professor?
Aronnax: I believe I do.
Nemo: What you fail to understand is the power of hate. It can fill the heart as surely as love can.
Aronnax: I'm sorry for you. That's a bitter substitute.
Directed by Richard Fleischer, the son of cartoon pioneer Max Fleischer, Walt Disney's biggest rival in the 20's and 30's.
The battle with the giant squid was originally filmed in daylight and just didn't look exciting, the cast and crew went back and re-filmed it at night during a storm at sea and it was far more effective and frightening too, plus you couldn't see the wires holding up the squids tentacles which was a plus.
Disney's epic movie is still the best adaptation to date of this story, James Mason is excellent as Captain Nemo and Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre and Paul Lukas all give solid support.
The film won Oscars for Best Art Direction and Best Special Effects, nominated for Best Film Editing.
IMDB rating 7.2
Around the World in 80 Days (1956) directed by Michael Anderson, starring David Niven, Cantinflas, Shirley Maclaine, Robert Newton, John Gielgud, Robert Morley, Trevor Howard, Noel Coward and Charles Boyer. 183mins.
Starstudded movie and travelogue, excellent photography and playing spot the star helps while away three hours of tedium.
Nominated for 8 oscars, winning 5 including Best Picture.
Costing $6m to make it was one of the biggest hits of the year grossing $33m.
IMDB rating 6.8
The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (1958) directed by Karel Zeman, starring Lubor Tokos. 83mins.
Czechoslovakian fantasy movie mixing live action with stylised backgrounds, animation, stop motion even puppet animation. It's innovative style won the film critical praise and it picked up awards at various film festivals too.
IMDB rating 7.3
From the Earth to the Moon (1958) directed by Byron Haskin, starring Joseph Cotten, George Sanders, Debra Paget, Patric Knowles. Henry Daniell and Melville Cooper. 101mins.
Based on the 1865 Jules Verne novel of the same name.
Joseph Cotten and George Sanders build a space rocket to fly them to the moon using a powerful new explosive and the hardest metal in existence.
They shoot off into space with Debra Paget and a young assistant joining them. Sanders attempts to sabotage the mission and he ends up on a one way trip to the moon with Cotten while the young couple make it back to Earth safely.
The budget of the film was slashed during production, which meant there would be no scenes set on the moon.
IMDB rating 5.2
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) directed by Henry Levin, starring James Mason, Pat Boone, Arlene Dahl, Diane Baker, Thayer David and Peter Ronson. 132mins.
An excellent big-budget cinemascope production of Verne's sci-fi-fantasy classic.
Professor Lindenbrook: You can't come with us. You're a woman!
Carla Goteborg: What has my sex to do with it?
Professor Lindenbrook: We're not contemplating a stroll down Piccadilly.
Count Saknussem: I don't sleep. I hate those little slices of death.
The 1950s box office success of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in 80 Days and Journey to the Center of the Earth made Jules Verne a bankable author in Hollywood more than 50 years after his death.
Oscar nominated for Art Direction, Sound and Special Effects.
IMDB rating 7.0
Master of the World (1961) directed by William Whitney, starring Vincent Price, Charles Bronson, Henry Hull, Mary Webster and David Frankham. 102mins.
Written by Richard Matheson and loosely based on the Verne novels Robur the Conqueror (1886) and it's sequel Master of the World (1904).
This was given a bigger budget than usual by American International Pictures which was busy producing Edgar Allan Poe films starring Vincent Price at the time. Costs were reduced by using plenty of stock footage from various movies including Laurence Olivier's Henry V for some scenes.
IMDB rating 5.9
Mysterious Island (1961) directed by Cy Endfield, starring Michael Caig, Joan Greenwood, Michael Callan, Gary Merrill, Herbert Lom as Captain Nemo, Beth Rogan, Percy Herbert and Dan Jackson. 101mins.
Based on The Mysterious Island (1874), Verne's sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870).
Superb stop motion animation from the late great Ray Harryhausen has helped make this film a family favourite which still gets shown regularly on TV.
IMDB rating 6.8
Valley of the Dragons (1961) directed by Edward Bernds, starring Cesare Danova, Sean McClory, Joan Staley, Danielle de Metz and Gregg Martell. 82mins.
Loosely based on Verne's novel Off on a Comet (1877).
Two men find themselves transported to the moon after a comet strikes the Earth. They discover dinosaurs, cavemen and (gasp) girls in fur bikinis!
Stock footage from Hal Roach's One Million B.C. (1940) was used in some scenes.
IMDB rating 4.5
Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962) directed by Irwin Allen, starring Red Buttons, Fabian, Barbara Eden, Cedric Hardwicke, Peter Lorre, Richard Haydn, Barbara Luna, Herbert Marshal and Reginald Owen. 101mins.
Based on Jules Verne's first novel, published in 1863. Irwin Allen had also directed The Lost World (1960) based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
In Verne's story the balloon is named 'Victoria' in the movie it was renamed 'Jupiter'. In Irwin Allen's TV series Lost in Space the spaceship was called the 'Jupiter II'.
IMDB rating 5.5
In Search of the Castaways (1962) directed by Robert Stevenson, starring Maurice Chevalier, Hayley Mills, George Sanders, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Michael Anderson Jr, Wilfrid Brambell and Jack Gwillim. 98mins.
Based on Verne's novel, the French title translated as Captain Grant's Children (1867).
An enjoyable family adventure by the Disney studios. This film probably contains more matte paintings than any other movie. Peter Ellenshaw was Disney's master matte artist at that time.
IMDB rating 6.3
Those Fantastic Flying Fools (1967) directed by Don Sharp, starring Burl Ives, Troy Donahue, Gert Frobe, Hermione Gingold, Lionel Jeffries and Dennis Price. 119mins.
Very loosely based on Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (1865).
Alternative title: Blast Off.
UK title: Rocket to the Moon.
IMDB rating 5.0.
Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969) directed by James Hill, starring Robert Ryan as Nemo, Chuck Connors, Nanette Newman, Luciana Paluzzi and John Turner. 105mins.
Based on characters from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Sexy Luciana Paluzzi played villainous Bond girl Fiona Volpe in Thunderball (1965).
A colourful adventure for youngsters but Robert Ryan is miscast as Nemo, was James Mason too busy to reprise the role? Herbert Lom? A bearded Maximilian Schell would have been perfect as Nemo (see The Black Hole (1979).
IMDB rating 5.4
The Light at the Edge of the World (1971) directed by Kevin Billington, starring Kirk Douglas, Yul Brynner, Samantha Eggar and Fernando Rey. 120mins.
Based on Jules Verne's The Lighthouse at the End of the World, published posthumously in 1905.
Pirates led by Kongre (Brynner) have taken over a lighthouse and use it to make ships crash on to the rocks so they can loot the cargo. Denton (Douglas) is a survivor of a wrecked ship and decides to stop the pirates from sinking any more ships.
IMDB rating 5.6
The Amazing Captain Nemo (1978) directed by Alex March and Paul Stader, starring Jose Ferrer as Nemo, Burgess Meredith, Mel Ferrer, Horst Buchholz, Tom Hallick and Warren Stevens. 102mins.
First shown on US TV as a three part mini-series, an edited version was shown theatrically outside the U.S.
Despite starring together Jose Ferrer and Mel Ferrer were not related.
It was produced by Irwin Allen and based on characters by Jules Verne, the series was Emmy nominated for it's visual effects.
IMDB rating 4.4
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997) directed by Michael Anderson, starring Richard Crenna, Ben Cross as Nemo, Julie Cox, Paul Gross and Michael Jayston. 95mins.
Made for TV by Hallmark Entertainment.
Michael Anderson (1920-) had directed Around the World in 80 Days 40 years earlier!
IMDB rating 5.2
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997) directed by Rod Hardy, starring Michael Caine as Nemo, Patrick Dempsey, Mia Sara, Bryan Brown, Nicholas Hammond and Kerry Armstrong. 158mins.
Michael Caine's turn to play Captain Nemo and this version is even more loosely based on Verne's novel than previous adaptations.
Nemo has a metal hand and his daughter Mara (Mia Sara) is on board the Nautilus too.
IMDB rating 5.4
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1999) directed by George Miller, starring Treat Williams, Jeremy London, Tushka Bergen, Hugh Keays-Byrne and Bryan Brown. 180mins.
TV movie in 3 parts, produced by Hallmark Entertainment.
Bears little resemblance to Jules Verne's novel, but the dinosaurs get a thumbs up.
IMDB rating 5.5
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) directed by Stephen Norrington, starring Sean Connery as Allan Quatermain, Naseeruddin Shah as Captain Nemo, Peta Wilson as Mina Harker, Tony Curran as The Invisible Man, Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray, Shane West as Tom Sawyer, Jason Flemyng as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Richard Roxburgh as M. 110mins.
Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore which features famous characters from literature (see cast list) teaming up to fight crime, the chief villain in this case turns out to be Professor James Moriarty.
The League travel around the world in Captain Nemo's supersub Nautilus, "The Sword of the Ocean".
LXG cost $78m to make and has grossed $179.2m worldwide.
IMDB rating 5.6
Around the World in 80 Days (2004) directed by Frank Coraci, starring Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan, Cecile De France, Jim Broadbent, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, John Cleese, Rob Schneider, Maggie Q, Sammo Hung, Kathy Bates and Arnold Schwarzenegger. 120mins.
An epic comedy and epic flop tenuously based on Jules Verne's novel of the same name. Schwarzenegger received a Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actor.
The film cost $110m to make and has grossed $72m worldwide ($24m in the US).
IMDB rating 5.6
Mysterious Island (2005) directed by Russell Mulcahy, starring Kyle MacLachlan, Danielle Calvert, Gabrielle Anwar, Patrick Stewart as Nemo and Vinnie Jones as Bob. 172mins.
TV movie produced for the Hallmark Channel.
Patrick Stewart 'baldly' going where many actors have gone before.
IMDB rating 4.4
Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) directed by Eric Brevig, starring Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem, Seth Meyers and Jean Michel Pare. 93mins.
Set in the 21st century and invisibly based on the 19th century novel by Jules Verne.
An enjoyable kiddie adventure with good effects, made in 3-D it was a surprise hit, followed by a sequel in 2012.
The movie cost $60m to make and has grossed $242m worldwide.
IMDB rating 5.7
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) directed by Brad Peyton, starring Dwayne Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Michael Caine, Kristin Davis and Luis Guzman. 94mins.
Sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) but without Brendan Fraser and Anita Briem who were too busy making other films.
Michael Caine's character searches for Captain Nemo's submarine the Nautilus, Caine played Nemo in a telefilm in 1997.
The film was produced in 3D and cost $79m to make, it was a hit grossing $335.2m worldwide.
IMDB rating 6.0