Atlas (film)

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Original film poster using extensive artistic license
Directed by Roger Corman
Produced by Roger Corman
Written by Charles B. Griffith
Starring Michael Forest
Frank Wolff
Music by Ronald Stein
Distributed by Filmgroup
Release dates
  • May 1961 (1961-05)
Running time
79 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $108,804.75[1]

Atlas is a 1961 action-adventure Peplum film directed by Roger Corman, filmed in Greece. Corman's regular screenwriter Charles B. Griffith wanted to title the film Atlas, the Guided Muscle based on the first American intercontinental ballistic missile the SM-65 Atlas.[2]


The hero Atlas fights against the evil king Proximates.



With the massive international popularity of Hercules, Roger Corman thought he would make his own entry in the sword and sandal genre with a film shot in Greece instead of Italy. Corman's original plan was for an epic film in wide screen and colour to be released initially on a roadshow circuit by his Filmgroup organisation instead of Filmgroup's usual black and white double features.[3] Corman used two actors he had made several films with, Michael Forest and Frank Wolff.

Independent producer Vion Papamichelis agreed to put up half the budget, around $40,000. Corman hired Charles Griffith, who was living in Tel Aviv, and gave him four weeks to write the script. Griffith went on to work as production manager, assistant director, writer and extra on the film.[4]

Corman's schemes changed when his Greek partner did not come through with the promised funds, leading Corman to rapidly find new American investors. Corman was also led to believe a donation in the right place would ensure 500 Greek soldiers fully costumed and equipped as extras for his massive army. Only 50 turned up, leading Corman to rapidly change his original screenplay to use a smaller group of soldiers.[4]

Corman managed to complete his film, shot in ruins around Athens such as the Parthenon with sequences shot at UCLA with Dick Miller [5] and Roger Corman himself as soldiers. Corman was able to use stock footage from Universal's Sign of the Pagan. Despite these problems, Corman was able to complete the film for US $108,000 rather than the planned $100,000 budget.


  1. ^ Fred Olen Ray, The New Poverty Row: Independent Filmmakers as Distributors, McFarland, 1991, p 42-43
  2. ^ p.165 McGilligan, Patrick Charles B. Griffith Interview Backstory 3: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1960s University of California Press, 12/05/1997
  3. ^ pp. 42–43 Ray, Fred Olen The New Poverty Row: Independent Filmmakers As Distributors McFarland, 01/11/1991
  4. ^ a b Roger Corman & Jim Jerome, How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never lost a Dime, Muller, 1990 p 108-110
  5. ^ p. 55 Weaver, Tom Michael Forest Interview I Was a Monster Movie Maker: Conversations with 22 SF and Horror Filmmakers McFarland, 2001

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