Film & Water #139 – 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea


Episode 139: 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA

Rob and returning guest Shawn Myers head down, down, down to the bottom of the Earth to discuss the 1954 Disney classic 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, starring Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre, James Mason, and Paul Lukas!

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13 responses to “Film & Water #139 – 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

  1. My brother and I had the storybook/record for this movie, and we must have played it a couple of hundred times there in the mid-70s. This, Pete’s Dragon, the Hobbit, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Jungle Book, Robin Hood and others were enjoyed this way in the hoary old days before VHS tapes and on demand video. Those things, along with boxes full of Viewmaster reels, were the way to experience our favorite movies at will back then.

    1. I should also mention that I have actually been on the ride at Disney in Florida. I went in the late 90’s, so it must have been one of the last hurrahs for that one, I guess. It was really cool, but even at the time, it felt like something that about to be forced out for newer, shinier things.

      1. Now that I think about it, I went to Disney twice: once when I was 11, and once later on in the late 90s. My memories of the ride must be from the earlier visit, as the second trip was definitely after 1994. They say the memory is the first thing to go…..

      2. I am a big fan of 20,000 Leagues at WDW in Orlando. The main reasons why the ride was decommissioned was the high maintenance cost associated with the ride, and the low guest throughput — it took a long time to load and unload a sub, and it was very difficult for guests with limited mobility to embark and disembark (narrow steps).

        The lagoon stayed in place for about a decade as a scenic spot (including a statue of King Triton) before it was drained. In its place now stands the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train.

        1. Yeah, makes perfect sense. Still a shame, though, and I’m really glad I got to ride it. I’ve still never gotten to the dinosaur ride at EPCOT (sp?) though….if that’s still around.

          1. Sadly, Universe of Energy / Ellen’s Energy Adventure in Future World at EPCOT just closed this past August. It is being replaced by a Guardians of the Galaxy themed roller coaster.

  2. What a great movie. I saw this as a kid back when Disney Channel used to show their classic material, and I loved it. I hadn’t seen it in decades, but DVRed it off of TCM when they were showing one of their Disney Vault showcases. I’m happy to report my daughter really enjoyed it. It still holds up VERY well.

    Oh, and Cindy informed me she DID ride the 20,000 Leagues attraction at Disney World when she went back in the early 90s. I’m insanely jealous.

    Great episode fellas!


  3. Great episode guys! One of my favorites from childhood which still holds a place for me today. We had the original VHS release (big white clamshell) when I was a kid, and I own the 2 DVD set which Shawn mentions, which is fantastic. I appreciate that it includes the short “Grand Canyonscope,” starring Donald Duck, which was also shot in CinemaScope to be released with the film, as 20,000 Leagues was Disney’s first Scope film. (There’s even a joke in the short where the park ranger asks the crowd to “spread out a little folks… this is CinemaScope.”) Link to short:

    Disney would try to do big budget adventures again in the future, but much like they chased after recreating Mary Poppins with no success, they never managed to recapture 20,000 Leagues, either. The two which are closest thematically are The Island At The Top Of The World from 1974, and then the science fiction version of this film, The Black Hole from 1979, a personal favorite of mine.

    My oldest boy read the book a while back and is eager to watch the film, I am going to have to break it out soon enough for a family movie night! Thanks again for the great episode!

  4. What a wonderful episode. I don’t recall when I first saw 20,000 Leagues, but it must have been on TV, when I was relatively young. I haven’t seen it in years, but, when I saw the title of this episode, the first thing I thought of was that movie’s stunning visuals. I’m pleased that my memory of it was born out by your enthusiastic discussion.

    As an aside, Rob, your mention of the silent film version of 20,000 Leagues made me think of the movie Hugo that came out in 2011, which is basically a love letter to the early days of silent films. A Trip to the Moon, another Verne’s inspired silent film, figures prominently in the story. Now, I’m trying to remember if you’ve already covered that movie on this podcast, because it seems like it would be right up your alley. I’ll have to look through the past episodes, when I have a chance.

    Finally, I would willingly contribute to a GoFundMe campaign that sought to develop a vehicle capable of interdimensional travel, for the express purpose of finding that alternate universe in which there is a 20,000 Leagues-styled Aquaman movie. I imagine that in such a universe, Aquaman would be DC’s flagship character, outselling both the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel.

    1. I didn’t see Hugo listed in any of the past episodes. It’s good to know I’m not yet in my dotage. Unless, of course, both my eyesight and memory are failing me.

      1. Brian-

        For no good reason I have not seen HUGO yet (I think it’s even on Netflix!). It sounds like something I’d like, plus it’s Scorsese for pete’s sake. I will have to fix this ASAP!

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