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Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 19 August 1932 (USA)
Yachtsman Steve Drexel bets his friends that he can swim ashore on a remote south-seas island with nothing but a toothbrush and be 'living the life of Riley' when they return. With handmade... See full summary »


(as Edward Sutherland)


(story) (as Elton Thomas), (adaptation) (as Tom Geraghty)

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Complete credited cast:
William Belmont
Earle Browne ...
Prof. Carmichale


Yachtsman Steve Drexel bets his friends that he can swim ashore on a remote south-seas island with nothing but a toothbrush and be 'living the life of Riley' when they return. With handmade implements the lighthearted, athletic Steve improbably builds a comfortable home with all amenities...and local fauna trained to help him! Meanwhile, a grass-skirted young lady flees an unwelcome wedding on a nearby island. Steve calls her Saturday, but what is he to do with her? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


DOUG. FAIRBANKS in a Modern Comedy-Romance That Seethes With Laughs and Action!


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Release Date:

19 August 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tropical Knight  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD) | (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Composer Alfred Newman recycled the main theme from "Mr. Robinson Crusoe" for another South Seas-set film, "The Hurricane," in 1937. To promote that film, the theme was adapted into a pop song, "Moon of Manakoora," which became a major hit for Bing Crosby. See more »


Referenced in Have You Got Any Castles? (1938) See more »


Fight On
(1922) (uncredited)
Written by Milo Sweet and Glen Grant
See more »

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User Reviews

Doug Is At It Again
4 May 2003 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A wealthy American bets his buddies he can act like MR. ROBINSON CRUSOE and stay quite happily all alone for several months on a deserted South Seas Island.

The Silent Era's greatest adventure star, Douglas Fairbanks, makes a brief return to his glory days in this lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek film which has become unfortunately obscure. With an original story by Elton Thomas (Doug's pseudonym) this was one of only four talkie films which would star Fairbanks; he also acted as producer. Released in some venues as a silent film - which explains the long sections without direct dialogue - the movie would give Doug one last bite at that particular apple.

Ever the affable good fellow, 49-year-old Doug is still agile as a cat and his innocent flirtation with lovely Maria Alba, his 22-year-old Spanish co-star , isn't too mawkish even though he's easily old enough to be her father. Miss Alba's first scene, however, quickly reminds the viewer of the movie's pre-Code standing.

Location filming in Fiji, Samoa & Tahiti are certainly big benefits to the story. Doug made sure the plot gave him the sort of scenes he loved to play: fanciful (all the wonderful contrivances & contraptions which make his tree house more comfortable) and exciting (Fairbanks gets to match wits against an entire tribe of headhunters).

Although sometimes rather intrusive, Alfred Newman's score is still richly evocative of the South Seas. He would later rework some of the melodies for even greater effect in THE HURRICANE (1937).

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