Last time, I recommended 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. Here I’m talking about another George Pal offering: from 1961, Atlantis the Lost Continent. It’s hard to pin down a genre for it, as it’s equally seen as a fantasy, science-fiction, with a little sword & sandal thrown in. Any way you slice it, it’s a Pal spectacular with lots of flash and destruction on a grand scale.
It’s been called “Pal’s worst film”, by Leonard Maltin, but it’s still ok. The basic premise is a humble Greek fisherman finds a shipwrecked woman, claiming to be an Atlantean princess. He takes her back to her people, but instead of being rewarded, he’s enslaved, working in the crystal mines and fighting in the coliseum. He’s caught in the middle of a power struggle between the King’s adviser Zaren, (aided by his evil sorceror/scientist) who wants to steal the throne, and Atlantis’ noble High Priest, Azor. The struggle culminates with a fight to the death between Azor and Zaren, who both fall victim to Zaren’s crystal-powered laser as it randomly blasts different parts of Atlantis, until the island can take no more and it collapses upon itself, spreading the few surviving portions of the citizenry to the four corners of the Earth.
A good chunk of the destruction served as the ‘magic lantern’ show in the aforementioned Dr. Lao showing the destruction of the ‘City of Woldercan’, as well as cataclysmic scenes on various TV shows for decades.
Ironic, when you consider that this uses stock footage from Quo Vadis and the Pal-produced The Naked Jungle.
Another piece of fun, you get to see a battle of future chiefs – The Chief of CONTROL (Ed Platt as Azor) vs. Chief Wild Eagle (Frank DeKova as Soren the sorceror)!!
See it for yourself on TCM on Tuesday, May 30 at 1PM EDT!!
I give this one 3 out of 5 ‘Jaggies’.