This evening, I have for your viewing entertainment, a film hosted by Hulu, Master of the World. It’s a film adaptation of two of Jules Verne’s last novels, Master of the World and Robur The Conqueror.
Made in 1961, this film does have some bad aspects to it, as well as some dated special effects, but it is an interesting look at Jules Verne that predates the concept of Steampunk by a good twenty five years or so. Plus, Vincent Price plays Captain Robur, the airship’s Captain, which certainly is a draw because Vincent Price is awesome (duh).
The film is about Captain Robur’s attempts to enforce peace around the world through his superior technology, claiming that he created the Albatross to wage war against war. He takes prisoners upon his craft so they can witness his efforts to force the nations of the world to lay down their weapons and embrace peace.
So if you are in the mood for a little retro film and can tolerate it’s dated shortcomings, low budget, and timeline inaccuracies, Master of the World is an excellent way to increase your exposure to proto-Steampunk works. Some of the ethics within the film are quite interesting and still have modern application, such as the question of if violence should be used to enforce peace. Its an interesting and complex idea, and Master of the World is just one of many attempts at an answer.