The first time I ever heard of this movie was while reading a lengthy online interview with noted film preservationist David Shephard wherein he named it as his favorite film but, having now watched it for myself, frankly I was quite disappointed. ATLANTIS is inspired by a book which had anticipated the Titanic tragedy - although, as depicted here, the shipboard section only takes about half-an-hour (occurring mid-way through the proceedings) of this 114-minute film; essentially. these scenes aren't badly done but the static camera-work muffles much opportunity for suspense and excitement!
The film opens in decidedly unusual fashion with a moving depiction of a mental case, but this is soon followed by what has to be one of the silliest dance numbers ever put on film, as the husband of the aforementioned patient goes around the world to rethink his situation and bafflingly falls for the resistible charms of the chubby ballet performer, ending up with her on a ship that collides with a wrecked vessel due to thick fog! The husband is, understandably perhaps, a rather morose fellow, going from place to place - Berlin, Paris, New York, and eventually ending holed up in a mountaintop cabin - and from woman to woman without ever acquiring happiness; as it turned out, some of the film's best scenes are those depicting the bustling N.Y.C. life of the the 1910s. ATLANTIS is, however, full of even more irrelevant bits, none more so than the exhibition of a real-life 'armless wonder' (14 years prior to THE UNKNOWN, I might add!) which, while in itself would make for a fascinating short subject, here it proves merely an overlong distraction. What's more, the title of the film is misleading because, while the main character supposedly dreams himself in the famed underwater city (prior to the sinking of the ship), the scenes take place above ground and are extremely brief to boot!
Thankfully, the occasional visual aestheticism of the film is preserved by the generally good quality of the print on hand and its transfer to DVD and one only needs to take a look at the ragged excerpt from a Japanese print included as a supplement to appreciate the sheer amount of work that went into restoring the film. Other supplementary features on this Danish Film Institute disc are an alternate tragic ending devised for the Russian market and an excerpt from a 1914 film co-directed by Blom and Holger-Madsen (two individual sci-fi films by these directors - THE END OF THE WORLD  and A TRIP TO MARS  respectively - were subsequently paired on DVD by the same outfit and which I've just watched myself).
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?