Review: Atlantis: The Lost Continent / The Power
0 / 5 Stars
Writer, producer and director George Pal made great strides in the genres of science fiction and fantasy in films of the 1950's and 60's, involved in such classics as When Worlds Collide (1951), The War of the Worlds (1953), The Time Machine (1960) and both films included on this release from Film Score Monthly. Atlantis: The Lost Continent, directed by Pal, tells the story of a Greek fisherman returning a native Atlantean woman to her homeland of Atlantis, with music by Russell Garcia. Pal then produced The Power, which follows two men with the power telekinesis, one who is hunting the other, the film scored by Golden Age giant Miklos Rozsa.
The disc begins with Garcia's score for Atlantis, a rich, thematic affair as expected from this period in film, from the film’s expansive scope and due to the talents of Mr. Garcia. The "Main Title" opens with a crash and continues into a sweeping main theme in the strings with striking brass and percussion accents. This is followed by the impressionistic "Mermaids", full of undulating harps and woodwinds, led by a solo oboe line, which then becomes a silky secondary theme in the strings, something of a love theme. This theme is heard again on oboe in "Exit / Antilla / Market Place", which also contains a flavorful, percussive, Eastern dance cue. "Happy Chase" and "Stolen Boat" are short cues which both contain active high strings and woodwinds in a brisk tempo.
The first sign of ominous danger arrives in "The Bargain / Pillars of Hercules" when the low brass punch into the mix suddenly. Queasy strings begin "Lost / Hallucinations", highlighted by vibraphone to add to the overwhelming feeling of disorientation, then agitated ascending and descending harp and string patterns add to the tension. Up next in sequence is the lengthiest track so far, "Love Scene / Submarine Scene", recapitulating the secondary theme from "Mermaids" in various, sonorous guises, but with some threatening horns in counterpoint midway through. The tide turns more active at this point as the strings become choppy and the horns more insistent with the theme from the "Main Title". And then the arrival at "Atlantis" is heralded with as much force as the brass and percussion can muster in a strident tone, a welcome echo of the power of the "Main Title". The score then moves quickly into dangerous territory for "Kidnapped / Slavery", which has a short of action followed up uneasy strings, similar to what was heard in "Lost / Hallucinations".
Both "Anger / The Temple" and "Fanfares" bring back the brass in a big, heraldic fashion again, though the former also includes a more sensitive reading of the main theme in strings. "Fight with Giant" is an 3 minute plus action highlight of the score, full of swirling textures, grounded low brass and staccato trumpets. The main theme is again expanded upon in positive tones for "Work Montage / Manimal", before it turns mysterious in the flutes and harp. And speaking of harps, the instrument has a pleasant, flowing to start the next track, "Harps / Rejected / Proposal" when it is interrupted by brass outbursts, which then lead into softer material centered on the secondary theme appears again. "Rebellion and Murder / Search / Trumpets" begins in a great panic, with horns and percussion tumbling across each other. The mood shifts to undulating harps and strings, then both main and secondary themes make brief, desperate appearances before bright trumpet calls end the track. The score closes with more dramatic orchestral fury in "Stabs / Rumbles / Madness" and "Prayer / Justice / Miracle", but in the final minutes the chaos subsides, the main theme gets a reverent reading in horns, woodwinds and strings which builds to a swelling, positive crescendo close.
The remainder of the album is filled out by selections of Rozsa's score for The Power, which begins with a strong yet jagged and ferocious "Prelude". The Hungarian cimbalom provides extra instrumental color. The main theme heard here later receives a powerful, sorrowful expansion in "Gypsy Eyes (Theme from The Power)", with again a strong Hungarian flavor in the solo violin complemented by the cimbalom. The panicked, neurotic quality continues into "First Manifestation / Hallison Dies / Death In The Centrifuge" with choppy strings, xylophone and staccato brass spiraling about wildly. The cimbalom leads us into "The Merry-Go-Round", which quickly becomes something akin to a gleefully angry carousel tune, with the tempo pumping and the orchestra spinning ferociously.
The mood calms in "Viva L'Amour", a track which is highlighted by a guitar duo in a Spanish mold. Delicious dark atmosphere and great panicked ferocity dominate the remainder of the score presented, such as in both "Nocturnal Visit / Attack" and "Disappointment / Pursuit", while the main theme lashes out boldly in "Adam Hart / Transformation". It is resolved in "The Killer Killed / The End / End Cast", in surging string, brass and piano figures, then into both a major key and jagged paranoid reading of the main theme in a tense close.
Both scores are strong works for the genre, though they might be found overdramatic by fans of the current scoring climate. They are rich and varied orchestral powerhouses, but I do have to give the slight edge of memorability to The Power, which I found highly intoxicating in its melancholy, frantic manic depressive quality. Kudos to both Garcia, Rozsa and Film Score Monthly.
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