The name George Pal may only be associated with the opening number from The Rocky Horror (Picture) Show with most modern audiences. However, the late fantasy filmmaker nevertheless managed to etch his way onto the timeless altar of science fiction movies. Beginning his career in film as an artist and animator, Pal later graduated to producing and directing live-action sci-fi tales. Several of those contributions are still held dear by many an aficionado, such as When Worlds Collide, The War Of The Worlds (1953), The Time Machine, and 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao.
And then there’s Pal’s 1961 “epic” (?), Atlantis, The Lost Continent, a film that is either considered to be a classic, a guilty b-movie pleasure, or a flat-out “disaster” in every sense of the word. It all depends on your point of view. Between budget limitations (on behalf of a studio that wasn’t overly keen on producing such a film to begin with, and probably only did so because the Italian-made Hercules films had been big hits in theaters across the world) and a writers’ strike that occurred during the time of production (thus, denying Pal a chance to polish the script), the movie suffered from its share of flaws at the time of its release.
Following a short stop-motion introduction narrated by none other than Paul Frees (who had his first credited role here, and also provided a few uncredited voiceovers), our story begins in ancient Greece, with a father-and-son fisherman team (portrayed by Wolfe Barzell of Frankenstein’s Daughter fame and Sal Ponti, respectively, the latter of which uses the acting alias Anthony Hall) discovering a raft adrift in the Mediterranean sea. On the raft is Antillia (Joyce Taylor), the Princess of Atlantis (no, seriously, she is). Taking her back to their humble home, Antillia is outraged that she is forced to live with such common people as fishermen. Using her natural beauty and charms, Antillia manages to seduce young Demetrios (Ponti) and convince him to take her back to her home continent, which the Greeks have no knowledge of, as they believe the world ends just after the Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar).