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Atlantis, the Lost Continent

Entry updated 4 January 2019. Tagged: Film.

Film (1961). Galaxy/MGM. Directed and produced by George Pal. Written by Daniel Mainwaring, based on Atalanta: A Story of Atlantis: A Fantasy with Music (1949), a play by Sir Gerald Hargreaves. Cast includes John Dall, Anthony Hall, Ed Platt and Joyce Taylor. 90 minutes. Colour.

A young Greek fisherman nets and becomes involved with a castaway who says she is a princess from Atlantis. A large, fish-shaped submarine surfaces and they are both taken by a Under the Sea route to the titular Lost World. He is enslaved and witnesses the evils of the Atlantean culture, which include general Decadence, the spectacle of gladiatorial combat against Monsters, and other crimes against God and Nature presided over by a hissably evil sorcerer-cum-Mad Scientist. These lead to the eventual destruction and sinking of Atlantis by (a) a destructive heat Ray generated by a giant crystal that stores solar power (see Power Sources) and (b) the traditional erupting volcano. The scope of the special effects was obviously affected by the low budget – the volcano was all stock footage – but A Arnold Gillespie and his team achieved some colourful spectacles. However, the performances are wooden and the story strictly Pulp. Pal was a better producer than director; this is one of his weakest films. [JB/PN/DRL]


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