Two officers of the French Foreign Legion marooned in the Sahara Desert stumble upon the lost civilization of Atlantis in today’s Trillion Dollar Movie. This version of the oft-told fantasy adventure, shot in 1949, casts sultry Maria Montez as the lustful Queen Antinea of Atlantis. Montez never looked as glowing, although in a true departure, her beauty isn’t showcased in radiant colors, as this was a low-budget, black-and-white production — a step down from her days as Universal’s most exotic starlet.
She’s a vixen who treats her lovers as playthings, subjecting them to sundry mind games, before discarding them and moving on to her next victims. A la Goldfinger, she gold-plates her conquests and puts them on display in her own private gallery, where they are entombed and enshrined for all eternity. The story is reminiscent of H. Rider Haggard’s classic She, but the original source is Pierre Benoit’s 1919 novel L’Atlantide.
Siren of Atlantis has some strange jumps in its plotting, but it’s a fascinating relic, combining elements of campy escapism with the darker psychological twists commonplace in the noir thrillers popular at that time. Jean-Pierre Aumont, Montez’s real-life husband, plays one of the French adventurers, and Henry Daniel is snarling and amorally good, as always, as one of the villains. Hope you enjoy and do return again next Friday for another Trillion $ Movie.