Friday, 21 September 2007

Captain No-one

Having gone a little Nemo crazy this week at WWS(and there is nothing wrong with that!), I thought it would be interesting to think about the man more in depth.

Captain Nemo is a unique and interesting character who was left deliberately vague in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Thus, he has been represented in different ways by those who wish to depict the genius behind the Nautilus.

One of the major differences are the portrayals of his heritage. Some depictions are European, others more Indian. Recently, I found this explanation on wiki, which was interesting:

"In the initial draft of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Nemo was a Polish noble vengeful because of the murder of his family during the Russian repression of the Polish insurrection of 1863-1864. Verne's editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel feared a book ban in the Russian market and offending a French ally, the Russian Empire. He made Verne obscure Nemo's motivation in the first book. However, Nemo reveals an Indian ancestry in a scene where he saves a South Indian fisherman while on a scuba dive.

It is in the sequel that Nemo presents himself as Prince Dakkar, the Hindu son of the Rajah of Bundelkund and nephew of Tippoo Sahib, having a deep hatred of the British conquest of India. After the Sepoy mutiny, he devotes himself to scientific research and develops an advanced electric submarine, the Nautilus. He and a crew of his followers cruise the seas, battling injustice, especially slavery. The gold of Spanish ships sunk at the Bay of Vigo provided them with money."

You can read the chapter detailing Nemo's life online here:

This Indian theme was continued in both the comic and movie of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlmen", in which the Captain's death at Mysterious Island was faked in order to disperse international interest in him. Then he went to work in secret with Her Majesty's Government.

Captain Nemo was also portrayed in a self-titled Japanese Manga series, but this time back as a European.

Kevin Anderson has written two books on the adventures of a young Nemo in company with a young French gentlemen named Mssr Verne.

Read a review of the first book here:

According to wikpedia, Nemo has been portrayed in film and TV by the following actors:

James Mason played Captain Nemo in the Walt Disney film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). His is the most famous portrayal.
Herbert Lom played Captain Nemo in Mysterious Island (1961)
Robert Ryan played Captain Nemo in Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969)
Omar Sharif played Captain Nemo in La Isla misteriosa y el capitán Nemo (1973)
Len Carlson played Captain Mark Nemo in the very loosely connected animated series The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo in the mid-1970s.
José Ferrer played Captain Nemo in the TV movie and short lived TV-series The Return of Captain Nemo (1978)
John Bach played Captain Nemo in the TV series Mysterious Island (1995)
Michael Caine played Captain Nemo in the ABC-TV miniseries 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997)
Ben Cross played Captain Nemo in the NBC-TV movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997)
Naseeruddin Shah played Captain Nemo (unmistakably as an Indian Lord) in the film adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Patrick Stewart played Captain Nemo in the TV movie Mysterious Island (2005)

Finally, there is a great set of Captain Nemo links here:


Don M said...

I really liked Naseeruddin Shah's portrayal and would love to see a spin off film with this actor broadening his role as Nemo.

Tas said...

There was some chatting at TMP about this:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link but chilembwe. net has been purchased by spammers the correct link is now

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!