Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Amazon Queen of Atlantis

Fun peplums! Here are two cheap and cheerful ones, One I have not seen since I was a kid, and the other a new discovery, and on YouTube yet!

George Pal's ATLANTIS THE LOST CONTINENT for MGM in 1961 is still great fun now, and we get to see clips from other movies too ....
A Greek Fisherman rescues a girl he finds in the ocean - she is a Princess from a strange country and she charms him to take her back .... it is of course Atlantis, where he is enslaved. 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 slaves of Atlantis are forced to mine a crystalline material which absorbs the suns rays to create weapons of destruction. Then, the volcano explodes, can our hero save the Princess and flee back to the boat ...

This is a delicious farrago, with two wooden leads: Anthony Hall and Joyce Taylor as Princess Antillia, but solid support is provided by Edward Platt as the high priest, and John Dall chewing the scenery as the evil Zaren, using his deadly rays to vaporise boats out of the sea. It is all well made and imaginative (a mad scientist is even experimenting with turning men into swine!), and on a budget. Nice to see some props - those funny hats - and that marvellous statue of a pagan god which Lana Turner worshipped in THE PRODIGAL - turn up again here - right. Then as Atlantis erupts there is a crowd scene of people fleeing and I recognise it immediately from QUO VADIS! There are also shots from THE NAKED JUNGLE and more from THE PRODIGAL included. MGM were good at recyclying their old moves (a 1959 African adventure WATUSI used extensive footage from their 1951 KING SOLOMON'S MINES). It is all still great fun now, the trailer crams it all into 2 minutes:

Two musclemen take on a tribe of Amazon Women. Rod Taylor made this in 1960 either before or after THE TIME MACHINE - his stint with George Pal, I suppose a peplum made in Italy seemed fun at the time. Ed Fury is the other muscle guy, and he is quite fun too - its a bigger part for him than those walk-ons in American films, or those muscle magazines. The two pals are drugged and taken by sea to the island ruled by the Amazons. I think Rod decided the only way to play this was to camp it up and his Pirro is a bit swishy, as indeed are most of the men here, but in a nice way, as they fuss over their laundry and cleaning. Its the women who are the warriors, and theres a good trio here: Gianna Maria Canale as the Queen, all alone without love, while Daniella Rocca and Dorian Gray are two of her rival officers seeking to out-do each other. Rocca keeps falling down a lot, and Gray (whom I only know from Antonioi's IL GRIDO) is nicely droll too. 
It is all very tongue in cheek.  Between loves and duels, plots and ruses, the pirates will bring together Amazons and Greeks to live in harmony.
IMDB says: Loaded with homo-erotic subtext and dreadful dialog watch this for its camp value and a star on the rise. It does not take itself seriously and pokes fun at the genre. The beatnik-y jazzy lounge music soundtrack is a camp delight too!
Rod went on to that rather good swashbuckler SEVEN SEAS TO CALAIS (Rod label) and then the two big ones: one of THE VIPs and then Hitch summoned him to Bodega Bay ...


  1. Hopefully, once I get my 22 DAYS OF OSCAR season over, I will catch ATLANTIS, THE LOST CONTINENT. I've never seen it but it's just my type of film.

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