Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Master of the World was adapted by Richard Matheson from two Jules Verne novels, Robur le Conquerant (1896) and its sequel, Maitre du Monde (1904)--with more than a little of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea thrown in. Set in 1868, the story is galvanized by an ominous warning of impending doom, delivered in a disembodied but resonent voice from a huge mountain just outside Morgantown, Pennsylvania. Hoping to find the source of the warning, the members of the Weldon Balloon Society, headed by munitions manufacturer Prudence (Henry Hull), send a motorized balloon to investigate. Also aboard Prudence's balloon is his daughter Dorothy (Mary Webster), her fiance Philip (David Frankham), and taciturn pilot Strock (Charles Bronson). Before long, the little party is captured by the brilliant but unbalanced Robur (Vincent Price), captain of the gigantic, state-of-the-art airship "Albatross." Robur explains that he is a man of peace, and that he is using his huge airship to wipe out all warfare by obliterating every weapon of mass destruction on earth--and never mind that a few innocent bystanders may also be killed in the process. Admiring Robur's intentions if not his methods, Strock bypasses every opportunity to stop the madman in his tracks, and for this he is branded a coward by the hotheaded Philip, sparking a battle of words and fists that will persist throughout the film. Meanwhile, Robur attacks such strategic military locations as Paris, Madrid and North Africa (courtesy of stock footage from other films), and as the carnage continues, Prudence renounces his war-profiteering ways. As for Strock, his admiration for Robur does not prevent him from a desperate climactic effort to rescue Prudence, Dorothy and Philip by planting a time bomb in the "Albatross"--a bomb that very well may go off before the "good guys" get off.
anti-war, flying, genius, inventor, pacifism, scientist, war, weapons