Atlantis: The Lost Continent
The Greek fisherman Demetrios and his father rescue Princess Antillia from a shipwreck without knowing that she is from the technologically advanced civilization of Atlantis. After rescuing the princess, Demetrios must travel beyond the Pillars of Hercules to take her home. After they are picked up at sea near Atlantis by a giant fish-like submarine boat, Demetrios, expecting to receive a reward for returning Antillia, is instead enslaved and forced to work in the crater of the volcano that dominates the center of the continent.
Atlantis: The Lost Continent
King Cronus is being manipulated by an ambitious usurper, Zaren, collaborating with the court sorcerer, Sonoy the Astrologer, who wishes to use the resources of Atlantis to conquer the known world. From deep within the continent's volcano, the slaves of Atlantis have been mining unique power crystals which absorb the sun's rays and can used to fire heat ray beams. The crystals were once used to produce light and heat, but due to its arrogance, corruption, and moral laxity, Atlantis has made the crystals into a deadly heat ray weapon. It has become "an abomination before Heaven".
Impending doom hangs heavy in the air of Atlantis. The birds, animals, and even the insects are fleeing what appears to be the coming destruction of the continent. With the help of a kindly high-priest named Azar, who explains these signs of the apocalypse to him, Demetrios is later able to rescue Princess Antillia after helping the slaves to escape the coming destruction. Azar explains and demonstrates two small versions of the power crystal device. He also informs Demetrios that a huge crystal ray projector, a thousand times more powerful, is nearing completion. On the next full moon, Zaren plans to begin his campaign of conquest.
On the full moon, the now-completed crystal ray projector is displayed to the people of Atlantis. Just at that moment, however, the skies darken, the ground begins to shake, and the destruction of Atlantis begins. The volcano undergoes a cataclysmic eruption, and the continent proceeds to tear itself apart. The people of Atlantis panic, striving to escape their impending doom. Demetrios and Princess Antillia attempt to escape through the fleeing multitude. Zaren attempts to kill them, using the crystal ray projector, but instead kills many other citizens.
Azar attacks Zaren, using Zaren's own knife, leaving the large crystal to swing back and forth, out of control, firing bursts of energy at random. As Zaren finally overcomes Azar, he is himself destroyed by the weapon's energy beam. As lightning flashes and thunder roars, the entire continent begins sinking. Suddenly, and very quickly, it begins to rise; then, just as quickly, the sea bottom collapses. Atlantis suddenly plunges beneath the waves once and for all. The large crystal device atop the capital's large pyramid, the main power source for the entire continent, is inundated with seawater, short-circuits, and a massive explosion follows.
Long, long ago, humble Greek fisherman Petros and his son Demetrios (Wolfe Barzell & Anthony Hall) fish a soggy princess out of the water. She proves to be a high-maintenance looker named Antilla (Joyce Taylor), who cajoles Demetrios into taking her back to her land beyond the horizon. Impressed by Antilla's beauty but thinking her a bit daft, Demetrios swipes his father's fishing boat (apparently leaving him to starve) to search for her kingdom. If they don't find it, she promises to become his humble fishwife. To Demetrios' surprise, his boat is intercepted by a fabulous submarine from Antillia's very real homeland, Atlantis, a giant continent located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, Antillia's promises fizzle out when her father King Kronas (Edgar Stehli of 4D Man) is revealed to be a toothless old dotard who defers to his sneering, sniveling prime minister Zaren (John Dall, from Gun Crazy). Conspiring with the Astrologer Sonoy (Frank DeKova), Zaren puts Demetrios to labor with the other slaves in a volcano conveniently located on the outskirts of Atlantis' mighty capitol. Not only are the slaves worked to death in the crater, an evil surgeon (Berry Kroeger) uses advanced pseudo-science to transform some of them into beasts of burden. Demetrios' fellow Greek Xandros (Jay Novello from The Lost World) is turned into a half-man, half oxen. Zaren's evil scheme is to conquer the world, making use of next-generation Death Ray capabilities derived from giant crystals mined by the slaves. Antillia wants to free her Greek sweetheart but Zaren finds excuses to keep Demetrios in chains -- while the surgeon threatens to transform him into a pig. Antillia's only true friend is the High Priest Azor (Edward Platt of TV's Get Smart). Inspired by the revelations of a new God of Love, Azor prophesizes that Atlantis will soon sink into the sea. Meanwhile, Demetrios' date with the surgeon is delayed -- so that he can become the main attraction in a life-or-death trial by combat held in Kronas's main arena.
Atlantis, The Lost Continent is an easy target for derision -- Oregano, the Lost Condiment! .... Antillia, the Incontinent! -- but the fact is that George Pal was a good guy and deserves our respect. The right attitude is to consider the movie a College Try sabotaged by the suits at Metro. And I remember the show entertaining crowds of happy kids, me among them. What's so bad about that?
Atlantis: The Lost Continent was one of George Pal's less-successful productions, a chronicle of the legendary lost continent of Altantis. Anthony Hall (actually a singer/songwriter named Sal Panto) played Demetrios, a Greek fisherman who ends up leading a revolution against Atlantis' corrupt ruling class. The film blended sword-and-sandal adventure with the fantasy elements and special effects for which Pal was known.
When a young fisherman in ancient Greece rescues a princess, she entices him to travel with her to her fabled home, The Lost Continent of Atlantis. There, Demetrios (Anthony Hall) is enslaved by an evil tyrant bent on using the Atlantean's technology to dominate the earth. But winning his freedom through combat, Demetrios flees with PrincessAntilla (Joyce Taylor) just as the lava from an exploding volcano causes the Atlantean's weapon to explode in a cataclysm that destroys a continent. Safely away, Demetrios and Antilla watch her home sink below the ocean to be lost forever.
Rejoice, citizens of Atlantis! Princess Antillia, lost upon uncharted seas, has been guided home by intrepid Greek fisherman Demetrios. In a strange act of Atlantean gratitude, Demetrios is cast into slavery. He will endure the macabre House of Hell. Fight for his life before a cheering arena throng in the Ordeal of Fire and Water. And rescue the princess again as they flee the realm's volcanic doom. Welcome to Atlantis, the Lost Continent, where royal guardsmen wear uniforms that could easily be from the wardrobe of Ming the Merciless and where some unfortunate slaves are turned into bovine-headed beasts. Yes, that kind of movie: popcorn-worthy and spearheaded by legendary fantasy film producer George Pal (The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine).
Unlike many legends whose origins have been lost in the mists of time, we know exactly when and where the story of Atlantis first appeared. The story was first told in two of Plato's dialogues, the "Timaeus" and the "Critias," written about 360 B.C.
In his book "Meet Me In Atlantis: Across Three Continents in Search of the Legendary Lost City (opens in new tab)" Mark Adams explains how an otherwise unremarkable Greek legend became so widely known. It was due to a Minnesota man named Ignatius Donnelly (1831-1901). Donnelly was a Congressmen and amateur historian who claimed, in his 1882 book "The Antediluevian World," that all great advances in civilization and technology could be traced back to the long-lost island mentioned by Plato. But Donnelly went beyond merely popularizing Plato's story; he added some of his own "facts" and ideas that have become part of the Atlantis myth. Donnelly promoted what is now called "diffusionism," the idea that all great cultures can be traced back to a single source.
The most obvious sign that Atlantis is a myth is that no trace of it has ever been found despite advances in oceanography and ocean floor mapping in past decades. For nearly two millennia readers could be forgiven for suspecting that the vast depths might somehow hide a sunken city or continent. Though there remains much mystery at the bottom of the world's oceans, it is inconceivable that the world's oceanographers, submariners, and deep-sea probes have some how missed a landmass "larger than Libya and Asia together."
Furthermore plate tectonics demonstrate that Atlantis is impossible; as the continents have drifted, the seafloor has spread over time, not contracted. There would simply be no place for Atlantis to sink into. As Ken Feder notes, "The geology is clear; there could have been no large land surface that then sank in the area where Plato places Atlantis. Together, modern archaeology and geology provide an unambiguous verdict: There was no Atlantic continent; there was no great civilization called Atlantis."
Ignatius Donnelly was certain of his theory, predicting that hard evidence of the sunken city would soon be found, and that museums around the world would one day be filled with artifacts from Atlantis. Yet over 130 years have passed without a trace of evidence. The Atlantis legend has been kept alive, fueled by the public's imagination