HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
mother!
God's Own Country
Unseen, The
Tonight She Comes
Chasing the Dragon
Into the Forest
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
   
 
Newest Articles
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
   
 
  Captain Nemo and the Underwater City Darling it's better down where it's wetterBuy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: James Hill
Stars: Robert Ryan, Chuck Connors, Nanette Newman, John Turner, Luciana Paluzzi, Bill Fraser, Kenneth Connor, Allan Cuthbertson, Christopher Hartstone, Vincent Harding, Ralph Nossek
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Following 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) and Mysterious Island (1961), seafaring antihero Captain Nemo returned to the screen in this colourful British fantasy, inspired by Jules Verne but not adapted from his novels. A violent storm casts Senator Robert Fraser (Chuck Connors) and five other voyagers into the sea, where they are rescued by the legendary Captain Nemo (Robert Ryan) and transported aboard his submarine the Nautilus to his latest creation, a fabulous underwater city called Temple-Mere.

Nemo grants the new arrivals freedom to enjoy their utopian surroundings, but warns they can never leave. For fear they’ll alert outsiders. This proves a problem for Fraser, who is on a vaguely defined mission to stop international arms-dealers. He clashes initially with the authoritarian Nemo, but the men slowly earn each other’s respect. Fraser also falls for lovely Mala (former Bond girl Luciana Paluzzi), after she saves him from a shark attack and performs a weird avant-garde musical number on her Victorian era Theremin, while Nemo warms to plucky single mum, Helena (Nanette Newman). But shifty Barnaby (Bill Fraser) and his brother Swallow (Kenneth Connor) are more taken with the miraculous machines that provide Temple-Mere with oxygen and drinking water, since their by-product is pure gold, and claustrophobic Lomax (Allan Cuthbertson) imperils everybody when he tries to escape.

While the special effects can’t compare to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, this is a fairly lavish production, whose sets and costumes have that charmingly ornate, pastel hued look common to Sixties fantasy fare. Beneath that glistening golden dome, Temple-Mere is a rather appealing paradise with a Sergeant Pepper-style marching band, seals and penguins roaming freely, happy children playing amidst colourful rock pools and giant plants, and loads of dolly-birds in sexy mini-togas. Plus everyone merrily quaffs free alcohol, brewed from shark’s liver, and dispensed from the nipples of Hindu idols. Groovy, baby.

The extravagance extends to the characters’ rather kitsch, glittery diving suits with silver fins attached (macho western star Chuck Connors gets canary yellow - hah!), and the striking lighting effects used by cinematographer Alan Hume, whose diverse credits include Kiss of the Vampire (1962) and Return of the Jedi (1983). However, for all its camp splendour there is little meat to the story concocted by R. Wright Campbell, with husband and wife team Pip and Jane Baker - who later wrote for Space: 1999 and the Colin Baker era of Doctor Who.

Panicky idiot Lomax gets himself killed, there is a mild love triangle between Fraser, Mala and Nemo’s right-hand man Joab (John Turner) - a decent sort, who gets a rather excessive comeuppance - and occasional debates that pay lip service to Verne’s themes of idealism clashing with despair for humanity’s foibles, without seeming particularly profound. Haggard-looking Robert Ryan makes a particularly surly Captain Nemo and lacks the charisma to embroider his world-weariness with mystique. He finds a new family in feminist Helena and her son Philip (Christopher Hartstone), whose presence - along with his comedy kitten - is otherwise pointless. Elsewhere, ’Allo ’Allo/Carry On stalwart Kenneth Connor mostly falls over or bumps his head, and even does a Laurel and Hardy routine beside the drinks dispenser. Later he shows admirable moral fibre with a mildly moving speech about wanting to live happily in Temple-Mere “rather than die in the gutter”, but still inexplicably tries to escape.

If the human drama falls flat, the sea life footage is lively and beautifully photographed, with a documentary feel akin to James Hill’s more celebrated animal movies: Born Free (1966), Black Beauty (1971), The Bellstone Fox (1973), etc. Monster fans might also enjoy the presence of Mobula, the roaring (!), giant manta-ray that attacks the underwater city.

Click here to watch a clip
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3435 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Shrimpton
Lee Lopez
Jennifer Thomas
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: