A Stolen Airship (1967)

aka Ukradena vzducholod
Article 2651 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-10-2008
Posting Date: 11-15-2008
Directed by Karel Zeman
Featuring Hanus Bor, Jan Cizek, Jan Malat
Country: Italy/Czechoslovakia

Five boys fly off in an airship and land on a desert island.

Karel Zeman is such a visually inventive director that it goes a long way to make up for the fact that my print of this movie is in the Czech language. Oh, sure, it’s subtitled, but the subtitles are in Chinese (I think). At any rate, much of the plot is hard to follow, though I do believe that Verne’s “The Mysterious Island” is at least one of the sources for the story, and I suspect there are more. It’s a dizzying array of animation, stylized special effects, adventure, fantasy and surreal slapstick humor. The movie is full of strange images, such as a welter of strange airships (including one that can be rowed and one that harbors a set of can-can dancers), spies with fake arms, and a shark stranded on the bottom of the ocean for having eaten a too-heavy torpedo. The “Nautilus” and Captain Nemo show up for a short sequence as well. It’s a lot of fun, but I hope someday to see either a dubbed or English-subtitled version to clarify some of the plot points.



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