Shipwrecked on an uninhabited island, Robinson Crusoe fills his time in either building a shelter for himself, or by reminiscing about the years he spent at sea and the adventures that led ...
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Shipwrecked on an uninhabited island, Robinson Crusoe fills his time in either building a shelter for himself, or by reminiscing about the years he spent at sea and the adventures that led him to where he is. The months roll by and the hardships become easier, especially with his herd of wild goats, the ship's dog and a friendly parrot to keep him company. But one day he comes across a strange footprint - friend or foe? Written by
"A dot on the map but it holds a large place in my heart"
This one is part of me. I can't view this without my rose-tinted spectacles at hand – I was of the UK generation that grew up watching this on BBC1 throughout the '60's. The first episode of the 13 part series was first broadcast on Tuesday 5.0pm 12th October 1965 the whole series being multi-repeated, the last showing I remember watching was in Summer 1975. I also remember it was on in the mornings before coverage of the Olympic Games in 1972 – except the school holidays finished with a couple of parts still to go – and someone at the BBC got paid for such expert planning!
This version of Defoe's story of Robinson Crusoe was French filmed in the Canary Islands in 1964 and is admirably told with flashbacks, narration and occasional dubbing into English. Crusoe's adventures include travelling to sea, getting enslaved by Arabs, becoming a big Brazilian capitalist, getting shipwrecked and on 16th September 1697 stranded on a desert island for over 6 years or 5.5 hours running time. During his stay he (and we) learn how to do many many things: keeping a goat in a baobab tree, killing and cooking a bird, checking the size of canoes before building them, joinery and tailoring etc – but most important by the end of the journey he's a more decent man. The death of faithful Dick almost traumatised a generation and left me heartbroken back then, the beautiful scenes still get to me in grizzled middle age. I suppose it's the introduction of Friday into the story and Crusoe's initial attitude to him which are faithful to the book that would cause the biggest problems to a lot of serious people nowadays (more than the b&w film and Lee Payant's marvellous narration) and probably is the reason why it will never be shown again on any of our wonderfully diverse UK TV channels. It's a shame because it means generations since have missed out and that unless they buy the DVD kids and adults of all races will miss the best filmed version of the story.
I haven't even mentioned the music! The tunes composed for the English version were knockout, utterly memorable and even though repeated endlessly throughout the series they never pall. I recommend anyone interested to bypass the current set of TV taste-setters and go and get these five and a half hours of middlebrow brilliance!
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