The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (1958)

THE FABULOUS WORLD OF JULES VERNE (1958)
aka Vynalez zkazy
Article 2402 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-24-2007
Posting Date: 3-10-2008
Directed by Karel Zeman
Featuring Lubor Tokos, Jana Zatloukalova, Miroslav Holub

A scientist is kidnapped by pirates who pretend to be protecting him from those who would prevent him from working on his new invention, a super-powerful bomb. His assistant is also kidnapped, but is kept away from the scientist because he knows the truth of the situation. The assistant vows to escape, contact the scientist, and save the world from the pirates.

Here’s another movie by Karel Zeman, and it’s a sumptuous visual feast. Zeman combines special effects, animation, live action and set design to create a movie and a world totally unlike any other; much of it is intended to emulate the woodcut illustrations of the original Jules Verne novels, and shot after shot in this movie is stunning. The story is based (rather freely) from a Jules Verne novel called “Face au Drapeau”, and this version seems to combine several elements from other Verne stories, most notably the ones about Captain Nemo. The story gets a little dull on occasion, but there’s always something fascinating to look at, and it has fun touches of humor on occasion, and sometimes I sense a Chaplinesque air to the proceedings. It even has a scene involving an early movie projector that plays some rather strange movies, including one with roller-skating camels. Like all of the Karel Zeman movies I’ve seen, highly recommended.

 

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