The gloriously larger-than-life Czech fantasy Vynalez Zkaky (Weapons of Destruction) was based on a novel by Jules Verne. Set during the 19th century Industrial Revolution, the film concerns the efforts of the villainous Count Artigas (Miloslav Holub) to conquer the world with the aid of futuristic inventions created by kidnapped scientist Professor Thomas (Arnost Navratil). Having fallen in love with the professor's virtuous, resourceful daughter Jeanne (Jana Zatloukalova), stalwart hero Simon (Lubor Tokos) does his best to sabotage Artigas' schemes. Props essential to the action include a fished-shaped submarine, bicycle-style undersea shuttlecraft, and an impossibly huge cannon, secreted on a volcanic island. Curiously, when Vynalez Zkaky was unveiled to the world at the 1958 Brussels Film Festival, reviewers downplayed its most striking visual aspect: throughout the film, the art direction and special effects are brilliantly rendered in the style of 19th century engravings and woodcuts. In 1961, an English-dubbed version of Vynalez Zkaky, with character names changed and a few minutes' footage excised, was released in the US as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne.
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