Film (1932; vt L'Atlantide; vt Lost Atlantis; vt The Mistress of Atlantis). Nero Film. Directed by G W Pabst (1885-1967). Written by Ladislaus Vajda, Hermann Oberländer, based on L'Atlantide (1919) by Pierre Benoit. Cast includes Jean Angelo (French version), Gustav Diessl (German version), Brigitte Helm and John Stuart (English version). 87 minutes. Black and white.
This German film is based on Benoit's lurid popular novel about Antinea, the Queen of Atlantis (in this case a city beneath the North African desert), who lures a succession of men to their doom and displays their mummified bodies in a bizarre trophy room. The similarities between this and H Rider Haggard's She (October 1886-January 1887 The Graphic; cut 1886; full text 1887) are obvious.
L'Atlantide has been filmed several other times: the first was a tedious 1921 French version directed by Jacques Feyder; in 1948 a kitsch US version, Siren of Atlantis (vt Atlantis; vt Queen of Atlantis), was directed by Arthur Ripley, Greg R Tallas, Douglas Sirk and John Brahm, starring Maria Montez; and in 1961 a French/Italian coproduction, Antinea, L'Amante della Città Sepolta (vt Atlantis, the Lost Kingdom) – not to be confused with Atlantis, the Lost Continent produced by George Pal in 1960 – was directed by Edgar G Ulmer and Giuseppe Masini. The Pabst film is superior to these others, not only for its visual flair but also for Brigitte Helm's striking performance as the queen (she is also remembered for her dual role as heroine and evil robot in Metropolis ). It is, however, slow moving, and no one could take this pulp romance seriously.
Three versions, in German, French and English, were made simultaneously with Helm starring in all, although otherwise the casts were different. [JB/PN]
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