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Hollywood Presents Jules Verne: The Father of Science Fiction on Screen

by Brian Taves

Availablecloth$40.00s 978-0-8131-6112-9
Availableepub$40.00s 978-0-8131-6113-6
Availableweb pdf$40.00s 978-0-8131-6114-3
Screen Classics
370 pages  Pubdate: 05/26/2015  6 x 9  75 b&w photos

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Even for those who have never read Jules Verne (1828–1905), the author’s very name conjures visions of the submarine in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the epic race in Around the World in Eighty Days, the spacecraft in From the Earth to the Moon, and the daring descent in Journey to the Center of the Earth. One of the most widely translated authors of all time, Verne has inspired filmmakers since the early silent period and continues to fascinate audiences more than one hundred years after his works were first published. His riveting plots and vivid descriptions easily transform into compelling scripts and dramatic visual compositions.

In Hollywood Presents Jules Verne, Brian Taves investigates the indelible mark that the author has left on English-language cinema. Adaptations of Verne’s tales have taken many forms—early movie shorts, serials, feature films, miniseries, and television shows—and have been produced as both animated and live-action films. Taves illuminates how, as these stories have been made and remade over the years, each new adaptation looks back not only to Verne’s words but also to previous screen incarnations. He also examines how generations of actors have portrayed iconic characters such as Phileas Fogg and Captain Nemo, and how these figures are treated in pastiches such as Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012). Investigating the biggest box-office hits as well as lower-budget productions, this comprehensive study will appeal not only to fans of the writer’s work but also to readers interested in the ever-changing relationship between literature, theater, and film.

Brian Taves is a film archivist with the Library of Congress. He is the author of more than one hundred articles and six books, including The Romance of Adventure: The Genre of Historical Adventure Movies and Thomas Ince: Hollywood’s Independent Pioneer.

Jules Verne remains a household name for his science fiction and adventure novels more than a century after his death. Brian Taves’ comprehensive manuscript examines an entire century of American film adaptations of the novels of Jules Verne, including television programs and biographical pieces. This book will stand as the definitive work on this subject for many years. -- Sheri Chinen Biesen, author of Blackout: World War II and the Origins of Film Noir

This is surely the most detailed and knowledgeable summary of adaptations of Verne’s work to mass media that is likely to appear for decades to come. It’s the volume that all subsequent scholars will cite and against which subsequent work will be judged. Taves has a remarkable, seemingly inexhaustible store of information and insight on Verne’s work. -- Rick Worland, author of The Horror Film: An Introduction

Fortunately for us all that giant among Vernian scholars, Brian Taves has no snobbery for “the liveliest art.” Indeed he happens to be an authority on both subjects and those of us who adore “Jules Verne movies” are in for a major treat. You’re also in for a surprise if you think you are very well versed in the subject, for Taves has taken the subject from the very earliest days of the cinema to the present. -- John Goodwin, Emmy-winning makeup artist and science fiction authority

With his newest book Hollywood Presents Jules Verne: The Father of Science Fiction on Screen, Brian Taves combines his vast knowledge as a Verne scholar with his expertise as a film historian to provide a fascinating look at cinema based on the works of one of the most acclaimed authors of all time. Through exhaustive research, detailed descriptions, trenchant insights and evocative images, Mr. Taves takes us on an incredible journey worthy of Verne himself. From the earliest days of motion pictures right up to the present day, no cinematic stone is left unturned. Hollywood Presents Jules Verne gives anyone who's interested in the lively arts a reason to rejoice. -- Ted Okuda, author of The Golden Age of Chicago Children's Television

The film not covered under the umbrella of the book's title has simply got to be the film that has not been produced yet. Taves' Hollywood Presents Jules Verne succeeds on multiple levels and will be of interest to the casual fan and future researcher alike. A century's worth of pictures are discussed yet, incredibly, perspective never goes wanting at any time. -- Steve Joyce, co-author of American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913–1929

The task was considerable - the result is invaluable. Brian Taves, one of the world's most erudite Jules Verne scholars and a well-known specialist of popular literature, has completed a comprehensive study that stands unmatched in its thoroughness and detail. His systematical comparison between literary sources and their public reception in the US, screenplays, Hollywood's production strategies, cinematographic translations and their exploitation (including television and the more ludicrous variations of the original material) reveals a profound knowledge of the mechanisms and archetypes of our audiovisually oriented society. This study goes far beyond what one would expect on the subject. -- Hervé Dumont, author of Frank Borzage: The Life and Films of a Hollywood Romantic

[A]n illuminating exposition of how [Jules Verne]’s words have been brought to life in moving pictures from the earliest days of cinema. -- Milwaukee Express

[A] very exciting book about the father of science fiction on screen . . . . Both students and experts of cinema/literature will hugely benefit from Hollywood Presents Jules. -- The Washington Book Review

One of the best things this book does is make one want to reread Verne and watch the best of his films. It comes highly recommended. -- Dime Novel Round-Up

Brian Taves has been named one of the winners of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association’s 2016 John G. Cawelti Award for the Best
Textbook/Primer in Popular Culture.

Brian Taves is a most suitable author to explore the various adaptations of Verne's work due to his almost lifelong fascination with it [. . .] Taves's knowledge and understanding of Verne's oeuvre as it has been depicted on screen over a long period of time provides the reader with a wealth of information, set out in a very accessible manner.

Through reading this book one comes to a realisation that Verne and the screen are inextricably interlinked in the public consciousness, and how and why Verne continues to be of interest and relevance for filmmakers and audiences alike. -- Cercles