Mysterious Island (serial)

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Mysterious Island
Mysterious Island (serial).jpg
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennett
Produced by Sam Katzman
Written by Screenplay:
Lewis Clay
Royal K. Cole
George H. Plympton
Based on The Mysterious Island 
by Jules Verne
Starring Richard Crane
Marshall Reed
Karen Randle
Ralph Hodges
Music by Mischa Bakaleinikoff (musical director)
Gerard Carbonara
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
(uncredited)
Cinematography William Whitley
Edited by Earl Turner
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) August 23, 1951 (1951-08-23)
Running time 15 chapters (252 minutes)
Country United States
Language English

Mysterious Island is the 46th serial released by Columbia Pictures. It is an adaptation of the 1874 novel by Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island (L'Île mystérieuse). As in the original story, which was a follow-up to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, this serial is set in 1865. However, the serial has alien Mercurians as an additional set of villains and it has been labelled as a Space Opera version of the Verne novel.[1][2]

Plot[edit]

During the siege of Richmond, Virginia, in the American Civil War, POW Capt. Cyrus Harding escapes from his Confederate captors in a rather unusual way – by hijacking an observation balloon. In his escape, Harding is accompanied by sailor Pencroft, his nephew Bert, writer Gideon, loyal soldier Neb, and a dog. A hurricane blows the balloon off course, and the group eventually crash-lands on a cliff-bound, volcanic, uncharted (and fictitious) island, located in the South Pacific, with very unusual inhabitants. They name it "Lincoln Island" in honour of American President Abraham Lincoln. With the knowledge of the brilliant engineer, the five are able to sustain themselves on the island, producing fire, pottery, bricks, nitroglycerine, iron, a simple electric telegraph, and even a seaworthy ship. They also manage to find their geographical location.

The castaways soon encounter a group of people that include the local natives (who worship the island's volcano), Rulu (a woman from Mercury trying to extract an unnamed superexplosive element in order to conquer the Earth), Ayrton (a wild man exiled on the island) and Captain Shard (a ruthless pirate). A mystery man, who possesses great scientific powers, also makes his presence known to the group of people; he is Captain Nemo, who survived the whirlpool in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and unlike the character in the Disney film, was not fatally wounded by military troops from warships. On the way, our quintet of heroes must battle the elements and peoples while trying to figure out a way off the island and back to civilization.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Costumes from earlier serials, belonging to the Western Costume Company, were recycled for Mysterious Island. The Mercurian soldiers wear shirts from Flash Gordon and masks from The Spider's Web.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Harmon and Glut were largely positive about this serial: "Although fantastic beyond credibility, Mysterious Island actually contained more elements from the original source than most such adaptations of the sound era."[1]

Chapter titles[edit]

  1. Lost in Space
  2. Sinister Savages
  3. Savage Justice
  4. Wild Man at Large
  5. Trail of the Mystery Man
  6. The Pirates Attack
  7. Menace of the Mercurians
  8. Between Two Fires
  9. Shrine of the Silver Bird
  10. Fighting Fury
  11. Desperate Chances
  12. Mystery of the Mine
  13. Jungle Deadfall
  14. Men from Tomorrow
  15. The Last of the Mysterious Island

Source:[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut. "13. The Classics "You Say 'What Dost Thou Mean By That?' and Push Him Off the Cliff"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 332–336. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9. 
  2. ^ Cline, William C. "2. In Search of Ammunition". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 11. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X. 
  3. ^ Cline, William C. "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 252. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X. 

External links[edit]