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Red Print Theater : Atlantis , The Lost Continent ( 1961 )

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  • Red Print Theater : Atlantis , The Lost Continent ( 1961 )

    Welcome to : RED PRINT THEATER !!

    This month's selection is …..ATLANTIS , THE LOST CONTINENT ( 1961 ) !
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    A Greek Fisherman brings an Atlantean Princess back to her homeland which is the mythical city of Atlantis. He is enslaved for his trouble. The King is being manipulated by an evil sorcerer who is bent on using a natural resource of Atlantis to take over the world. The Atlanteans, or rather the slaves of Atlantis, are forced to mine a crystalline material which absorbs the suns rays. These crystals can then be used for warmth. The misuse of science has created weapons out of the crystals that can fire a heat ray to destroy whatever it touches.

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    A really FUN film to watch , my print is , of course , an Eastman safety film stock print , which has the dreaded " Eastman Fade " !

    I first saw this film when I was a child. My friends and I were enamored of it, and played "Atlantis" for weeks after. Watching the movie with adult eyes, however, reveals that it is not George Pal's best work. Even so, it continues to have sentimental value for me and I do watch it occasionally. I still believe it to be a "fun" movie, real Saturday Matinee, popcorn and juju beads, sticky floor fun. Just turn off the brain, drop your expectations, and enjoy.

    This is not one of George Pal's stronger efforts, but it does have merit. The sinking of Atlantis at the conclusion still looks good today even though some of the shots of the burning city were taken from "Quo Vadis."

    Near the end of the film Russell Garcia's music repeats an easily remembered motif from his "Time Machine" score.

    Edward Platt's performance as High Priest Azor is one of the best in the film although I kept expecting someone to call him "Chief."

    The writing is a little stiff as it always seems to be in these ancient times epics. The only real awkward moment is the bizarre chant the slaves recite as they twist the giant drill in order to speed the eruption of the volcano.

    Very colorful sets and costumes along with the usual amount of special effects mayhem you would anticipate from George Pal. The lead f/x man was A. Arnold Gillespie who worked on "The Wizard of Oz" and "Gone With the Wind." The miniature sets and explosions are especially good.

    An overlooked, above average spectacle from one of the best showmen working in Hollywood at the time.

    And it's a very good spectacle , especially if you like movies with muscle-men running around in skirts .


    Zarin and the priest struggle near the end and the crystal starts shooting randomly. It strikes Zarin and turns him into a skeleton. The skull has the cutting line around it and a metal hook holding it together.

    In the House of Fear, a domestic hog appears. Breeders did not start to develop what we know today as the domestic pig until the 18th century of the Common Era (CE). Before that, domestic swine were almost identical to wild hogs: sharply defined backs, lots of bristly body hair, and very big tusks in their mouths.

    After the rescue of Antilla, Demetrios asks her from where she came. She answers that her land is "beyond the Columns of Hercules". But in time of Atlantis (9000b.C) Hercules hasn't done this job or even has been born (1500 to 1200 BCE).

    At the time line of Atlantis-ca. 10,000 BC , there was no Greek civilization as we know it. Since so many set pieces from "Quo Vadis" were used, this pushes the time line to the 1st. century AD.

    When the crystal's beam hits most objects there is an explosion and the object is obliterated. When the beam hits Zarin he is merely vaporized, leaving his skeleton intact.

    Although the prior year's THE TIME MACHINE ( 1960 )was a big hit for George Pal, MGM gave him a tiny budget for this picture, hence the many shortcuts and footage used from other films. Russell Garcia, who scored the film, recycled themes from "The Time Machine"--even going so far as reusing entire cues from the earlier film. Additionally, William Tuttle, the makeup artist, had a considerable amount of blue body paint leftover from "Time Machine" as well: it may be noted that Neptune (who appears to Demetrios in a hallucination) is the same shade of blue as the Morlocks.

    One of the factors that led to MGM's green-lighting of this production was the recent success of the U.S. release of "Hercules" ( 1958 ). This began the cycle of spectacle films about Greek and Roman mythological heroes.

    A totally thrill - packed adventure , still worthy of a look , even if in all of it's FADED glory !

  • #2
    Nice review David. I agree with your assessment, "This is not one of George Pal's stronger efforts, but it does have merit."

    This is what I call a "guilty pleasure" movie. You see them when you are young; you don't have any disbelieve to suspend. These movies revive fond childhood memories.

    The film is notorious for its inclusion of stock footage from other films, including the Oscar-winning Quo Vadis and The Naked Jungle. Props from other film productions were also reused, including the large temple idol from The Prodigal, Krell instrument gauges from Forbidden Planet, and wardrobes from Diane and Ben-Hur. When pointed out to George Pal that there were thousands of years of difference between the various costumes and props, he replied "Who knows"?

    ...At a preview screening for the film, questionnaires were handed out to the audience asking what scene was their favorite. One person, apparently recognizing the footage taken from Quo Vadis, wrote "The scene where Robert Taylor saved Deborah Kerr from the fire".
    Credit: Wikipedia

    If you don't have a red print to watch, you can find it on Bluray.

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    • #3
      Hey Ed , thanks for adding your color digital photo of one of the same scene I showed of my faded print so we can see the actual difference of Digital color to faded film color !


      • #4
        I love "Atlantis" films, no matter how corny. Beyond Atlantis is one of my cheap B movie favorites! Thanks Dave!


        • #5
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          There were 2 16mm prints for sale earlier this year and last with LPP color. I lost both.