ATLANTIS, THE LOST CONTINENT (1961). Director: George Pal.
Although this film certainly has its detractors, I confess it has remained quite enjoyable to me over the years. Demetrios (Anthony Hall aka Sal Ponti) and his father are out fishing when they come upon a young woman, Antillia (Joyce Taylor) afloat in the sea, who insists that she is not only a princess but that she comes from a great land beyond the pillars of Hercules, where the known world ends. Demetrios winds up taking her home with the understanding that if they don't come upon this mystical land in a number of days, they will return to Greece and Antillia must marry him. Instead they wind up on the fabled continent of Atlantis, where Antillia's father, the king, wears a hollow crown and the evil Zaren (John Dall) is the true ruler. Atlantis enslaves every foreigner who lands on its shores, even Demetrios, and is planning to attack other nations with deadly weapons. Although the oh-so-pious character of Azor (Ed Platt) is a bit of a killjoy, Atlantis is still a lot of fun, especially the Ordeal of Fire and Water in which Demetrios wins his freedom, Platt and Dall having a battle, the bull-men in their cells lorded over by Surgeon (Berry Kroeger -- yes it's Berry not Barry), and the whole climax with the effective sinking of Atlantis and the running-wild "beta disintegrator" or whatzis that Zaren tries to vaporize half the city with. Wild! Hall is fine; Taylor, who could give some bad performances, is quite good as the haughty princess; and Dall of Rope fame is sneering perfection. [Dall offered a more sympathetic portrayal and was excellent in The Corn is Green.) To my astonishment I only realized on this viewing that the character of Xandros, the Greek slave befriended by Demetrios, is played by Great Old Movies' old friend, the wonderful Jay Novello, another example of how this fine actor could lose himself in a characterization. Ed Platt, of course, appeared to great advantage on the show Get Smart.
Verdict: No, it's not Pal's The War of the Worlds, but it's fun! ***.