20.000 Leagues under the Sea
R: Stuart Paton. B: Stuart Paton, Jules Verne (novel). K: Eugene Gaudio; underwater: George M und J. Ernest Williamson. D: Allen Haloubar, Dan Hanlon, Edna Pendleton. P: Carl Laemmle / Universal Film Manufacturing Co. und Williamson Submarine Film Co. USA 1916
“The first adaptation of two of Jules Verne’s novels: ‘20000 Leagues Under the Sea’ and ‘The Mysterious Island’, with the first under sea pictures in a feature film. This is the first adaptation of ‘20000 Leagues Under the Sea’ as Melies 1907 eponymous short film only shares with Verne’s book a submarine called Nautilus. The film does not follow strictly Jules Verne’s two books. The two main differences are that the end of ‘20000 Leagues Under the Sea’ is omitted, i.e. when the Nautilus disappears in the Maelstrom off the coast of Norway, and that two characters are added, Nemo’s daughter and the evil Denver. Quite strangely, an inter-title informs the viewer towards the end of the film ‘Captain Nemo reveals the secret of his life, which Jules Verne never told’ when the script actually follows quite closely ‘The Mysterious Island’, in particular with the revelation that Nemo is an Indian Prince whose family was massacred by the British.
This is the first film featuring under sea filming thanks to watertight tubes and mirrors allowing the camera to shoot reflected images. This allows quite spectacular (for the time) views of corrals, wrecks, sharks and actors in scuba diving suits. The filming on location on New Providence Island and the use of real sailing boats, of a full-size navigable mock-up of the Nautilus, and of large sets and exotic costumes gives authenticity to the action.
The film uses quite an elaborate narrative with cross-cutting between the parallel actions of Nemo, Lt. Bond and Denver, leading to their meeting on Mysterious Island. The chronological development is interrupted by flashbacks for the actions which took place in India many years before.”
A Cinema History
“Carl Laemmle (January 17, 1867 in Laupheim, Germany – September 24, 1939 in Los Angeles, California) was a German Jewish pioneer in American film making and a founder of one of the original major Hollywood movie studios Universal. Laemmle produced or was otherwise involved in over four hundred films.
Regarded as one of the most important of the early film pioneers, Laemmle was born on the Radstrasse just outside the former Jewish quarter of Laupheim. He emigrated to the US in 1884, working in Chicago as a bookkeeper or office manager for 20 years. He began buying nickelodeons, eventually expanding into a film distribution service, the Laemmle Film Service.
On April 30, 1912, in New York, Carl Laemmle of IMP, Pat Powers of Powers Motion Picture Company, Mark Dintenfass of Champion Film Company, William Swanson of Rex Motion Picture Company, David Horsley of Nestor Film Company and Charles Baumann and Adam Kessel of the New York Motion Picture Company merged their studios and the Universal Film Manufacturing Company was incorporated. They founded the Universal Motion Picture Manufacturing Company in 1912, and established the studio on 235 acres (0.95 km2) of land in the San Fernando Valley, California in 1915.”
The Early Cinema