20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Synopsis: The oceans during the late 1860-92s are no longer safe; many ships have been lost. Sailors have returned to port with stories of a vicious narwhal (a giant whale with a long horn) which sinks their ships. A naturalist, Professor (Pierre) Aronnax, his assistant, Conseil, and a professional whaler, Ned Land, join an US expedition which attempts to unravel the mystery.
Director(s): Richard Fleischer
Production: Disney
  Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
127 min

I say there ain't no monster.

But we need men.

And just to treat you fair and square,

we're paying double wages and a bonus,

from Frisco to Shanghai and back,

all found.

All dead, you mean!

Don't sign with him, mates.

You can't buy off the monster

with double wages and a bonus.

You'll never get back to Frisco

to collect your pay.

I got a man here that sailed on

the Golden Arrow and lived to tell about it.

Come on, Billy.

Tell 'em what you saw.

It was the monster, all right.

A cable's length long from beak to tail.

And it came a-bellerin' out of the night,

with one big eye like a lighthouse.

We're stoved into starboard.

We're smashed to port.

And then it come up amidships.

And broke our backs and sunk us.

Forty poor sailor men drowned dead.

The point is,

this thing is a ship killer.

It's a miracle old Billy's alive today.

- Tell 'em about its teeth, Billy.

- As big as a mainsail, I swear.

And its breath...

Its breath was like a furnace.

You got a pretty strong breath yourself,

me easy-talkin' friend.

You mind answering a few questions?

I'm a harpooner by trade.

Monsters interest me. All kinds.

Keep away from him,

you noisy sea lawyer!

I just wanna smell his breath.

I can already smell yours.

Boiled down for his oil, lads,

there'd be free grog for all hands,

if you can swallow it on top

of his tall yarns...

There! There they are!

- Stop it!

- Come on, Casey.

This is no place

for a clergyman's son.

Hey, Minnie!

Hey, Daisy, come on!

Let's shove off!

Hey, what are you guys doing to me?

Don't bother unloading.

Sailing's been cancelled.

Cancelled again?

This is ridiculous. We'll see about this.

- Driver, you wait here.

- Yes, sir.

Is it true

about the sailing being cancelled?

Unfortunately, yes, Professor Arronax.

The crew deserted this morning.

We just have to get to Saigon.

Isn't there some other ship?

Not a thing. I'm sorry. Next.

Halfway around the world from Paris,

and now this happens.

There's nothing we can do about it.

Except pack and unpack. That's all

I've been doing now for a month.


At any rate, San Francisco will have

the honour of your company a while longer.

I'm from the Bulletin. These gentlemen

are from the Globe and the Post.

How do you do?

We're interested in your opinion

of this monster.

My opinion. Frankly, it's rather

low at the moment.

But, actually, gentlemen, I don't know

any more about it than you do.

Oh, Professor. Just a moment.


Professor, what does the National

Museum in Paris think about it?

I cannot answer that.

We heard this expedition of yours

was to gather facts about the monster.

I'm afraid you were misinformed.

My reasons for going to the Orient

are purely scientific,

if I ever get there.

Professor, doesn't the giant narwhal

reach a length of 80 feet?

Why don't you ask a fish?

If we could go deep enough,

we'd all be surprised

at the creatures down there.

Could such a creature

destroy a ship or drag it under?

Well, it might

if it were big enough.

Don't you print that.

Please be careful, Professor.

Well, gentlemen,

I shall prepare a statement later.

You do not deny then that such

a monster could exist. Is that correct?

- I'm not denying anything.

- Are you sure?

- What are you drawing?

- A sketch of the monster.

Thank you, Professor.

- Good day.

- Good day, sir.

Now put the wings on it.

Look what they've done to me.

I made no such claims as this.

- Look at this drawing.

- I knew it.

"Living horrors of the deep

were described today

"by Professor Arronax

of the Paris National Museum."

Why, this is the most

far-fetched nonsense yet.


I think the proportions

are about right on the monster.

You're not serious, Professor.

I don't mean flying off

with a ship in its mouth.

But the general size...

Come to think of it,

it is a rather interesting conception.

Excuse me. Professor Arronax?

No more reporters.

You've done damage enough.

Professor's very busy now.

I'm not a reporter.

I represent the United States government.

United States government?

May I come in?

- May he come in?

- Of course, sir.

- Please do come in, Mr. Howard.

- Thank you.

I'll be brief, Professor.

I understand your destination is

the Orient, and you've been delayed.

What if we could get you there,

but by a roundabout route,

a cruise of three or four months

through the South Seas?

- Would you accept?

- I would be interested, yes, naturally.

Sit down.

Thank you.

I can see no reason

why you and your apprentice

shouldn't consider yourselves

guests of the U.S. Government

until we can set you ashore at Saigon.

May I ask why have you honoured

the professor this way?

The honour is ours.

As the foremost authority on the sea,

you can be an excellent observer.

Your observations will

influence public opinion.

We can either confirm

or deny certain rumours.

I knew it.

It concerns the monster.

- Is that true?

- Very much so.

According to the papers,

you seem to believe the rumours.

No. The professor's been

misquoted outrageously.

Yes, I'm afraid I was misquoted.

However, I have an open mind

on the subject.

All the better.

Your reports would be unbiased.

You see, other nations, besides ours,

are forming expeditions.

But I'd like to think

ours has the advantage,

if for no other reason than

you might consent to join us.

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Earl Felton

Earl Felton (1909–1972) was an American screenwriter.He was a regular collaborator with Richard Fleischer, who later wrote that "Earl was crippled from childhood with polio. He had no use of his legs, but he navigated beautifully with a crutch and cane... Earl normally hated anybody [helping]... him and would sometimes lay about him with his cane."Fleischer added that "in spite of his lifeless legs and total reliance of a crutch and cane to get around, Felton was much given to self-indulgences and debaucheries." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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