Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


From 1916, this silent film from George and Ernest Williamson's Williamson's Submarine Film Corporation utilizes the brothers' under-the-ocean photography to produce "The First Submarine Photoplay Ever Filmed."

The film's director, Stuart Paton (who sometimes used the name Stuart Payton), was also the anonymous writer of the movie, which conflated Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island and took a few liberties with both.  Paton began directing short films in 1914, also writing a number of scenarios.  His first full-length film (Courtmartialed) was released in 1915.  From 1915 through 1937 Paton directed 53 full-length movies.  He also served an uncredited producer for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Allen Holubar starred as the tortured Captain Nemo.  Holubar was a prominent dramatic actor when he gave up the stage for a brief movie career, spanning from 1913 through 1917, when he gave up acting to form his own production company.  He died in 1923 at the shockingly young age of 35 from complications following gallstone surgery.

Professor Aronnax, who started out as one of Nemo's prisoners, was played by Dan Hanlon, who made only three films -- all in 1916, with this as his final film.  Not much is known about him.  He died in 1951, age 85.

The rough and ready whaler Ned Land was played by Curtis Benton, who appeared in fourteen silent shorts and four full-length movies from 1915 through 1917; Benton then concentrated on screenwriting and was credited with nineteen films through 1929.  Benton restarted his acting caree in 1931 appearing in thirteen films  -- all as one kind or another of announcer (radio, racetrack, car racing, flight radio, etc.) and all but two uncredited.  His last role was as an announcer in 1937's Kid Galahad.

I don't remember Professor Aronnax having a daughter on the Nautilus when I read the book, but she certainly is in this film.  The lovely and gamin-like Edna Pendleton filled the role of 1916 eye candy very well.  Not much is known about her, but she was probably twenty-nine when she made this film, the last of eight listed on IMDb.  She married in late 1915 and presumably gave up acting soon after.  If alive today (which I strongly doubt) she would be a respectable 130.

Join us now on a classic (under) sea adventure of revenge, discovery, and marvels as we silently follw Nemo and his wondrous adventure through the oceans' depths.

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