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The Albatross, movie version by ZFShadowSOLDIER The Albatross, movie version by ZFShadowSOLDIER
Long ago, Jules Verne wrote a story which was in a similar vein to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea... about a genius who invented a machine that defied the laws of nature, a "heavier than air" ship. The Genius: Robur, his ship: The Albatross, and the book: "Robur the Conquerer".

In 1961, a movie based on the book and it's sequel "Master of the World" was made, and aptly named "Master of the World". Starring Vincent Price as Robur, the story made changes about a story of a man showing how the Albatross can cross the world to a story of a man bent on saving the world by waging war on war itself.

The Original Albatross was designed much like a clipper ship whose sails were replaced with propeller blades, but this here is it's movie incarnation... on the outside similar to modern airships but inside she is much grander and lacking any kind of lifting device other than her myriad maze of propellers like her novel cousin.

I do not own the Albatross, Master of the World, and Robur the Conquerer.
Bruiser235 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Pretty nice. I saw this once when I was a kid. I'm reading the book now.
RD-DD1843 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2014

This long comment has spoilers in it.


The original novel (written in 1886) is "Robur the Conqueror", and is about Verne's view of how the "Albatross" (his "Clipper of the Clouds" in the title of the English/American edition) would be superior to the current belief in airships and balloons rather than heavier than air flight.  As usual Verne got his science prediction correct (though opting for helicopter propellors rather than forward positioned propellers.  But the original novel is hardly one of his best, despite the prediction.  Robur is supposed to be the aerial equivalent of Captain Nemo and his submarine, "the Nautilus".  But Nemo had a grudge to settle against the British (he was a Prince from India, who lost his wife and children when he fought the British in the Sepoy Revolt).  Robur has nothing but his ego.  He appears in Philadelphia to give a speech at a meeting of a society that favors lighter than air travel, and is booed and chased from the stage.  Two of the leaders of that club are kidnapped so that he can show them the superiority of his flying machine to what their society favors (by the way - this airship loving group in Philadelphia is similar to the Baltimore Gun Club in "From the Earth to the Moon", but less interesting).  Uncle Prudent (the character actor Henry Hull played in "Master of the World" and his fellow airship enthusiast are forced to travel around the globe on the Albatross (like Professor Arronax, Conseil, and Ned Land in "Twenty Thousand Leagues...") but manage to set off a bomb on board and escape.  They watch the Albatross fall into the Pacific.  However, they are wrong in thinking the craft and it's maker are gone.  When their club gives a public demonstration of the world's largest balloon in Philadelphia, Robur shows up in his repaired and improved Albatross, and a contest on how high each can rise ends with the balloon esplodiing and falling.  But Robur saves the crew (including Prudent and the other member who was kidnapped).  When he safely lands them Robur gives a speech telling the audience that the world will have to wait until the future for him to reveal his aviation secrets.  After he leaves, Verne says that Robur is the science of the future.


In 1904, a year prior to his own death, Verne published the sequel novel, "The Master of the World".  By this time Verne was far more pessamistic about what science could accomplish for mankind, and what it might do to threaten mankind.  Here everyone is on edge by reports of a remarkably fast boat on the high seas, a remarkably fast automobile on land, and something zooming across the skies.  A federal agent named John Strock (Charles Bronson in the film "The Master of the World") is sent to investigate, and is caught by Robur's men.  The inventor is now insane, and he calls his new wonder craft "The Terror" and is issuing demands to the nations of the world to surrender their power to him.  Strock manages to escape the Terror which is destroyed when Robur (calling himself "the Master of the World" sends it into a thunderstorm (get it-a bolt of lightning destroys it, so God is showing Robur who is really Master of the World). 


No female prisoners were in the two novels.  That was added to give Bronson and the second member of the aviation club in the film someone to fight over.


Because of the predictions on aviation (and on hybrid vehicles in the sequel novel) as well as Verne' philosophical musings about science of the future and if it is getting out of hand, the two books have an inflated position in Verne's collected works.  Some less known titles ("The Begum's Fortune" about the threat of German militarism, or "The Pursuit of the Meteor", about the power of gold on our lives and world) are far more interesting and better written.  Verne had a contract that committed him to turning out novels and books for the publisher Hetzel in Paris, and much of that writing (in retrospect) is quite second-rate.  Still The Robur novels were consolidated and added to, with the Vincent Price film as a result. 


One interesting point about the first novel, "Robur the Conqueror".  It begins with a duel on the U.S. / Canadian border (nobody is killed) where the cause is a tune heard by thousands of people around the globe coming from some unknown object in the sky.  The American says it is "Yankee Doodle", while the Canadian

(obviousl a English-Canadian) thinks it is "Rule Britannia".  This incident we are informed was one of many caused by those thousands of people who saw that unknown object in the sky. In fact one newspaper correspondent in the novel suggests it is an artificial sattllelite that was accidentally sent into orbit in "The Begum's Fortune".  It turns out that it is a trumpet that Robur has played each evening as a symbol when he is over land.  But the odd thing is that Verne was working on Robur in the late 1870s and early 1880s.  In 1896 (ten years after the publication of Robur) thousands of Americans from coast to coast claimed they saw a cigar shaped object flying across the skies against the wind, from San Francisco to the East Coast.  Apparently Verne predicted (without really planning to) what became the granddaddy of the U.F.O. sitings, "the airship of 1896-97". 

McTodd Featured By Owner May 2, 2013
That is ACE! Always loved the design of the Albatross in the movie (though the movie itself left a lot to be desired!).
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March 8, 2011
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