To early filmmakers, Jules Verne was not only a legend but also a contemporary author of international repute. The author’s own stage versions of Around the World in Eighty Days, The Children of Captain Grant, and Michael Strogoff had been immediately translated for the English-language theater, and an assortment of other playwrights composed their own unauthorized versions. Hence, Verne was familiar to both readers and theater-going audiences, and the first films made from his stories drew on their respective stage background. By 1916, modern special effects (as opposed to Georges Méliès’s trick films) began to emerge with the first blockbuster fiction film to utilize undersea photography, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, an adaptation of two Verne novels that was also timely because of the submarine warfare of World War I.
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