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Mysterious Island (serial): Wikis


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Mysterious Island
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennett
Produced by Sam Katzman
Written by Lewis Clay
Royal K. Cole
George H. Plympton (screenplay) Based in the novel L'Île mystérieuse, written by Jules Verne.
Starring Richard Crane
Marshall Reed
Karen Randle
Ralph Hodges
Music by Mischa Bakaleinikoff (musical director)
Gerard Carbonara
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (stock music composers/uncredited)
Cinematography William Whitley - B&W
Editing by Earl Turner
Distributed by United States Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) United States August 23, 1951
Running time 15 chapters (252 min)
Country  USA
Language English
Preceded by Roar of the Iron Horse
Followed by Captain Video

Mysterious Island (1951) was 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.[1][2]


Plot summary

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 sea-worthy 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. 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.

This Mysterious Island free version is notable, despite it does not seem that the story is taking place in the 1860s . In addition to Captain Nemo appearing on the scene (as in the novel), space travelers from the planet Mercury, and (then) contemporary situations, also show up to complicate the plot.


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 Capt. 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


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."[1]

Chapter titles

  1. Lost in Space
  2. Sinister Savages
  3. Savage Justice
  4. Wild Man at Large
  5. Trail of the Mystery Man
  6. The Pirates Attack
  7. Menace of the Mercurians
  8. Between Two Fires
  9. Shrine of the Silver Bird
  10. Fighting Fury
  11. Desperate Chances
  12. Mystery of the Mine
  13. Jungle Deadfall
  14. Men from Tomorrow
  15. The Last of the Mysterious Island


See also


  1. ^ a b c Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut. "13. The Classics "You Say 'What Dost Thou Mean By That?' and Push Him Off the Cliff"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 332–336. ISBN 9780713000979.  
  2. ^ Cline, William C.. "2. In Search of Ammunition". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc.. pp. 11. ISBN 078640471X.  
  3. ^ Cline, William C.. "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc.. pp. 252. ISBN 078640471X.  

External links

Preceded by
Roar of the Iron Horse (1951)
Columbia Serial
Mysterious Island (1951)
Succeeded by
Captain Video (1951)


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