CAPTAIN NEMO AND THE UNDERWATER CITY—-bum-budget kiddie fantasy matinée finds a group of shipwreck survivors taken in by the title officer and given a tour of his fabulous (ha!) underground address. Chintzy sets, bargain basement costumes that belong in a disco, windy dialog, zip-nada suspense. “Even Utopia has its hazards.”
Robert Ryan (grabbing a quick paycheck) was such a fine actor that he could still emerge from submerged baloney like this with some dignity, but it is not one of the films he’s remembered for (on the other end of the spectrum, he appeared that same year in The Wild Bunch). A trial for grownups and a letdown for children—where are the monsters? There is one, sort of, but the special effects make it into something less scary than you and three friends could put together with a hose, two-by-fours and a throw rug.
Somebody’s $1,500,000 arranged for participation from Chuck Connors, Nanette Newman, Luciana Paluzzi, John Turner, Bill Fraser and Allan Cuthbertson. Shot partially in Malta, directed by James Hill, released in 1969, sinking in 105 minutes. With apologies to the memory of Robert Ryan, do stick with the Nemo’s of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (James Mason) and Mysterious Island (Herbert Lom).