Tuesday 15 December 2015

Captain Nemo and the Underwater City 1969

Essentially an odd adaption of Jules Verne's 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea. The Nautilus is a decent "steampunk" alternative to Disney's version designed way before the term steampunk was coined. I first became aware of this film from seeing a photo of the model in a studio store room in Raymond Fielding's classic book Special Effects Cinematography, see below.

In 2011 the model was sold at auction and fetched 14 000 US dollars.

  The underwater miniature effects look like they were shot dry and not in a tank. Small amounts of smoke trail from the tips of the wings, an interesting detail added to the miniature to help make it look like it is streaming silt underwater. A few close up shots suffer from too shallow a depth of field with parts of the model in soft focus. Generally British special effects men have to work across all areas of special effects however of the three credited, Richard Conway became more known for his miniatures work, while George Gibbs was usually associated with mechanical and physical effects and Jack Mills for special effects cinematography. Both Richard Conway and George Gibbs must have been at (or very close to) the start of their feature film special effects careers on this film.


  1. That really looks like a steampunk version of a Cardassian warship.

  2. Matthew Teevan7 July 2018 at 13:47

    I love the design of these ships. I always have. Everything in Nemo's world Templemir and the subs was meant to have been made from Gold.... extracted from the seawater. Love it!
    Great screen captures. Thank You!

  3. I remember watching this years ago. At the end of the film someone throws a gold ladle into the water and then they cut to a shot of Templemir and the person watching the film with me said they were waiting for the moment the ladle would break the glass! The underwater city was what stuck with me, I'd completely forgotten about this films take on the Nautilus until seeing your screen shots.


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