Atlantis, The Lost Continent (1960)
The Lost Continent was born in Europe, every kid knows the Atlantis
legend, and I was fascinated with it. It's a sort of science fiction/fairy
tale. I always wanted to make it."
Pal had bought the rights
to Atlantis by Sir Gerald Hargreaves, an unproduced
play for an opera, while at Paramount and as with The Time Machine
Paramount wasn't interested.
Now with tom thumb and The
Time Machine behind him, he brought out The Brothers
Grimm and Atlantis to offer M.G.M. for his
next film. Siegel turned down Grimm and gave the ok to Atlantis.
regret is that we didn't have an extra few months to work on the story,
because we really weren't ready for production. But this was during
a writer's strike, and M.G.M. had nothing ready to shoot, and the
whole studio was at a standstill. So they said, 'This is good enough,
let's go.' Daniel Mainwaring is a very good writer, but he needed
executives realized while we were shooting that the script wasn't
good enough, and they tried to doctor it. But you can't doctor this
type of film during production. They came in with suggestive pages
that were worse than what we had."
In spite of the story and
a restricted budget, Pal tried to make the best of a bad situation.
Again Pal turned to Project
Unlimited for the visual effects and miniatures, Included were the
crystal death ray machines and volcanic eruptions which destroy Atlantis.
One set of sequences which were shot but cut from the film involved
Sonoy (Frank DeKova) trying to make his escape from Atlantis by means
of strapping wings on, reminiscent of Da Vinci's concept, and flying
away. The footage appeared too fake and the sequences were removed.
Tuttle came into play by creating the beast-man characters that
the Atlantean surgeon made form the more troublesome slaves.
Many set pices and props
from previous M.G.M. productions made appearances in the film, most
likely due to budget restraints. In one scene you can see one of the
Krell power panels, several electronic fence posts and spare domes for
Robby from Forbidden Planet. The steps in the climax
of the film were also seen in The Time Machine,
Ben Hur, Julius Caesar and Kismet.
Garcia returns to create the film score which is very reminiscent
of The Time Machine.
Atlantis The Lost
Continent is perhaps the film which Pal is most disappointed
with. So many years waiting to produce the film and then having the
studio just rush it through.
The Lost Continent is available on vhs through Amazon.com