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Film / Invention for Destruction

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Invention for Destruction (Czech title: Vynález zkázy) is a 1958 Czechoslovak black-and-white science fiction adventure film, directed by Karel Zeman, produced by Zdeněk Novák, and starring Lubor Tokoš, Arnošt Navrátil, and Miloslav Holub. Based on several works by Jules Verne, primarily his 1896 novel Facing The Flag (with which the film shares its Czech title), the film evokes the original illustrations for Verne's works by combining live actors with various forms of animation.

The film was distributed in North America by Warner Bros. Pictures in 1961 and was dubbed into English and retitled The Fabulous World of Jules Verne.

An evil millionaire named Count Artigas plans to use a stolen super-explosive device to conquer the world from his headquarters inside an enormous volcano.


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  • Absent-Minded Professor: Prof. Roche, who is so wrapped up in his research into 'pure matter', that he fails to notice that his 'new patron' has actually abducted him and his holding him in a Volcano Lair and his weaponizing his research.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The Big Bad is Count Artigas; a megalomaniac who plans to use Prof. Roch's super-explosive to conquer the world.
  • Bedouin Rescue Service: Hart is trapped on the bottom of the sea when his diving suit runs out of oxygen, but is saved by the arrival of the reconnaissance sub from the World Fleet.
  • The Conqueror: The Big Bad is Count Artigas; a megalomaniac who plans to use Prof. Roch's super-explosive to conquer the world.
  • Dead Hat Shot: After the island is blown up by the Ridiculously Potent Explosive, evil aristocrat Count Artigas' top hat is sown floating on the ocean where the island used to be.
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  • Dub Name Change: When the film' first came to America as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne, the names of most of the cast and crew were Anglicized to disguise the film's Czech origin.
  • Explosive Stupidity: Jana lights a fire in a brazier on the gun deck of the ship next to a barrel of gunpowder so she can dry and iron her clothes. the pirate captain tells her off for her stupidity as he douses the brazier.
  • The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles: The alternative title The Fabulous World of Jules Verne.
  • Giant Squid: While inspecting the broken cable on the seafloor, Hart and his party are attacked by a giant octopus. The octopus kills the two pirates assigned to guard Hart, allowing him to sneak away to the tunnel.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: On learning that Count Artigas is planning to use his invention to conqueror the world, Prof. Roche detonates the shell containing the Ridiculously Potent Explosive: blowing up the island with himself, Count Atigas and all of Count Artigas' men on it.
  • Importation Expansion: Got a new introduction by television host Hugh Downs, of 20/20 and Concentration fame, when it came to America as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Hart is imprisoned in a small shack on an isolated spit of rock. However, Engineer Serke then has a full lab installed in it in an effort to persuade Hart to aid him. Hart uses the lab to macgyver a hot air balloon that he uses to send out a message to warn the outside world about Count Artigas and his plans of conquest.
  • Medium Blending: Combines live actors with all sorts of animation techniques to evoke the original illustrations in Jules Verne's books.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Hart and Jana ambush Count Artigas' two aeronauts and steal their uniforms, which include full face breathing masks, and use them to access the balloon and escape the Volcano Lair.
  • Ramming Always Works: Count Artigas' Submarine Pirates uses the stolen submarine to sink merchantmen by ramming them below the waterline so they sink, then sending out divers to kill the survivors and loot the ship.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: During the train trip, a passenger tries to shoot a bird out the window with a shotgun. After both barrels fail to fire, he sits back down, only for the gun to go off a second later; blowing a hole in the newspaper of the passenger sitting opposite.
  • Ridiculously Potent Explosive: Prof. Roche is kidnapped by Count Artigas because he is working on 'positive matter': an explosive so powerful tat a single hell can level an entire city.
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: The pirates working for Count Artigas sink merchantmen, kill the survivors, and loot the sunken ships.
  • Shout-Out: The close-up of the big cannons on the cruiser sent to search the count's ship was inspired by a similar shot of the battleship Potemkin in Sergei Eisenstein's masterpiece Battleship Potemkin.
  • Silent Running Mode: While attempting to sneak through the undersea tunnel into the Volcano Lair, the reconnaissance sub encounters the pirate submarine coming the other way. The commander orders the helmsman to cut all engines and allow the sub to sink to the bottom.
  • Submarine Pirates: Count Artigas uses the stolen submarine to sink merchantmen by ramming them below the waterline so they sink, then sending out divers to kill the survivors and loot the ship.
  • Threatening Shark: One of the Submarine Pirates is taken by a shark while looting the sunken merchantman in a diving suit.
  • Those Magnificent Flying Machines: Borrowing from multiple Jules Verne works, the film contains a wide range of fantastic Steampunk flying machines.
  • Volcano Lair: Count Artigas' lair is located in Black-Cup Island; an extinct volcano. His manufacturing processes cause a column of black smoke to rise from the caldera; making it look like the volcano is still active.

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