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Paradise Lagoon (1957)
"The Admirable Crichton" (original title)

 -  Comedy  -  16 December 1957 (USA)
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Reviews: 15 user | 9 critic

Lord Loam has modern ideas about his household; he believes in treating his servants as his equals - at least sometimes. His butler, Crichton, still believes that members of the serving ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (play), 1 more credit »
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Title: Paradise Lagoon (1957)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eliza - Tweeny
Cecil Parker ...
Martita Hunt ...
Lady Emily Brocklehurst
Jack Watling ...
Peter Graves ...
Gerald Harper ...
Mercy Haystead ...
Miranda Connell ...
Miles Malleson ...
Eddie Byrne ...
Joan Young ...
Mrs. Perkins
Brenda Hogan ...
Peter Welch ...


Lord Loam has modern ideas about his household; he believes in treating his servants as his equals - at least sometimes. His butler, Crichton, still believes that members of the serving class should know their place and be happy there. But when the Loam family are shipwrecked on a desert island with the self-reliant Crichton and lady's maid Tweeny, the class system is put to the test. Written by George S. Davis <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's a howl from A to TEA!




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Release Date:

16 December 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Paradise Lagoon  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.96 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "The Admirable Crichton" by J.M. Barrie opened at the Lyceum Theater on November 17, 1903, ran for 144 performances with William Gillette {famous for his Sherlock Holmes plays and portrayal} in the title role. The play was revived on Broadway in 1931. See more »


When land is first sighted, Tweeny has only one arm on the oar when the binoculars are passed to Crichton. In the next shot, when Crichton is looking through the binoculars, she has both arms on the oar. See more »


Lady Brocklehurst: George... Listen when anyone begins to answer with "The fact is... "
Brocklehurst: But why, mother?
Lady Brocklehurst: Because that is, usually, the beginning of a lie.
See more »


Version of The Admirable Crichton (1968) See more »


I Wouldn't Leave My Little Wooden Hut For You
Written by Charles Collins and Tom Mellor
See more »

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User Reviews

J.M. Barrie's ADMIRABLE CRICHTON keeps afloat admirably
5 December 2010 | by (Bolton, Ct./Jersey City, NJ; United States) – See all my reviews

J.M. Barrie's 1902 play, THE ADMIRABLE CRICHTON, illogically and crudely renamed for its U.S. release PARADISE LAGOON in reference to the setting of Barrie's transformative second and third (of four) acts, treats such universal themes of natural leadership that it may well be one of the most successfully copied - dare one say plagiarized? - plots extant. It has been speculated that Barrie himself filched the idea of a group of privileged persons stranded on a deserted island from an 1896 German play, ROBINSON'S EILAND, where a secretary emerges as the leader.

In 1947, French playwright Andre Roussin (claiming to trace his story from a 1921 Catalan play, NEVERTHELESS CIVILIZED) reduced Barrie's assortment of shipwrecked privileged Britons and their servants to a mere handful to focus on one romantic triangle but retained Barrie's essential structure for his THE LITTLE HUT which proved almost as successful (and as frequently filmed) as the Barrie classic on both sides of the Atlantic. From 1964 to 1967, CBS Television in the U.S. mined essentially the same territory (if decidedly Americanized - transmuting a failed South Seas cruise to a disastrous "three hour cruise" out of Hawaii and reducing the sexual competition to favor the status/qualification competition humor which could be infinitely stretched out) with a situation comedy called GILLIGAN'S ISLAND.

While this 1957 (British) Columbia Pictures adaptation of the Barrie play inexplicably softens the overt sexual competition on the island for Kenneth More's Crichton's attentions between "name" performer Sally Ann Howes' Lady Mary and second billed Diane Cilento as the lower class "Tweenie" (a maid in training), it admirably presents the essentials of Barrie's play with the "perfect" British butler holding his "master's" household together both in England and on an isolated South Sea isle - while exploring how different qualities may bring different people to the fore under different circumstances.

The always perfect foil Cecil Parker as Lord Loam is excellent as the titular head of the British household who becomes a better man as he naturally falls into Crichton's role on the island and suffers great pangs when "normality" is restored on their return home. As uniformly solid as the entire cast is however, for many the standout performance will be Martita Hunt's (Lady Bracknell influenced) Lady Brocklehurst - a clear homage from Barrie to Oscar Wilde's greatest play, the 1895 IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Lady Brocklehurst, protecting her "family name" before allowing her son to announce his engagement to Lady Mary, is determined to find out what *really* happened on the island. Her questioning - and the comic obfuscation which parries it - is right up there with Lady Bracknell's inquisition of Earnest prior to his engagement to Cecily in Wilde.

The final curtain of the film nicely preserves the tension for the audience Barrie wished as to how Crichton will actually wind up. It is said that Barrie himself toyed with an alternate ending with Crichton ending up in a more "romantic" liaison. Barrie came to the conclusion however, that his audience "would not stand it." It's hard to say today

  • either way it's a warm, bittersweet finish fully worthy of the
journey getting there.

It is also worth noting that the recent British DVD reissue of the film restores Kenneth More to the cover - the previously most available VHS release mistakenly boasted the handsomer supporting player (as the author Ernest Wooley) Gerald Harper on its cover as the "admirable Crichton" - at the moment a rescuing ship is sited. That "pan and scan" Columbia/Tristar VHS Home Video release also only offered the U.S. "PARADISE LAGOON" release, even though clearly labeled THE ADMIRABLE CRICHTON (the better known original title).

Either way, it's well worth a look - and inexcusable that this classic isn't more readily available for broad viewing today.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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