Heading for a newly inherited island, the boys are shipwrecked and marooned on an atoll which has just emerged from the sea. Along with their cook, a stowaway and a girl who is fleeing her ... See full summary »
Heading for a newly inherited island, the boys are shipwrecked and marooned on an atoll which has just emerged from the sea. Along with their cook, a stowaway and a girl who is fleeing her fiancé, they set up their own government on the atoll. Uranium is discovered and world powers begin fighting over ownership of the island. Written by
Herman Seifer <email@example.com>
Not since Bette Davis's 1933 vehicle "Ex-Lady" have I seen a film that was so much better than its star said it was! Most of the bum rap "Atoll K," a.k.a. "Utopia," a.k.a. "Robinson Crusoeland," a.k.a. "Escapade" has got over the years has come from the horror stories Stan Laurel told of its production. Given that he suffered a stroke during filming, looked like death warmed over through much of it (from the opening two-shot of them together you'd never guess that Laurel survived Hardy by eight years) and was subsequently diagnosed with diabetes (once he adjusted his diet accordingly he restored himself to health), one can understand why Laurel didn't think this film was the most pleasant experience of his life. Yes, it's flawed: the cheapness of the production shows through, the dubbing is awful and Laurel and Hardy were too old to do the energetic slapstick of their greatest films. But it's still genuinely funny, and Léo Joannon's story introduces elements of political satire (sometimes libertarian, sometimes communalist) one would expect to see from more socially conscious comedians like Chaplin or the Marx Brothers but never from Laurel and Hardy. The film deserves credit for being different (though its debt to the Ealing Studios' classic "Passport to Pimlico," made just a year earlier, is pretty obvious) and for integrating the Laurel and Hardy comedy into a rather edgy context completely different from anything they'd used before. This isn't a great movie, but it's certainly better than the eight dreary ones for Fox and MGM they'd made in the early 1940's. I suspect only the film's technical crudity kept it from earning the cult following among anti-establishment baby-boomer youth the Marx Brothers' "Duck Soup" acquired in the late 1960's/early 1970's.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?