(1958-1968)


Atlantis, The Lost Continent (1960)

 

"Atlantis, 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."
—George Pal

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.

"My 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 more time."

The M.G.M. 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."
—George Pal

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.

William 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.

Russell 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.

Atlantis, The Lost Continent is available on vhs through Amazon.com

 

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