In this delightfully imaginative mix of live action and animation, pirates kidnap a professor to steal his formula for explosives and take over the world. Czech legend Karel Zeman brings his 19th-century Jules Verne tale to life as if it’s a book with engraved illustrations, using live sets, stop-motion, cel animation, matte backgrounds, and enough line patterns to rival a piece of Op Art. The tale stirs together Verne’s flights of fancy—including that wondrous submarine and a volcano hideout—with a droll sense of gallantry and derring-do. It’s also known as The Deadly Invention, but by any name, its playful details are best appreciated on the big screen.

“Picture-book wonders parade throughout this don't-miss 1958 live-action-meets-animation Czech lulu.” —The Village Voice

“A marvelous eyeful of trick effects, in a flowing succession of Verne backgrounds, props and ‘inventions’ . . . The picture is worth seeing for its technical wizardry alone (labeled MistiMation). It is a visual canvas that is part Dante, H. G. Wells and Mary Petty . . . A frisky, stylish fantasy—and a real tonic for tired eyes.”—The New York Times

  • Directed By Karel Zeman
  • 1958
  • Czechoslovakia
  • 35mm
  • 90 minutes