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Master of the World (1961)

Master Of The World is a crazy implausible and wholly fascinating film. Although it is not in the front rank of expensive spectacles, it is a surprisingly imaginative sci-fi fantasy derived by Richard Matheson from two works by Jules Verne – the one that gives the film its title and Robur, The Conqueror.

Vincent Price plays Robur, a type similar to Nemo. He captains a huge airship (Albatross) and intends to end wars and the threat of war by using his “invincible power”.

Robur’s greatest threat, though, is not the world at large but that within Albatross.

A threat of another kind is provided by director William Witney who seems to have been unable to realise either the adventure or parody potential of the script. The scenes of talk and chatter are not handled too empathetically either. The appeal of the film is primarily visual, hence special credit to art director Daniel Haller for his creations.

There are a few moments of spectacle provided by snippets from newsreels and other features, including – of all things – shots from Alexander Korda’s production of The Four Feathers and Laurence Olivier’s Henry V.

The supporting cast includes Charles Bronson, Henry Hull and Richard Harrison. Mary Webster plays the heroine and figures in a rather tame romance.

Well worth seeing.

Vincent Price
John Strock
Charles Bronson
Henry Hull
Dorothy Prudent
Mary Webster
Phillip Evans
David Frankham
Richard Harrison
Vito Scotti
Wally Campo

William Witney