Master of the World

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.

In 1848, a fanatical inventor seeks to fly around the world and stop war from his flying airship (the "Albatross")...a cross between a zeppelin and a helicopter. (via Hulu)

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.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes… on Hulu!

Ladies and gentlemen, the weekend has descended upon us once again! I hope it finds you enjoyably awash in free time.

While I was scouring Hulu last week for The Island of Doctor Moreau film, I came upon a wonderful collection of TV episodes of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes from 1954-1955 staring Ronald Howard as Sherlock Holmes, and Howard Marion-Crawford as Dr. Watson.

These episodes, just like The Island of Doctor Moreau, take considerable liberties with the source material by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But they are at the very least entertaining and engaging.

A working understanding of Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work is important for every self respecting Steampunk not because of any strong influence on Steampunk, but rather because Holmes embodies so much of the deviant thinking in which we Steampunks take pride. Steampunks look at the seemingly impossible fusion between Victoriana and the modern world and meld it into a natural and simple conclusion in the shape of a sub-culture. It takes a broad mind with a palette for contradictions to enjoy a sub-culture that promotes an artistic turn back to Victorian times while simultaneously engendering themes of rebellion and belief in human potential.

It also helps the aspiring Steampunk to have a respectable knowledge of oft-cited literature in communication with other Steampunks, and one can be sure that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective will not be omitted from all conversations!

So watch an episode or two! These should help ease the wait for the new Sherlock Holmes film to come out on DVD on March 30!