The Mysterious Island (1929) is a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film directed by Lucien Hubbard, a film adaptation of Jules Verne's novel L'Île mystérieuse (The Mysterious Island), published in 1874. The film was released as an all-Technicolor, feature film with talking sequences, sound effects, and synchronized music.
Jane Daly (Jacqueline Gadsden) prepared for a scene in The Mysterious Island
According to an article in the original Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, production was actually started in 1926. There were various problems, including weather and the advent of talkies, which slowed/halted production several times before the film was finally completed and released three years later. The article included stills showing the original 1926 undersea denizens and the redesigned version which actually appeared in the film. Footage shot by Maurice Tourneur and Benjamin Christensen in 1927 was incorporated into the final 1929 version.
The film is loosely based on the back-story given for Captain Nemo in the novel The Mysterious Island, and might more properly be thought of as a prequel to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea but for the fact that the man who would be Nemo dies in this film's finale. It is the story of Count Dakkar (Captain Nemo's real name is revealed to be Prince Dakkar in The Mysterious Island), how he built his submarine, how he was betrayed, and how he became an outcast seeking revenge.
- Lionel Barrymore as Count Dakkar
- Jacqueline Gadsden as Sonia Dakkar (credited as Jane Daly)
- Lloyd Hughes as Nikolai Roget
- Montagu Love as Falon
- Harry Gribbon as Mikhail
- Snitz Edwards as Anton
- Gibson Gowland as Dmitry
- Pauline Starke
- Karl Dane
- Robert McKim (uncredited; appears in footage shot in 1927, the year that he died)
Until recently only one reel with a color sequence was thought to have survived, which is part of the UCLA Film and Television Archive. The complete film exists in a black-and-white copy apparently made in the 1950s for television showings, though it remained uncut and intact as released in 1929.
Film historians long believed no color print of the film had survived - until 2013 when experts in the US discovered that such a copy had been preserved in the Czech National Archive.
Deborah Stoiber from the George Eastman House film archive recently visited Prague to present a film from their own collection – and to examine the sole existing copy of The Mysterious Island. The US film experts now hope that in cooperation with the Czech National Film Archive, they will be able to restore the color print of The Mysterious Island, and eventually show it to audiences in the United States and elsewhere.