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Mysterious Island (serial)
Mysterious Island
Mysterious Island (serial).jpg
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Produced by Sam Katzman
Written by Screenplay:
Lewis Clay
Royal K. Cole
George H. Plympton
Based on The Mysterious Island
by Jules Verne
Starring Richard Crane
Marshall Reed
Karen Randle
Ralph Hodges
Music by Mischa Bakaleinikoff (musical director)
Gerard Carbonara
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
(uncredited)
Cinematography William Whitley
Edited by Earl Turner
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
August 23, 1951
Running time
15 chapters (252 minutes)
Country United States
Language English

Mysterious Island is the 46th serial released by Columbia Pictures. It is an adaptation of the 1874 novel by Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island (L'Île mystérieuse). As in the original story, which was a follow-up to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, this serial is set in 1865. However, the serial has alien Mercurians as an additional set of villains and it has been labelled as a space opera version of the Verne novel.

Plot

During the siege of Richmond, Virginia, in the American Civil War, POW Capt. Cyrus Harding escapes from his Confederate captors in a rather unusual way – by hijacking an observation balloon. In his escape, Harding is accompanied by sailor Pencroft, his nephew Bert, writer Gideon, loyal soldier Neb, and a dog. A hurricane blows the balloon off course, and the group eventually crash-lands on a cliff-bound, volcanic, uncharted (and fictitious) island, located in the South Pacific, with very unusual inhabitants. They name it "Lincoln Island" in honour of American President Abraham Lincoln. With the knowledge of the brilliant engineer, the five are able to sustain themselves on the island, producing fire, pottery, bricks, nitroglycerine, iron, a simple electric telegraph, and even a seaworthy ship. They also manage to find their geographical location.

The castaways soon encounter a group of people that include the local natives (who worship the island's volcano), Rulu (a woman from Mercury trying to extract an unnamed superexplosive element in order to conquer the Earth), Ayrton (a wild man exiled on the island) and Captain Shard (a ruthless pirate). A mystery man, who possesses great scientific powers, also makes his presence known to the group of people; he is Captain Nemo, who survived the whirlpool in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and unlike the character in the Disney film, was not fatally wounded by military troops from warships. On the way, our quintet of heroes must battle the elements and peoples while trying to figure out a way off the island and back to civilization.


Cast

Richard Crane as Capt. Cyrus Harding
Marshall Reed as Jack Pencroft
Karen Randle as Rulu of Mercury
Ralph Hodges as Herbert 'Bert' Brown
Gene Roth as Pirate Capt. Shard
Hugh Prosser as Gideon Spillett
Leonard Penn as Captain Nemo
Terry Frost as Ayrton (the wild man)
Rusty Wescoatt as Moley
Bernard Hamilton as Neb
William Fawcett as Mr. Jackson
George Robotham as Mercurian
Anthony Ross as Confederate lieutenant
Sid Ross as Mercurian
Pierre Watkin as Southern officer

Production

Costumes from earlier serials, belonging to the Western Costume Company, were recycled for Mysterious Island. The Mercurian soldiers wear shirts from Flash Gordon and masks from The Spider's Web.[1]
Critical reception

Harmon and Glut were largely positive about this serial: "Although fantastic beyond credibility, Mysterious Island actually contained more elements from the original source than most such adaptations of the sound era."


Chapter Titles

Lost in Space
Sinister Savages
Savage Justice
Wild Man at Large
Trail of the Mystery Man
The Pirates Attack
Menace of the Mercurians
Between Two Fires
Shrine of the Silver Bird
Fighting Fury
Desperate Chances
Mystery of the Mine
Jungle Deadfall
Men from Tomorrow
The Last of the Mysterious Island