This thoroughly delightful silent short film by early cinematic genius Georges Melies is a parody of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
It bears little relation to Verne in terms of story, character, location or humour, but does channel his sense of wonder at the natural world, while nodding to his work with the inclusion of a submarine and an exciting battle with an octopus.
Melies gives this story far more fun and invention than Verne allows his audience, and it’s probably important to suggest the debt the filmmaker also owes to HG Wells’ The First Men in the Moon, first published in 1900.
Most of Under The Seas is now sadly lost along with much of Melies‘s work, but what we have remains . What we do have is wildly inventive and charming in the single camera static style familiar to fans of his work. Melies provides fantastical fish and dancing underwater nymphs among the slapstick, adventure, fantasy and spectacle.
No discussion of the cinematic adaptations of Verne would be complete without a passing mention of Melies, not least because his astounding and enchanting 1902 A Trip to the Moon is indebted to Verne’s 1865 novel, From The Earth To the Moon, featuring a group of scientists who travel to the moon in a cannon-propelled capsule.
Under the Seas is well worth seeking out and tragically it won’t take long to watch.
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Read my review of Disney’s fabulous 1954 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, HERE
Read my review of 1961’s Mysterious Island, HERE
You can read my review of the 1916 adaptation of Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island, HERE
You can read my review of 1929’s The Mysterious Island, HERE
Read my review of the 1941 Russian adaptation of The Mysterious Island, HERE
And you can read my review of 1951’s Mysterious Island, HERE