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91 5 The Height of the Verne Cycle, 1960–1962 Verne filmmaking was about to move beyond spectacle and entertainment for the whole family. Average filmgoers were younger, and science fiction had emerged as a successful draw that could make lower-budget filmmaking just as profitable as its more expensive counterpart. Verne became one of the names to lure this new audience, who had often learned of him through the revival in Verne publishing. The peak year was 1961, when four Hollywood Verne movies were released, as well as several imports along with television broadcasts. The apex was reached when Daily Variety and Hollywood Reporter ran separate reviews of two Verne movies—Master of the World and The Fabulous World of Jules Verne—on a single page in their April 26, 1961, issues. Only one overseas Verne adaptation had appeared on the American screen in the years since the silent era, Captain Grant’s Children, which arrived from the Soviet Union in 1939. Now, Hollywood sought to cash in on foreign-made Verne films, dubbing them into English. From Czechoslovakia came a 1956 adaptation of Facing the Flag, released theatrically in the United States in 1961 under the title The Fabulous World of Jules Verne. The previous year, Michael Strogoff, a 1956 European coproduction with Curt Jurgens in the lead, was shown to American cinemagoers; it was later retitled both Revolt of the Tartars and Secret Mission to Siberia for television. Although both The Fabulous World of Jules Verne and Michael Strogoff flopped theatrically in the United 92 Hollywood Presents Jules Verne States, the latter had been a major hit in Europe and had inspired an original, Franco‑Italian cinema sequel, again starring Jurgens, entitled The Triumph of Michael Strogoff (1962).1 It was shown on American television, as was an unacknowledged 1960 Japanese version of Verne’s novel, King of the Mongols (also titled Genghis Khan and His Mongols ). La Jangada, produced in Mexico in 1959, was based on Verne’s 1881 novel of the same title and retitled 800 Leagues over the Amazon for television in the United States, while Shipwreck Island (1961) was a Spanish version of Two Year Holiday (1888). Although both of these Spanish-language films were sparsely broadcast, they would far outclass subsequent Hollywood versions of these same novels. Hollywood had already resumed filming the author directly for the small screen, and the influence there would continue to grow. The October 19, 1959, episode of the film noir series Peter Gunn, starring Craig Stevens, returned to the concept at the center of The Tribulations of a Chinese in China. In the Peter Gunn episode entitled “Death Is a Red Rose,” a man arranges for his death so his family can inherit his life insurance, but then he regrets the decision and asks for detective Gunn’s assistance.2 Boris Sagal directed a script by Lewis Reed and Tony Barrett , with story credit given to Blake Edwards, the series creator. In fact, the television script was a remake of a 1951 radio segment of another Edwards series, Richard Diamond—Private Detective; neither attributed Verne.3 A Verne story was explicitly folded into the December 3, 1960, episode “Foggbound” of the CBS Western series Have Gun—Will Travel. In San Francisco, Passepartout (Jon Silo) requests the assistance of series lead Paladin (Richard Boone) on behalf of his master, Phileas Fogg (Patric Knowles), whom he bluntly describes as mad. Because of his refusal to duel with Colonel Proctor (Peter Whitney), who is stalking him, Fogg has missed his train and must catch it at its next stop in Reno. On the way, Fogg encounters Proctor and gamely defends himself . When Paladin suggests taking an evasive route, Fogg lectures him on British behavior, only to be told that the world cannot always be approached according to the standards of a game of cricket. As Passepartout seeks a boat along the Truckee River, there is the hint of a romantic possibility between Aouda (Arlene MacQuade) and Paladin The Height of the Verne Cycle 93 (a convention for most of the heroines appearing in the series), especially given Fogg’s indifference to her. Proctor shoots and wounds Fogg without warning, but Paladin fires in return, Proctor’s body disappearing down the river. Fogg speaks of leaving Aouda behind because as an expert Punjab horsewoman she seems to prefer the West to England. At that moment, she asks Paladin to ask Fogg if he will marry her. Replying in the same...


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