Maurice Tourneur WriterJules Verne, Lucien Hubbard, Carl Pierson Release dateOctober 5, 1929 (1929-10-05) DirectorsLucien Hubbard, Maurice Tourneur, Benjamin Christensen CastLionel Barrymore (Count Andre Dakkar), Jacqueline Gadsden (Countess Sonia Dakkar), Lloyd Hughes (Nikolai Roget) Similar moviesMysterious Island (1961)
The mysterious island 1929 fragment
The Mysterious Island is a 1929 American science fiction film directed by Lucien Hubbard based on Jules Verne's 1874 novel L'Île mystérieuse (The Mysterious Island). It was photographed largely in two-color Technicolor and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a part-talkie, with some scenes that featured audible dialog and some that had only synchronized music and sound effects.
On a volcanic island near the kingdom of Hetvia rules Count Dakkar, a benevolent leader and scientist who has eliminated class distinction among the island's inhabitants. Dakkar, his daughter Sonia and her fiance, engineer Nicolai Roget have designed a submarine which Roget pilots on its initial voyage just before the island is overrun by Baron Falon, despotic ruler of Hetvia. Falon sets out after Roget in a second submarine and the two craft, diving to the ocean's floor, discover a strange land populated by dragons, giant squid and an eerie undiscovered humanoid race.
Lionel Barrymore as Count Dakkar
Jacqueline Gadsden as Sonia Dakkar
Lloyd Hughes as Nikolai Roget
Montagu Love as Falon
Harry Gribbon as Mikhail
Snitz Edwards as Anton
Gibson Gowland as Dmitry
Robert McKim (uncredited)
According to an article in the original Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, production was actually started in 1926. There were various problems, including weather and the advent of talkies, which slowed/halted production several times before the film was finally completed and released three years later. The article included stills showing the original 1926 undersea denizens and the redesigned version which actually appeared in the film. Footage directed by Maurice Tourneur and Benjamin Christensen in 1927 was incorporated into the final 1929 version.
The film is loosely based on the back-story given for Captain Nemo in the novel The Mysterious Island, and might more properly be thought of as a prequel to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea but for the fact that the man who would be Nemo dies in this film's finale. It is the story of Count Dakkar (Captain Nemo's real name is revealed to be Prince Dakkar in The Mysterious Island), how he built his submarine, how he was betrayed, and how he became an outcast seeking revenge.
Until recently only one reel with a color sequence was thought to have survived, in the collection of the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
In 2013, Deborah Stoiber from the George Eastman House film archive visited Prague to examine the sole existing color copy of The Mysterious Island. The US film experts, in cooperation with the Czech National Film Archive, restored the color print of The Mysterious Island. After the complete Technicolor print was discovered in Prague in December 2013, a new print of the film premiered at the 33rd Pordenone Silent Film Festival in October 2014.