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Víctor Manuel Mendoza
On 30 September 1659, the aristocratic British Robinson Crusoe's ship sinks and he miraculously survives on a deserted island somewhere in South America. He retrieves a dog, Rex, and cat, Sam, from the shipwreck together with some supplies, weapons, clothes and tools and builds a shelter. He soon learns how to survive by cooking, farming, harvesting the crops. Then the loneliness begins to haunt him, especially after the loss of Rex. When he sees a group of cannibals in the island, tension and fear become part of his life. Later he saves the life of a savage that was going to be eaten by the cannibals; he names him Friday and they become friends. When Robinson Crusoe sees Caucasians on the island, he finds that Captain Oberzo was the victim of a mutiny and he helps him to retrieve his ship.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The three lead actors all died in 2005. See more »
Two different cats are used that look nothing alike to play the same cat. Sam, the cat he rescues from the shipwreck is a calico. By the time they reach shore, Sam has somehow transformed into a gray and white tabby and remains that way throughout the rest of the movie. See more »
How wrong I had been. Friday was as loyal a friend as any man could want. With his many different skills he enriched my life on the island. We had found that two working together could do much more than working separately.
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Of the many great films Luis Bunuel was involved with, ROBINSON CRUSOE is perhaps his most neglected, but in my view, it is one of his very best movies. Defoe's story of an emissary of white, Christian civilisation suddenly alone in the universe and having to fend for himself, is a wonderful metaphor from which to explore the human condition and spirit, thrust into a world in which, if there is a God, he is seemingly powerless to help or intervene.
As Crusoe returns to his roots, he becomes more and more at one with Nature and his own nature, until the yearned for contact with a fellow human being, provokes fear and terror when it appears likely to happen. But, although his own fear means that his initial treatment of Friday is harsh and cruel, the enslavement of a fellow human being enables Crusoe to see how depraving and corrupting such vile practices are, and eventually he and Friday become friends and comrades, but only when Crusoe realises he must give Friday total and unconditional freedom.
The film contains some of Bunuel's most potent cinema: the feverish dream sequence where Crusoe's father chides him for his adventurous, and, therefore, "wayward" spirit; the scene where he is so desperate to hear another human voice he goes to the Valley of the Echo and shouts a Psalm, and then walks in despair into the sea until his torch is extinguished by the waves; and the final scene where, leaving the island at last with Friday, he looks back for the last time, and hears the ghostly echo of his faithful, but long since dead dog, Rex, barking...
Shot in Pathécolor, some of the scenes are beautiful, whilst others could be improved upon, but the sheer drama and intellectual engagement it provides overcome such minor technical faults, and the whole is wonderfully enhanced by a first-rate score by Anthony Collins and Luis Breton. Dan O'Herlihy as Crusoe carries the entire film, and was quite rightly nominated as "Best Actor" for this role at the 1954 Academy Awards. It is perhaps Bunuel at his most laid-back and subtle, but, believe me, watched in the right frame of mind, (which means forgetting all your preconceptions about the well-known story), it packs as much punch as any of his films. A rare and beautiful gem that is well worth searching out.
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