Atlantis, the Lost Continent (1961)

ATLANTIS, THE LOST CONTINENT (1961)
Article #1746 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-25-2005
Posting Date: 5-24-2006
Directed by George Pal
Featuring Sal Ponti, Joyce Taylor, John Dall

When a Greek fisherman rescues a princess from Atlantis and helps her to return home, he is rewarded by being turned into a slave and forced to work the mines. However, he befriends a priest who knows that the time of Atlantis is nearing its end…

This is perhaps George Pal’s weakest and most disappointing movie, though to some extent it was not his fault; he was given a weak script to begin with, a writer’s strike put the kibbosh on rewrites, and studio tampering further damaged the production. As a result, the movie is horribly uneven. There are clever and fun moments (I like the scene where the fisherman and the princess talk to each other aboard the boat and don’t see the submarine surfacing and diving in the background), but other moments are totally cliched. The special effects range from the excellent to the awful, especially during the somewhat sluggish climax of the movie. What I think is most disappointing is that, despite the presence of Pal, this is really nothing more than a typical Sword-and-Sandal movie with an everyman rather than a Hercules type as the hero. I did enjoy seeing a pre-“Get Smart” Edward Platt as the priest who doubts the power of the Atlantean gods, and you should be able to spot the voice of Paul Frees several times throughout the production. The addition of an “Island of Dr. Moreau” subplot is interesting, but it is not incorporated into the story very well at all. At any rate, the movie really lacks that special quality that Pal usually brought to his productions. He’d done better before, and would do better again.

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