Posts Tagged ‘richard fleischer’

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Starring – Kirk Douglas (Ned Land), James Mason (Capt. Nemo), Paul Lukas (Prof. Pierre Aronnax), Peter Lorre (Conseil).

Tagline – Walt Disney’s Mighty, Magnificent, Memorable 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!

Released – December, 1954

Directed By – Richard Fleischer

Produced By – Walt Disney Productions

Distributed By – Buena Vista Film Distribution Company

Description – Fear of sailing the Pacific Ocean has terrified sailors and crippled the sailing lanes. Many ships have been lost and rumors of a sea monster are spreading rapidly.

In an effort to investigate these rumors, the U.S. government has invited Prof. Aronnax and his assistant Conseil along on the expedition. After months of finding no trace of any sea monster their ship is rammed by the monster.

Prof. Aronnax, Conseil, and master harpooner Ned Land, are thrown overboard and watch helplessly as the ships sinks. The three drift in the ocean until they come across an unusual metal vessel that appears to have been deserted.

They board the ship and as they look around come across a room with a full-view glass view of the ocean floor. From this window they see what appears to be an underwater funeral. It is the ships crew holding the ceremony, and when they return to the strange ship they find and capture the castaways.

The ships captain introduces himself as Capt. Nemo, master of the Nautilus, and explains that this ship is a submarine and able to travel beneath the surface of the ocean. Prof. Aronnax is recognized by Nemo who would like to recruit the Prof. to help with his work. Nemo has discovered the secrets to using nuclear power.

Meanwhile, Ned has discovered the coordinates of Nemo’s secret island and sends the information off as notes in bottles in the hope that someone will find them and rescue the group. Little do they know that their adventure is just beginning.

The group will have to escape from cannibals, a giant squid, and an armada of warships intent on destroying Nemo’s island and stealing his nuclear secrets.

Captain Nemo will do anything, including destroying everyone and the island himself, in order to protect his secrets.

NOTABLE: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea won Oscar’s for Best Effects, Special Effects, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color. The film was also nominated for Best Film Editing.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea proved to be the most expensive production of its time surpassing Gone With the Wind.

During the scene where the cannibals are chasing Kirk Douglas’ character, Ned Land, the actors playing the cannibals painted humorous messages on their foreheads. The messages were not visible on the screen, but read, “Eat at Joe’s,” and “I Ate Joe.”

The impressive scenes of the interior of the Nautilus were designed by Roland Hill. Hill would later design Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland.

Personal Note: An exciting 1950’s Science Fiction classic that should be enjoyed by each generation of children (and adults).


The Narrow Margin

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

The Narrow Margin

Tagline – A Fortune If They Seal Her Lips… A Bullet If They Fail!

Starring – Charles McGraw (Det. Walter Brown), Marie Windsor (Mrs. Frankie Neall), Jacqueline White (Ann Sinclair), Gordon Gebert (Tommy Sinclair).

Released – May, 1952

Directed By – Richard Fleischer

Produced By – RKO Radio Pictures

Distributed By – RKO Radio Pictures

Description – Mrs. Frankie Neall, a mob boss’ widow, is on a train from Chicago to Los Angeles to testify before a Grand Jury. Not everyone wants her to get there.

Assigned to protect her is Detective Walter Brown, who has a not too flattering opinion of Frankie. As he describes her: “She’s the sixty-cent special. Cheap. Flashy. Strictly poison under the gravy.” He’s going to have his hands full.

How bad does the mob want her dead? Before even boarding the train, Detective Brown’s partner is murdered and the deadly cat-and-mouse game is on. Knowing the mob is following them, Detective Brown stays close to Frankie and soon becomes suspicious of a couple they encounter on the train.

But, is everybody who they claim to be, and with danger in every rail car there’s nowhere to hide.

NOTABLE: The Narrow Margin was nominated for the Best Writing, Motion Picture Story Oscar.

The Narrow Margin was RKO’s biggest money-maker for 1952.

This was Marie Windsor’s breakout part. She had been hyped as “the new Joan Crawford” but had not been noticed much until this role.

The film was shot in 13 days with only a few seconds actually on board a train.

Personal Note: This is a great B-Movie from the film noir genre, or any other genre. In fact, this is probably one of the better films produced in the 1950’s. Action, suspense, well-acted, great camera work, and direction. Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor (two film noir legends) do a great job.