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Friday, April 5, 2013


Those with a soft spot for George Pal’s THE TIME MACHINE/’60, and the lesser-known 7 FACES OF DR. LAO/’64, probably won’t mind the general air of silliness & glaringly obvious cost-cutting stratagems Pal used on this low-budget adventure pic. With endearingly toy-like sets, effects & acting, the story also takes care to point up an anti-nuclear message simple enough for a child to pick up on. Anthony Hall (aka Sal Ponti) is pretty (and pretty amateurish) as a Greek fisherman who saves Atlantis Princess Joyce Taylor from the depths before bravely sailing her home thru uncharted waters. Landing in the great civilization of Atlantis, he soon finds himself enslaved in a corrupt society on the edge of the precipice. You can guess the rest. (Though perhaps not the big lift straight out of THE ISLAND OF LOST SOULS/'32.) There’s lots of borrowed footage for the catastrophic climax (from THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII/’59?), plus painted backdrops suitable for a high school play along with an ancient Cityscape swiped off a Lionel Train hobby table. The fun of the thing is that Pal never minds if we experience the fakery as fakery. John Dall, in his last film role, sports an alarming yellow dye job as a campy villain, with a naughty, and unexpectedly open, interest in all the beefcake flesh around him. (He nearly makes a pass at young Hall.) And listen up for Paul Frees, one of the great voice-over specialists of his day, who narrates and seems to have dubbed about half the male supporting cast.

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