Warlords of Atlantis
|Warlords of Atlantis|
|Directed by||Kevin Connor|
|Produced by||Jim Brown
|Written by||Brian Hayles|
|Music by||Mike Vickers|
|Edited by||Bill Blunden|
|Running time||96 minutes|
Warlords of Atlantis is a 1978 British science fiction/fantasy film about a trip to the lost world of Atlantis. The movie was directed by Kevin Connor from a screen play by Brian Hayles. It was filmed in color with monaural sound and English dialogue, and runs for 96 minutes. Warlords of Atlantis received a Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating of PG. It was novelised by Paul Victor. The film has also been released under the title Warlords of the Deep.
Around the beginning of the 20th century, British archaeologist Professor Aitken and his son, Charles, have chartered a ship called the Texas Rose to take them out to sea, where they plan to dive underwater in a diving bell designed by engineer Greg Collinson. Although everyone aboard the ship, including Greg, thinks that the Professors Aitken are just going to look at fish, Charles and his father are secretly searching for proof of the existence of the lost city of Atlantis. He and Greg find it on their first dive, and then some. First, they are attacked by a reptilian sea monster, which comes through the bottom of the diving bell, but Greg is able to fend it off by sticking a live wire into its mouth, electrocuting it.
Immediately following this, Greg and Charles discover a statue made of solid gold, which is then hoisted up to the Texas Rose. Deckhands Grogan, Fenn and Jacko desire the gold statue for themselves and hatch a scheme to steal it. Grogan cuts the line to the diving bell, trapping Greg and Charles at the bottom of the sea, and then someone (we don't see who but are meant to think it was one of the three mutinous sailors) shoots the elder Professor Aitken in the back. As Grogan goes to attack the Texas Rose's captain, Daniels, a gigantic octopus known as the Sentinel, sent by the inhabitants of Atlantis, attacks the ship. Daniels, Grogan, Fenn and Jacko are kidnapped by the octopus and taken to Atlantis along with Greg and Charles in the diving bell.
The six castaways find themselves washed ashore within a vast, air-filled cavern beneath the ocean floor. Here they are greeted by Atmir, one of the Atlantean ruling class, and the eyeless-helmeted, spear-wielding Guardians, who promise to take them "to safety". En route, Greg, Charles and the others are told by Atmir that Atlantis is not just one city, but seven cities, the first two of which have been "lost beneath the waters of the outer limits forever" and the third one, Troya, is now deserted and empty. Atmir takes the surface-dwellers through the causeway, a prehistoric swamp inhabited by a millipede-like monster called the Mogdaan, and then on to Vaar, the fourth city. Once here, Greg and the others are thrown into a dungeon — all, that is, except for Charles. As a scientist, he is deemed intelligent enough to be granted an audience with Atraxon and Atsil, the king and queen of Atlantis in Chinqua, the fifth city. They wish to make Charles one of them, and explain how they originally came from Mars and are using their mind powers to shape human history.
Meanwhile, Greg and the Texas Rose's crew make friends with Briggs, the captain of the Mary Celeste and unofficial leader of the Atlanteans' human slaves, and his daughter, Delphine. Briggs informs them they are to be slaves to protect Vaar from the constant attacks of creatures known as Zaargs. They will be given gills so they can never leave Atlantis and return to the oxygen-rich surface world, as the Atlanteans, being originally from Mars, breathe a different atmosphere. A convenient Zaarg attack allows Greg and the others to escape from their cell, but also claims the life of Briggs who is devoured alive by a Zaarg. Her father dead, a distraught Delphine helps Greg and the crew escape from their cells and shows them a way into Atraxon's palace in Chinqua through the sewers so that they can rescue Charles.
Greg, Daniels and Grogan go with her, leaving Fenn and Jacko to guard the tunnel entrance. Charles is enjoying his newfound status amongst the intellectual Atlanteans and may not even want to be rescued, especially once they show him the "utopia" they aim to create on Earth, leaving him drunk with dreams of power.
When they finally reach Charles he refuses to leave, but Greg deals him a knock-out blow and they carry him away from the influence of the Atlanteans. After regaining consciousness, Charles then clears his head and chooses to escape with Greg and the rest. They steal some rifles the Atlantians have acquired from a ship they plundered and retrace the route they took through the causeway when being brought to Vaar.
They again encounter the Mogdaan, which kills Jacko, and just about make it through a swamp filled with piranha-like fish that leap out of the water, before finally reaching the diving bell. However, Admir and the Guardians are there waiting for them, having used underground canals to rush ahead to retrieve Charles. Using some form of Telekinesis, Admir causes the sea water to erupt violently so as to discourage Greg and the rest from fleeing. But they take a chance and dive into the water, while Delphine, who Greg knows cannot leave with them, covers their escape.
He bids her farewell and joins the rest in the diving bell, which he manages to get working, and they escape from Atlantis. They rise to the surface (somehow without a cable lifting) and all five make it back to the Texas Rose.
Once on deck they are met by Sandy, the ship's cabin boy, who has been caring for Charles' father since he was shot. Holding Fenn and Grogan at gun point, he tells Greg and Charles what had happened when they were in the diving bell.
Daniels convinces Sandy to hand over the pistols, but then points them at Sandy, Greg and Charles, revealing that it was he who shot the professor, who had refused his offer to make a profit out of their discovery.
Fenn and Grogan lock them up with Charles' father, but as they ponder on what to do with them, the octopus from earlier attacks and begins to tear the ship apart. Daniels is crushed by the statue, while everyone else escapes by life boat.
Adrift, Charles jokes “We'll just have to be better prepared next time”.
- Doug McClure as Greg Collinson
- Peter Gilmore as Charles Aitken
- Shane Rimmer as Captain Daniels
- Lea Brodie as Delphine
- Hal Galili as Grogan
- John Ratzenberger as Fenn
- Derry Power as Jacko
- Michael Gothard as Atmir
- Daniel Massey as Atraxon
- Cyd Charisse as Atsil
- Robert Brown as Captain Briggs
- Donald Bisset as Professor Aitken
The film was the fourth action-fantasy collaboration between Kevin Connor and Doug McClure. The first three were made by Amicus Productions who had then wound up so this movie was made at different studio. A large amount of footage was shot on the island of Gozo.
Andrew Smith at Popcorn Pictures praised the film for its nostalgia value, calling it a "Z-grade fantasy filmmaking at its most innocent and charming."
The film was the 15th most successful movie in the UK in 1978.
The novelisation by Paul Victor was published in 1978, as a tie-in to the film, by Futura Publications Limited. Told entirely from the point of view of Greg Collinson, it follows the movie more or less faithfully. Notable changes, however, include the addition of a fourth crew member, Chuck, and the attack by flying fish — which in the film occurs as the surface-dwellers are escaping across the causeway — happens much earlier during their approach to Vaar.
- Alexander Walker, National Heroes: British Cinema in the Seventies and Eighties, Harrap, 1985 p 195
- Ed. Allan Bryce, Amicus: The Studio That Dripped Blood, Stray Cat Publishing, 2000 p 152
- Warlords of Atlantis (1978) Review Popcorn Pictures