In seventeenth-century Paris, poet and supreme swordsman Cyrano de Bergerac (José Ferrer) stops a play from being shown because he ostensibly cannot stand the bombastic style of the principal actor, Montfleury (Arthur Blake). An annoyed aristocratic fop, the Vicomte de Valvert (Albert Cavens), provokes him into a duel by tritely insulting Cyrano’s enormous nose. Cyrano first mocks his lack of wit, improvising numerous inventive ways in which Valvert could have phrased it (much to the amusement of the audience). He then composes a ballade for the occasion on the spot and recites it during the sword fight. With the last line, he stabs his opponent.
A strange giant “sea monster” has been rampaging the seas. The United States naval ship Abraham Lincoln is sent to investigate, but the vessel is rammed and damaged by the “monster” which turns out to be Nautilus, the technologically advanced submarine of the enigmatic Captain Nemo. The Abraham Lincoln, now rudderless from the attack, is adrift. Then, in a “strange rescue”, Nemo guides his submarine directly beneath four people who had been aboard the American ship and who had fallen into the sea during the attack. Nautilus surfaces and Nemo’s own crew now bring the four individuals into the submarine through one of its deck hatches.