Atlantida (novel)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Atlantida (L'Atlantide) is a French novel by Pierre Benoit published in February 1919. It was translated into English in 1920 as Atlantida. L'Atlantide was Benoit's second novel, following Koenigsmark, and it won the Grand Prize of the French Academy. The English translation of the book was photo-reprinted in the twenty-first century as "Queen of Atlantis".

Plot summary

It is 1896 in the Sahara. Two officers, André de Saint-Avit and Jean Morhange investigate the disappearance of their fellow officers. While doing so, they are drugged and kidnapped by a Tarqui warrior, the procurer for the monstrous Queen Antinea. Antinea, descendant of the rulers of Atlantis, has a cave wall with the 120 niches carved into it, one for each of her lovers. Only 53 have been filled; when all 120 have been filled, Antinea will sit atop a throne in the center of the cave and rest forever.

Saint-Avit is unable to resist Antinea's charms. Under her will, he murders the asexual Morhange. Ultimately, he is able to escape and get out of the desert alive.

Plagiarism case

In October 1919, literary critic Harry Magden alleged that Benoit, in writing L'Atlantide, had plagiarised H. Rider Haggard's She and The Yellow God. Benoit sued for libel, and lost.

Film adaptations

The first film adaptation of L'Atlantide was made in 1920 (and released in 1921), directed by Jacques Feyder.

Over 1932-1933, famed German film director Georg Wilhelm Pabst made three films based on the novel, one each in German, English, and French (this was common in the early to mid-1930s) They were titled Die Herrin von Atlantis, The Mistress of Atlantis, and L'Atlantide, respectively.

The Italian-made peplum film Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide (1961), directed by Vittorio Cottafavi, drew heavily on the plot and characters of the book, having Queen Antinea capture Hercules and his companion Androcles, and imprisoning them in her red-lined underground palace. Androcles takes the Saint-Avit role and tries to murder Hercules, who (unsurprisingly) is able to resist Antinea's wiles and eventually saves the day. The film incorporates an anti-nuclear theme and has been praised by critics as one of the better pepla. However its alternative US title - Hercules and the Captive Women - makes clear the audience it was expected to attract.

In 1992, another film adaptation of the novel was made, directed by Bob Swaim and starring Tchéky Karyo, Jean Rochefort, Anna Galiena, and the famous Spanish actor, Fernando Rey.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Atlantida (novel)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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