The 1916 version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was a landmark in special effects in its day, but 90 years on it's a mere historical curiosity. It's not that it's particularly bad, more that it's very flatly directed even for its day and the passage of time has dealt it some particularly low blows. Although in the first draft of the novel Nemo was clearly identified as a Pole waging a private war with Russia before Verne's publishers and the French censors objected, the film goes off on its own to make him a wronged Indian Prince (Allen Holubar) with a penchant for wearing Santa Claus suits: the fact that his crew alternately seem to be dressed as elves or pastry chefs does not help matters much. Then there's his long-lost daughter, introduced as a `child of nature' skipping and dancing through the jungle in so insipid a manner that she even scares off the cheetahs. Looking like a cross between a young Bette Midler playing Elmo Lincoln in blackface and Spike Milligan playing Little Eva while being poked with a cattle prod, Jane Gail's performance is every negative clich? about silent movie acting incarnate. Little of Verne's episodic plot remains: having introduced Professor Aronnax and Ned Land, the hunting trip aside, the film promptly ignores them for the rest of its running time in favor of a plot drawn loosely from Verne's other Nemo novel, Mysterious Island. Still, it's watchable enough even if it doesn't give Richard Fleischer's 1954 version much of a run for its money.