Mysterious Island

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Overview

Filmed at least nine times over the last nine decades, Jules Verne's Mysterious Island received its most popular picturization in the hands of producer Charles Schneer, director Cy Endfield and special-effects maestro Ray Harryhausen. During the Civil War, several P.O.W.s led by Gary Merrill escape from a southern stockade in a huge observation balloon. Buffeted about by a violent storm, the balloon lands on an unchartered island somewhere near New Zealand. The fugitives soon discover that this is no ordinary ...
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Overview

Filmed at least nine times over the last nine decades, Jules Verne's Mysterious Island received its most popular picturization in the hands of producer Charles Schneer, director Cy Endfield and special-effects maestro Ray Harryhausen. During the Civil War, several P.O.W.s led by Gary Merrill escape from a southern stockade in a huge observation balloon. Buffeted about by a violent storm, the balloon lands on an unchartered island somewhere near New Zealand. The fugitives soon discover that this is no ordinary desert isle, especially after being attacked by a giant-sized crab. Joined by a pair of shipwrecked British gentlewomen Joan Greenwood and Beth Rogan, the castaways find evidence that the island has been previously inhabited-and that they're all being watched. Sure enough, it turns out that the island is the domain of Captain Nemo Herbert Lom, skipper of the futuristic underwater vessel Nautilus. Having failed to end all wars by blasting battleships out of the sea, Nemo is now experimenting with new means of ending starvation in the world: hence the outsized crabs and birds that the castaways have confronted. Before Nemo can spread his goodwill elsewhere, he is destroyed by the island's volcano, while the others manage to escape in the Nautilus. As in 1957's 7th Voyage of Sinbad, the combination of Ray Harryhausen and musical composer Bernard Herrmann is unbeatable; otherwise, Mysterious Island tends to slow to a halt in-between its spectacular special-effects highlights.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The cinematic equivalent of a good old British "ripping yarn," Mysterious Island takes a great deal of liberties with the Jules Verne story upon which it is based. The result is not vintage Verne, but it's a fun-filled Saturday afternoon-type adventure film that young boys (of all ages) will enjoy. The plot doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's not really supposed to; all it needs to do is provide a few excuses for some neat-o Ray Harryhausen giant animals. While these are far less sophisticated than what one expects in current films, they are very good for the period and have a certain strange power to them. The sequence involving the giant bees is especially well done. Equally impressive is the lengthy balloon flight/storm sequence that opens the picture. In between the adventure sequences, the film bogs down; dialogue and character development are not among its strong points, nor is the explanation for why these giant creatures exist particularly credible. In general, the acting takes second place to the special effects, although Herbert Lom is quite amusing and Joan Greenwood has some very good moments. Bernard Herrmann's score is excellent, as always, and adds tremendously to the adventure segments. Mysterious Island is not a great film, but it's a great deal of fun.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/24/1994
  • UPC: 043396600676
  • Original Release: 1961
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mikey Craig Capt. Cyrus Harding
Joan Greenwood Mary Fairchild
Michael Callan Herbert Brown
Gary Merrill Gideon Spillet
Herbert Lom Capt. Nemo
Percy Herbert Sgt. Pencroft
Beth Rogan Elena
Dan Jackson Neb
Nigel Green Tom
Harry Monty
Technical Credits
Cy Raker Endfield Director
Bill Andrews Art Director
Wilkie Cooper Cinematographer
Rene Dupont Asst. Director
Ray Harryhausen Special Effects
Bernard Herrmann Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Jack Mills Camera Operator
John Prebble Screenwriter
Charles H. Schneer Producer
Dan Ullman Screenwriter
Crane Wilbur Screenwriter
Frederick Wilson Editor
Egil Woxholt Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    GREAT Movie!

    Larry D. Bohall, author of Martyr's Cry (ISBN 1591295327):This is an incredible film--one of my childhood favorites (along with Jason and the Argonauts). The special effects are outstanding, even by today's standards (I loved the dinosaur bird and the bee scene)...and there's never a boring moment. I recommend it highly!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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