The 1954 classic ’20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ screens July 28
Director Allan Dwan’s career spanned from the early silent era in 1911 through 1961. He made more than 400 films including Douglas Fairbanks’ 1922 “Robin Hood” and 1929’s “The Iron Mask,” Shirley Temple’s 1937 melodrama “Heidi” and the John Wayne 1949 war film “Sands of Iwo Jima.” Called the “last pioneer” by Peter Bogdanovich, he’s the subject of an exhaustive book, “Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios” by Frederic Lombardi. The richly detailed study of Dwan coincides with the Museum of Modern Art’s upcoming retrospective of the director’s work. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
Warner Archive has just released three films starring Clark Gable that run the gamut from his earliest days at MGM to his final years at the studio. Gable, sans mustache, stars opposite Marion Davies in the 1932 drama “Polly of the Circus.” (He gets second billing to William Randolph Hearst’s mistress). The breezy 1949 romantic comedy “Key to the City” reteams the actor with Loretta Young, with whom he starred in 1935’s “The Call of the Wild.” The third new release is 1953’s “Never Let Me Go,” which was one of Gable’s last at the studio. He plays a correspondent in the Cold War romantic drama who is married to a Russian ballerina (Gene Tierney). Despite a weak script, Gable makes this melodrama worth watching. Pictured: Clark Gable in the 1940 movie “Boom Town.” (MGM)
One of George Lucas’ major influences for “Star Wars” was the classic movie serial “Flash Gordon,” starring Olympic swimming champion Larry “Buster” Crabbe in the title role. Alex Raymond’s sci-fi comic strip began in 1934 and two years later, Universal premiered “Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers,” a 13-part serial that introduced the intergalactic hero Flash, his girlfriend Dale Arden (Jean Rogers) and the dastardly Ming the Merciless (Charles B. Middleton). The series was so popular it spawned 1938’s “Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars” and 1940’s “Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe.” This Tuesday, Image is releasing all three on the DVD set, “The Complete Adventures of Flash Gordon.” (Bettman)
The American Cinematheque and the Art Directors Guild Film Society will honor famed production designer Harper Goff with a screening of the classic 1954 Walt Disney adventure “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” on July 28 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
The first sci-fi film produced by Walt Disney, this lavish adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel stars Kirk Douglas as a rakish harpoonist and James Mason as the infamous Captain Nemo. Peter Lorre and Paul Lukas also starred in the box-office hit directed by Richard Fleischer.
Goff, who was a 2013 Art Directors Guild Hall of Fame inductee, worked as a set designer for such films as 1935’s “Captain Blood” before joining Walt Disney Studios in the early 1950s. Among the highlights of his design for “20,000 Leagues” is Nemo’s submarine, the Nautilus.
He was named a Disney Legend after his death in 1993 at the age of 81.
Besides the film, the program will feature production designer Thomas A. Walsh presenting an overview of the film’s art direction; after the screening he will lead a discussion about Goff’s accomplishments with Marty Sklar, the Walt Disney company’s International Ambassador for Disney Imagineering; Tony Baxter, former senior vice president of creative development in Walt Disney Imagineering; Harrison Ellenshaw, the former head of Disney’s effects department and a matte/visual effects artist; and Stephen Berger, production and theme-part designer, art director and set designer who collaborated with Hoff on the submarine the Proteus for 1966’s “Fantastic Voyage.”
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