July 6, 2020
Kino Lorber has announced the July 28 release, on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, of the 1916 silent version of Jules Verne’s classic novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in a new 4K restoration. The Blu-ray ($29.95) and DVD ($19.95) are part of the Kino Classics edition, and include a musical score by Orlando Perez Rosso and feature audio commentary by silent film historian Anthony Slide.
The film’s restoration is from a 35mm nitrate print provided by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and restoration services provided by NBCUniversal StudioPost.
Directed by Stuart Paton and produced by Universal Pictures, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was a groundbreaking production for its time, gaining much acclaim for its pioneering use of the underwater photography process developed by Ernest and George Williamson, making it one of the big-budget special effects epics of its day and a screen classic that has endured over the century since it was first released.
Shot on location in the Bahamas, Allen Holubar stars as the domineering Captain Nemo, who rescues the passengers of an American naval vessel after ramming them with his ironclad, steampunk submarine The Nautilus. Incorporating material from Verne’s The Mysterious Island, the film also follows the adventures of a group of Civil War soldiers whose hot-air balloon crash-lands on an exotic island, where they encounter the untamed “Child of Nature” (Jane Gail).
Calling itself “The First Submarine Photoplay Ever Filmed,” the film is highlighted by underwater photography (engineered by Ernest and George Williamson), including an underwater funeral and a diver’s battle with a giant cephalopod. In honor of the film’s extraordinary technical and artistic achievement, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2016.