Mysterious Island (1961)

Mysterious Island
Directed by Cy Endfield
Written by John Prebble, Daniel Ullman and Craig Wilbur from a novel by Jules Verne
Ameran Films
First viewing/Netflix rental


Gideon Spilitt: That’s the best crab I ever cooked. Captain Cyrus Harding: We’d be more impressed, Mr. Spilitt, if you’d put it in the pot by yourself.

Jules Verne adaptations were a continuing trend during the late fifties and early sixties. This one throws in another craze of the era – giant creatures.

The story is set during the American Civil War.  A group of Union soldiers escape in a rebel hot air observation balloon.  After they are airborne, they find they have a Confederate stow-away and a war correspondent (Gary Merrill) with them.  The Confederate is the only one with a clue on how to actually operate the contraction.  His help is sorely needed when the balloon goes adrift in a massive storm.

The men finally set down on a mysterious Pacific Island with almost no supplies or weapons. They are a resourceful lot though and make themselves comfortable as best they can seeing they are constantly under threat by giant creatures.  In fact, it is odd the way they miraculous escape every scrape they get into.  Eventually, the men are joined by a countess (Joan Greenwood) and her companion.  Toward the end Captain Nemo introduces himself and fills in some missing details.

This is an OK adventure but did not particularly grab me.  My favorite aspects were hearing Joan Greenwood’s velvet purr again and Herbert Lom as Nemo.  Unfortunately, Lom does not make an appearance until perhaps the final fifteen minutes of the movie.