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Mysterious Island [DVD] [1961]

Michael Craig , Joan Greenwood , Cy Endfield    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
Price: 5.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Mysterious Island [DVD] [1961] + 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea [DVD] [1954]
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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Craig, Joan Greenwood, Michael Callan, Gary Merrill, Herbert Lom
  • Directors: Cy Endfield
  • Writers: Crane Wilbur, Daniel B. Ullman, John Prebble, Jules Verne
  • Producers: Charles H. Schneer
  • Format: Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Greek, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Dec 2002
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000071WJ1
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,568 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Notable neither for its director nor its stars, Mysterious Island has been given the widescreen DVD treatment rather because of its special-effects man, the legendary Ray Harryhausen. And though his input here is minimal compared with other movies, his stop-motion contributions add zest to a cracking good yarn. A gang of American Civil War soldiers hijack a hot-air balloon and escape from the frying-pan of a military prison to the fire of a deserted tropical island. When a couple of English girls are washed ashore and a legendary nautical figure resurfaces, the scene is set for a ripping survival adventure, taking in weighty theories of political democracy, equality and cowardice, and still managing to add a healthy dollop of stirring music, dodgy accents, old-fashioned sexism, pirates, giant bees, a giant crab and a fearsome, err, giant chicken.

Harryhausen's eighth feature contains all the elements that make his movies great, and the pacey script, based on the Jules Verne novel, has you gripped from the off. One of his more modern-feeling early films, the colour film stock, the exotic settings and wider stable of stars (black and English actors feature alongside a pre-Clouseau Herbert Lom) move it forward an era from his dated black-and-white schlock-fests. Gripping, erudite and easily on a par with the more well-known Sinbad and Argonauts movies, this is one to be marooned with.

On the DVD: Mysterious Island's colour picture is bright, clean and crisp in this anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, and the Dolby digital mono soundtrack is clear enough. The theatrical trailer will please the kitsch fans, as will the featurette "This Is Dynamation" produced at the same time as the first Sinbad movie. The real corker here though is the generously lengthy documentary "The Harryhausen Chronicles". Narrated by Leonard Nimoy, it features a stellar cast of devotees (George Lucas among them) waxing lyrical about the influence of Harryhausen's films, and allows the man himself to ramble fascinatingly over clips of his filmic canon. If you're a fan, it's Harryhausen heaven. --Paul Eisinger

Product Description

Ray Harryhausen's adaptation of Jules Verne's sequel to '2000 Leagues Under the Sea'. During the American Civil War a group of captured soldiers make a daring air balloon escape, only to end up on a strange island where they meet two shipwrecked English ladies and are harassed by giant animals and birds. Includes out-sized chickens, crabs, and bees, as well as a late appearance from the one-and-only Captain Nemo.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun ! 22 May 2004
This 1961 picture was a box office hit not only because of his special effects but most of all because it's great fun.
Loosly adapted from Jules Vernes Book, this picture offers one hour and a half of fantasy and entertainment that will appeal to everyone that's young at heart.
With a classic Bernard Herman score, great color photography and sequences like the one of the giant Crab this is truly a classic 60ths adventure film!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant Ray Harryhausen classic 12 Jan 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Any fan of Ray Harryhausen should have this DVD in their collection. Although probably overshadowed by his other films like "Jason and the argonauts" and therefore not as well know, "Mysterious Island" offers the viewer with more excellent special effects - especially as it was filmed in colour. Ray Harryhausen brings to life a giant crab ,a pre-historic bird and bees in this Jules Verne story. The final part of the film is excellent where the shipwrecked survivors dressed in bizarre diving equipment help Captain Nemo destroy a giant gastropod kind of monster and try and save the "Nautilus" submarine. Great fun!!! - They dont make Sci fi / fantasy like this anymore - sadly its all computer generated images now. Ray Harryhausen's models were the best. There is a very interesting extra on the DVD all about Ray Harryhausen's life and films over the years which is narrated by Leonard Nimoy - of "StarTrek" fame.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joan Greenwood and Ray Harryhausen: Great! 19 Aug 2007
This is a nice, satisfying telling of the Verne story, with special effects by Ray Harryhausen and a good score by Bernard Herrman. Escapees from a Civil War prison camp are blown way off course in a balloon they stole. They find themselves on an apparently deserted island somewhere in the Pacific, are joined by two women who were shipwrecked, and eventually come face-to-face with Captain Nemo and the wrecked Nautilus.

They have to deal with pirates, an erupting volcano and Harryhausen's creature threats. These include very large versions of a hungry red crab, an aggressive chicken, a bee and an unhappy squid. Some of the creatures turn out to be very good boiled or roasted.

The movie holds up well because of a strong story, good action, and fairly well-defined characters. It features Herbert Lom, in my view an under-rated actor, and Joan Greenwood. By this time Greenwood was taking character parts and doing a lot of stage work. But from the mid-Forties to the mid-Fifties she was, I think, one of the sexiest, smartest and funniest star actors Britain has ever produced. Her plummy, smoky voice is inimitable. She is coy and slightly lascivious in Kind Hearts and Coronets, sexy and brave in The Man in the White Suit.

The DVD transfer is just fine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Wayne Klein VINE VOICE
Although there are some script problems with Ray Harryhausen's "Mysterious Island" (directed by TV and film veteran Cy Endfield)the film holds up remarkably well as an adventure and features some truly memorable visual effects from Harryhausen. The film holds up well due to appealing performances by a group of strong character actors including the marvelous Herbert Lom, Harryhausen's top notch visual effects and Endfield's sympathetic direction. As with previous films Harryhausen and producer Charles H. Schneer worked with a good source (Jules Verne's novel)and crafted the film to meet their needs choosing a director who was capable of working with the material without making it his own.

The previous DVD put out by Sony (which I also have) doesn't look anywhere near as good as this restoration done by Sony and licensed by Twilight Time as a limited edition release. The previous version looked decent on DVD but this restoration improves the film. Colors look bolder without overwhelming the presentation or looking "artifical" and the film is presented in the correct aspect ratio (1.66:1) which makes the visual compositions look better--the tops of heads aren't cut off like some home video presentations of the film and we're seeing the full image as intended.

The DTS lossless soundtrack for the film sounds marvelous nicely capturing Herrmann's larger-than-life score. Dialogue is crystal clear throughout.

The whole set like the Blu of Jason and the Argonauts [Blu-ray]is exceptional although the special features are limited what we do get is nice. Ultimately, it's about the movie and transfer and the fact that it looks and sounds as good as it does makes this essential.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun,but no classic 13 Oct 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This was fun to see again after so many years,but it was not as action-packed or as filled with the many wonderful Harryhausen creations as many of his other films.
If you are hoping for a Clash of The Titans-type of experience,this will disappoint you. An extra feature though that I highly recommend (worth the purchase price alone) is The Harryhausen Chronicles, a well researched and put together documentary on the interesting life of Ray Harryhausen,and the stories behind some of his creations. He seems to be such a nice,humble man,judging by this.Really a top quality extra feature.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Afrer watching blu rays like 'rio lobo' and others where the color is not corrected and they just sling it out on blu ray this is quite a treat. It shows what a blu ray of movie from five decades or more can look like if someone cares enough to blean it up. This is cleaned up. And it comes with a nice booklet. The movie is one of the line of really cool movies that Ray Harryhausen worked on. He did the effects and that's a cool type of stop motion animation mixed with larger models including giant crab claws that grab people. The story is from Jules Verne and it concerns Captain Nemo as he sets about to solve the worlds food crisis by enlarging animals in giants. It's a classic tale because Nemo just wants to be left alone really. The acting in this one is first rate as this was a A movie and you'd expect no less. Unfontunately this company only does limited runs on movies. Which means that this is more expensive than a normal blu ray these days. ALthough this price was normal back in 2006 , a reason that blu rays first had trouble selling! but they later learned their lesson and many are cheap these days. However this is remastered and awesome. The way I would want all older movies on blu ray to be treated. I paid about the same price for this from the distributer. So the seller on here is not gouging you at 40.00. Unlike 'fright night' which is also limited but they are trying to sell it to you for 124.00. I love movies , old ones and new and this fits in well with my Ray Harryhausen boxset and jason and the argonauts' which looks great on blu. Sadly "clash of the titans' looks not so good on blu , but it's better than the dvd version. So if you love Ray or these old fantasy movies , you may want to grab this one in spite of the price. every movie should look as great as this does on blu. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great
This is a good film to add to your collection which you can watch over and over again. I would highly recommend it to you.
Published 16 days ago by MERLIN
5.0 out of 5 stars Film
Good film if you like the older movies came in good condition would tell friends about it give it five star because it a good film
Published 2 months ago by cheryl trigg
4.0 out of 5 stars ken dvd1
one of the best dvds i have ever bought- the father in law loves this dvd so it means less grief for me
Published 5 months ago by saintokell
4.0 out of 5 stars good delivery arrived on time
good film colour was a bit dull in places overall I like trouble with the sound a ok nice
Published 6 months ago by paul taws
4.0 out of 5 stars Harryhausen captivates
Although lacking the stature of James Mason, Herbert Lom makes a dignified Captain Nemo, seeking to solve world hunger by growing huge creatures. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Robert Beard
5.0 out of 5 stars love it
Wanted this for ages. rememebered this 1 from childhood quick post & well packed new item as stated thank you
Published 11 months ago by dusty
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC FILM
FANTASTIC BOOK good authour and story, I am not a critic. what do you want an essay.i have got 55 of these to write and dont have time for all this.
Published 13 months ago by Heide Grant
3.0 out of 5 stars Son loved it
Bought this after seeing it and remembering from my childhood.Not quite sure it stands the test of time as some other Classics!But still enjoyable and son loved it.
Published 14 months ago by Marama
1.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious Island
Boring. I was expecting it to be more like Mysterious Island 2. I watched it for half an hour and then changed to another film
Published 15 months ago by Bracon
4.0 out of 5 stars DVD Purchase
I grew up when these films were being shown on tv & I became a big fan
It is still as enjoyable now as when I saw it many years ago
Thank you
Published 17 months ago by Mart
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