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The Lost Atlantis (1932)
"The Mistress of Atlantis" (original title)

 -  Fantasy | Adventure | Romance  -  1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 123 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 8 critic

Two soldiers--searching the Sahara for Atlantis--are captured by raiders from the lost city. They are taken before its beautiful queen who has over 50 mummified ex-lovers! What follows is ... See full summary »


(as G.W. Pabst)


(novel), (dialogue), 2 more credits »
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Credited cast:
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Florelle ...
Clementine (as Odette Florelle)
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Lt. Ferrieres
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Two soldiers--searching the Sahara for Atlantis--are captured by raiders from the lost city. They are taken before its beautiful queen who has over 50 mummified ex-lovers! What follows is an endless nightmare, climaxing with the murder of one of the soldiers. There are some brilliant moments in this sci-fi fantasy classic. Written by Anonymous

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1939 (USA)  »

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The Lost Atlantis  »

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User Reviews

The Mistress Of Atlantis (G. W. Pabst, 1932) **1/2
11 April 2009 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

COMRADESHIP (1931) can be said to have marked the relative end of the most fruitful period in the career of renowned German film-maker G. W. Pabst that had seen him create a handful of classics of World Cinema; in fact, his next venture was a very ambitious undertaking – an adaptation (in distinct German, French and English-language versions) of Pierre Benoit's epic adventure novel L'ATLANTIDE – but one that, in hindsight, would prove only partially successful. Another distinguished film-maker, Frenchman Jacques Feyder, had already made a celebrated stab at the material as a 3-hour Silent epic in 1921 and, over the years, other established film-makers – John Brahm, Frank Borzage, Edgar G. Ulmer, Vittorio Cottafavi, George Pal, Ruggero Deodato, Bob Swaim and even "Walt Disney" – would find themselves attracted to the subject of the mythical lost empire. Admittedly, I have never read Benoit's original source and this 1932 English-language version is the first cinematic adaptation of it that I am watching but, is not Atlantis supposed to be an undersea kingdom? In fact, a recent study even went so far as to imply that the island of Malta (from where I hail) might well have formed part of Atlantis centuries ago! How come, therefore, that here (and, reportedly, likewise the other adaptations) it is situated in sandy desert dunes? A criticism leveled at the Feyder film had been that his choice of leading lady (the entrancing Queen of Atlantis) was all wrong but Pabst certainly got that bit down perfectly when he cast Brigitte Helm – best-known for playing the two Marias in Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS (1927) as Antinea. The plot has a little of H. Rider Haggard's SHE about it as two legionnaires stumble onto Atlantis in the Sahara desert and lose themselves within its labyrinthine dungeons replete with Antinea's past male conquests that have either gone mad or been mummified! The two male leads seemed slightly overage to me but, in any case, whatever acting capabilities they might possess would essentially have been dwarfed by the awesome sets and imaginative camera-work. As a matter of fact, this is where the film's main fault lies: the protagonists' plight never moves us as it should, even when one kills the other over Antinea or when, after her terrible secret is revealed to him, the survivor decides to go back to Atlantis anyway. The fleeting appearances of an eccentric 'prisoner' of Antinea (who speaks with a distinctly upper-class British accent and sports a Daliesque moustache) adds to the fun quotient but, overall, the stilted rendition of the dialogue (even Helm utters her own scarce lines in English) is on a par with other films from the early Talkie era. For the record, although every listing I have checked of this film gives its running time as 87 minutes, the version I watched ran for just 78! Incidentally, a movie I should be catching up with presently – DESERT LEGION (1953) with Alan Ladd, Richard Conte and Arlene Dahl – is said to have been partially inspired by Benoit's L'ATLANTIDE itself!

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