L'aventure le L'ocean L'fantasmo, Le (1911)
Genre: Sci-Fi Drama Comedy
Plot Outline: Scientists journey to the bottom of the ocean. (more) (view trailer)
User Comments: As boring and cheap-looking as the day it was made almost 100 years ago. (more)
|Andre Louise Dominique Lorraine III||....||Mer King|
|Michelle Contreau||....||Mer Maid|
|Le Turbido||....||Colored #2|
|Donny "Fat Flaps" Bronson||....||Fatso|
Also Known As: Adventure to the Ocean Nethers (USA)
Runtime: France/USA: 24 min
Sound Mix: None
- A submarine cannot dive deep enough to emerge, via underwater tunnel, in a kitchen sink.(more)
Veronica: Pierre, this under water world is so strange and terrible.
Pierre: Man must explore places such as these we find here so that we can plumb the depths of our own spirit and know the barbarism of the woodland lynx, the ocean kraken or the jazz muscian. These are the depths to which we all might succumb if we are deprived of education and society. Now, let us quit this forbidden underwater land and leave it to these casks of black powder to erase it from our memory. (more)
- Lead actress Aloise Marceu so inflamed the lust of crew members that director Jean-Phillipe Goddard brought boxes of sandwiches to the set each day seasoned with a mustard made from salt peter. This is commonly believed to be the origin of craft services on movie sets.
- A first attempt at creating the frolicking mermaids ended with nearly two dozen bottle nosed dolphins sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic with bronze human torsos strapped over their heads. After a second attempt with painted meat and dolphins sent nearby sharks into a frenzy, Jean-Phillipe Goddard chose to eliminate the dolphins and relied upon wooden puppets towed behind fast steam ships.
- Government officials in the United States lobbied to have the timpani removed from the live orchestral accompaniment because, as Senator Owen Augustus wrote, "the dreadful blurt of the timpani when intertwined with the fearsome arms of the Octi-pod is too terrible to countenance by God or state." An Amendment to the Constitution banning the timpani from picture shows was narrowly defeated by the pro-drum bloc within the Republican party.
- Director Trademark: Electric lighting.
- The whaling harpoon used to kill the Great Sea Ape was identical to the harpoon Teddy Roosevelt used to kill the last Spaniard, leading many to believe that the film was intended as a metaphor for the Spanish-American War.
- Screenwriter Steven Verne, an accomplished author known in Paris as "L'fantastique D'author," confessed on his deathbed that he could neither read nor write. He attributed the creation of his books and screenplays to "perplexing whimsy."
- Fearful of damage to his expensive self-winding cinematograph, camera operator Louise Doitot suggested tying weights to the feet of convicted debtors, sinking them into the ocean and constructing a device to project their dying memories from recovered brain tissue. Doitot went so far as to construct an elaborate brass Memetoscope driven by clockwork, but Jean-Phillipe Goddard considered the concept "an utter grotesque" and instead sunk diving bells with hand-cranked cameras operated by Chinamen into deep ocean trenches. Several actually survived, providing Goddard with his incredible deep sea footage.
- Lead actor Jacque Leone was crushed by a laundry press and badly mauled during the second day of shooting. In an attempt to replace Jacque while he convalesced, director Jean-Phillipe Goddard attached stuffed straw arms and a plaster face to a horse. Unfortunately, the costumed horse continually ate its own arms, refused to board the submarine set and kicked through the wall of an asylum, allowing several lunatic killers to escape. Subsequent attempts to construct a miniature set and place prosthetics on a cricket also failed. Shooting was halted for several weeks.
- Famous English fatbody performer Donny "Fat Flaps" Bronson, renowned for his nineteen egg act throughout West Bollockston and surrounding shires, was enticed to appear in the movie when screenwriter Steve Verne promised to base a book of the fantastic around Bronson's ability to swallow a ten stone cheddar log.
- The poorly understood effects of deep sea pressure were Steve Verne's inspiration for the scene in which two colored stowaways are shrunk to the size of peas and forced to do battle with a crab.
- A nearly complete original copy of the film was found inside a paint can stuck in the stomach of a leopard at the Paris Zoo in 1983. The movie was restored, colorized and re-released in 1986 with the orchestral score replaced by an original soundtrack from smash hit pop sensation Toto.
- Director Trademark: Rain.
- Cameo: [Sir Winston Churchill] appears as the military officer who is seen breaking out windows in the science lab with the heel of a woman's shoe.
- The film industry was scandalized only days before the American release of "Le L'aventure le L'ocean L'fantasmo" when Donny "Fat Flaps" Bronson was found in his New York City hotel room passed out drunk next to the dead body of actress Lucy Piper. Papers screamed that the Caligulan Bronson had crushed the woman to death while raping her. Further stories surfaced claiming Bronson hired mule teams to trample Piper while he defecated on her face. A 1912 New York Times headline read "Bronson Whiz Caper Stuns Staggering Drunk Irish" and the Washington Post accused Bronson of "feeding Araby serpents into the poor waif's blessed entrance." Bronson was convicted of "loathsomely fat murdercide" and hanged from the Brooklyn Bridge, which was said to have nearly given up from the weight of the killer. Later evidence exonerated Bronson, proving that he had drank sixteen pints of clarified butter and was pulmonarily incapable of mounting the frail Miss Piper.
- The majority of filming was conducted in the small French town of Petite Ville. The mayor of the town was paid eight copper coins to allow the crew to douse all structures in goose fat to simulate the slippery otherworldly texture writer Steve Verne believed existed at the bottom of the ocean. The town was renamed to Ville de Loup only a month after filming was completed when thousands of dire wolves descended on the hamlet and ate all of the buildings.
- Director Trademark: Credits.
- The film's French premiere was held within a crude submarine and featured a sumptuous feast with a menu including herb crusted dolphins trained to read their own ingredients in English while being cooked alive and the world's last remaining specimen of the Great Sea Ape.
- More men died constructing the Great Tower of Poseidon, which was edited from the film's theatrical release, than died building the Panama Canal.
- The character of King Arthur was cut from the film at the last minute and inserted into another film about knights.
- Conservative American audiences were offended by lead actor Jacque Leone's lack of a mustache. One critic condemned the film's "prurient parade of [Leone's] stark upper lip" as French liberalism "certain to incite [America's] womenfolk to suffrage most foul."
- Features the largest number of zeppelins in any movie until director Jean-Phillipe Goddard's "Zeppelin Menace" (1912). Adapted from a short-story by Steve Verne, "Zeppelin Menace" foretold a dark future in which the German Kaiser develops a ray that can transform men into mad zeppelins.
- The tears of the octopus seen near the end of the film were induced by rubbing lye in the poor beast's eyes.
- The still-stunning finale, in which the ocean floor is destroyed with a cask of black powder, was achieved by blowing up the French Ocean with several million tons of dynamite. Belgium now stands in place of the French Ocean.