Paradise Lagoon (1957) Poster

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8/10
Awesome!
thehumanduvet20 October 2000
Wow what a great film, I can't believe this isn't considered one of the great classics of all time! More is perfect as Crichton, super-butler (and inspiration for the Red Dwarf character), who takes charge when the nice(-ish) but (very) dim family he serves are shipwrecked. Lots of hilarity in the early stages - (especially the classy dialog between Crichton and the ship's captain - "Will she sink?", "Not unless the engine blows up" (BOOM) "What, like that?" - hilarious), then a really nicely worked role-reversal sequence after they have settled in to their island paradise (although the whole "guv"-"daddy" thing sounds a bit strained and weird). Some interesting ideas about people's roles in society, the importance of leadership and heirarchy, in a gorgeous looking movie, with beautiful people in lovely period/desert island clothing, stunning scenery and a great beachhouse rivalling Swiss Family Robinson's. All the characters blossom under the sun and question their own attitudes and status in life, and show some really eye-opening attitudes (for the time) as the blokes start getting frisky. Poor little Tweeny's predicament nearly had me in tears! Looks like it's heading for a sad ending but works out almost lovely, a really enjoyable, heartwarming adventure/romance yarn with a nice chunk of social commentary and toff-bashing thrown in. Thoroughly recommended to anyone who likes a bit of old-fashioned, old-world entertainment now and again.
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7/10
J.M. Barrie's ADMIRABLE CRICHTON keeps afloat admirably
eschetic-25 December 2010
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.
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7/10
The Governor and The Daddy.
hitchcockthelegend30 March 2009
The Admirable Crichton is an adaptation of J.M. Barrie's role reversal play, taking pot shots at the British class system and starring Kenneth More in the title role, it's something of a little treasure. Basically the plot sees Butler supreme Crichton become the governor of the desert island that he, and the toff family he serves, have been shipwrecked upon. The point being that these rich toffs, tho basically good people, are ill equipped to fend for themselves in the cold hard world. Crichton of course is well prepared for this new life forced upon them. He can cook, swim, catch fish, even start a fire, which none of the rich folk are capable of doing! We are of course asked to suspend a modicum of disbelief, I mean there are four sexy babes on this island and all of them start to fancy Crichton! Yes it's that sort of film folks. But it's a real well told story that is acted with fine skill, particularly from More and the infectious Cecil Parker as Lord Loam, whilst red blooded men such as myself get the benefit of some rather pretty looking ladies, especially Sally Ann Howes as Lady Mary. The ending is never really in doubt, but you know what, in this type of picture I didn't want it any other way. Highly recommended escapism. 7/10
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10/10
Attractively done, with humour and social commentary combined.
KT-3113 September 1999
What a delightful comedy of a type we are not likely to see made today. Although almost 50 years old, it hardly crowds the boundaries of political correctness, certainly does not trample them - not easy to accomplish today.

Crichton, the title and leading character, having achieved the proud position of being an English butler, demonstrates very clearly to us that this is a responsible, demanding post requiring many skills.

This delightful character quickly and confidently moves from a Victorian English, aristocratic home where he comfortably serves the English upper class, to an isolated tropical island where they serve him!

Kenneth More plays this part so well that we never doubt that such a complete reversal of roles would be possible.

Cecil Parker is wonderful as the seemingly ineffective, yet charming aristocrat, "Daddy". He completes the change by becoming a reasonable servant - not quite up to the demands of a butler's position, more like a valet to More's "Gov" (Governor).

Lightly, yet firmly, poking fun at the class system. With a clear message of self-worth deriving from talents, skills and effort, rather than birth.

The colour, humour, and pace of this movie make it one that the whole family can watch and enjoy.
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7/10
The Admirable Crighton - 1957 Columbia Pictures
firehouse521 May 2005
This movie pokes fun at the English class system, using a shipwrecked cast as a backdrop. Kenneth More plays a typically English Butler with plenty of savvy, and reverses roles with his Master, Lord Loam, played rather nicely by Cecil Parker. More's character shows wit and some creativity in adverse circumstances, and is charmingly played. Kenneth More looks distinguished in a dinner jacket however on the island scenes, he actually was photographed from the waist up, to disguise the fact that he was wearing shorts to help him deal with the heat on location. Great movie, and one I would very much like to own a copy of. If anyone knows how I might obtain one, please get in touch. My e-mail is firehouse5@gmail.com.
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10/10
Perfect segue from stage to screen
syralex200316 January 2006
The stand out performance in the Admirable Crichton has to be Cecil Parker. His comic twitches and compromised authority are hilarious. This take on the British class system never has a dull moment: a perfect segue from stage to screen.

Just to see Kenneth More morph into Parker's role on the island is a delight. And More does make a fine egalitarian 'gov'!

Australia's own Diane Cilento and Sally Anne Howes are very well cast. Sally Anne has a wonderful chaste reserve and to see her come out on the island as self sufficient and loving under the tutelage of More is priceless.

But tracking down a copy of this film was very difficult. I found an excellent DVD in America which was the English version, not Paradise Lagoon.
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Quaint but enjoyable comedy on the class system
bob the moo12 May 2003
In 1904 the Loam house is one of the most prodigious in all England. The head butler of the household is Crichton, who knows his place and is keen to keep the staff downstairs despite his labour-voting master's support of the absurd idea of all men as equal. On a cruise of the South Seas the family and Crichton become ship wrecked and the social standards that once controlled the families are no more and the castaways soon realise the value of a useful man.

I watched this by pure chance and, judging by the number of votes on imdb against this title, it appears that few other people have sought this film out. This is a retelling of J.M. Barrie's role reversal comedy and, although not without it's flaws, it is quite an enjoyable and thought provoking tale. The plot is simple in that the film looks at the class system in the UK and switches it in a situation where practicality and leadership qualities mean more than birthright. Sadly in the UK we have historically had a class system that has decided from birth who you will be when you grow up – if you're father was a Lord then you shall be too and so forth. That is the situation here and it is amusing to it switched when the island has no such system and eventually everyone settles into one based on merit and ability rather than birthright.

The film has a few digs at the ruling classes in the final 20 minutes, showing them as pompous and perhaps not as honourable as they should be, meanwhile Crichton lives up to the character given him by the film's title. It is actually quite sad when the film returns to England because in this one man you do get to see the crushing and enslaving effect that the class system has on those born into the lower reaches of it. The comedy is rarely hilarious but is amusing throughout – especially before the social switch occurs. It may feel a little old fashioned now but it is pretty light and enjoyable. If it does have a flaw it is that the jump between social status is sudden and not phased in slowly – I know the film had limited time but it was a little hard to swallow all at once. Also, on return to England the film loses a little of it's sharpness and enjoyment value.

Moore is perfectly cast as the unflappable butler Crichton he is perfect but as someone who knows his place, but also convinces as someone whom is a born leader regardless of birth right. Parker plays Loam spot on and the support cast are all well played if a little unmemorable in the odd spot.

Overall this is a quaint little film that makes a very good point. Although we are a classless society by comparison to the events in this film, class and birthright still play a big part in deciding what you'll become in later life in the UK. This is an amusing film with still a thoughtful message.
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7/10
Nice but not too faithful to JM Barrie's play
overseer-314 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A remake of the superior silent version starring beautiful Gloria Swanson and handsome, rugged Thomas Meighan, Male and Female (1919 - available on legitimate DVD off Amazon) this 1957 version pales in comparison to the older film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. This version stars Kenneth More, Diane Cilento, and Sally Ann Howes as the principal leads, and while they are cute in their roles none of them compare to the acting abilities of the silent film cast, who gave great subtlety and irony and sexuality to their roles. If a viewer liked this nice but rather weak version of James M. Barrie's classic play then the viewer owes it to himself or herself to see the superior silent version; you will love it.

One important aspect of this 1957 film that is totally lacking is the underlying sexual attraction and class friction between Lady Mary and the butler Crichton, which was displayed quite evocatively in the silent version. In the remake, Crichton doesn't seem to be aware of Lady Mary at all sexually until they get to the island, he's all eyes for Tweeny! That wasn't in the original play. In the original play and silent film Crichton treated Tweeny respectfully but also has some disdain for her uncultured ways and speech. In the play and silent version Crichton is much more of a snob himself! Also in the silent version, Crichton never professes he loves Tweeny, and doesn't kiss her. Neither are all the other men attracted to Tweeny on the island in the silent version or in the original play, though Ernest is briefly interested in her in the play.

It seems to me this 1957 version was re-written to give Tweeny (Diane Cilento) a much bigger part than her character was in the original play or silent film. This throws the whole film off kilter and takes away from some of its class distinctions and the romantic relationship and forbidden sexuality between Lady Mary and Crichton.

Even more bizarre, in this version there is no overt jealousy between Tweeny and Lady Mary, no real competition between the two ladies for Crichton! This altered plot device further weakened this version. In the silent version Tweeny literally fought with Lady Mary tooth and nail for Crichton's love and attention, which was far more realistic. In the silent version when the wedding is taking place and a rescue boat is seen in the distance Tweeny is triumphant, grabs Lady Mary's arm and says fiercely, "Do you know what that means, Mary? He's coming back to ME!" There's no equivalent scene like that in the 1957 version. Therefore the rescue doesn't pack the same punch.

The location shoot in Bermuda must have been a difficult one for the cast and crew; it was filmed on a deserted island; whatever modern conveniences they needed they would have had to bring by boat or helicopter. The water and land and sky shots are pretty and I enjoyed seeing the inventions the group came up with to make their lives easier before they were rescued. However the nice location doesn't make up for the fact that the original story has been considerably weakened for this version.

My advice: see the silent version, and even more importantly, read the original play by James Matthew Barrie. It's a great classic.
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7/10
Straightforward Version of a Barrie Classic
l_rawjalaurence4 July 2013
PARADISE ISLAND (UK title THE ADMIRABLE CRICHTON) is a Technicolor version of the old Barrie classic. Filmed by Rank at the height of its studio period, it stars Kenneth More in the eponymous role as the butler who manages to adapt to life on a desert island. More isn't the most obvious personality to play a butler - his breezy screen persona projected a more louche image than that expected of a gentleman in service - but he makes a good stab at the role. He is complemented in the film by Cecil Parker as his employer. A much underrated actor, Parker was extremely good at playing harassed males of a certain vintage - outwardly authoritative yet inwardly insecure. In this production it's clear that he cannot manage without Crichton. Director Lewis Gilbert handles familiar material with élan, making this a satisfying piece of entertainment.
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10/10
Downton Gilligan
gkeith_125 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Downton Abbey. Gilligan's Island. Thought of these as I was watching. Even a crotchety old woman here ala Downtown Abbey. Women gaga for butler. Aristocrat becomes servant. Butler becomes boss. Shades of emerging communism in early twentieth century England. Everyone is equal, comrade. Beautiful Hawaiian royal type wedding gets interrupted by rescue ship. Zounds.
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9/10
Witty and gentle, a lovely film
audiemurph27 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I found myself thinking about "The Admirable Crichton" (aka "Paradise Lagoon") for days after I saw it. I think this is due primarily to the exceptionally tender scenes of romance and affection sprinkled very lightly throughout the film. Kenneth More, as the butler, is a very attractive character: he can be gentle, sometimes slightly rude or standoffish, but never to be mean: he always has everyone else's best interests at heart. The early scene in which he kisses the admiring housemaid Eliza on the yacht is adorably played: not predictably mushy, but rather with a lovely mix of British stiff upper lip and tenderness.

The movie is especially satisfying in the ending (Super Spoiler Alert). Having been returned to civilization, only Sally Ann Howes' Lady Mary wishes that their lives could continue on the same projectory as when they were all still shipwrecked; that is, she still wants to marry More's butler Crichton! At first, More keeps his emotional distance from Lady Mary, acting overly formally in her presence, like in the old days. But the director made a wonderful decision to let the two characters meet in private one last time, to share a deep-felt goodbye hug, as More one last time reminds Lady Mary that their relationship is impossible. She understands, and with this closure is ready to move on. Beautifully done, indeed, and super-satisfying.

In sum, all the cast is spectacular, the constant irony in the film fantastic, the British wit superb, and the characters well delineated.

And finally, we now know where the inspiration for Gilligan's Island must have come from. Such wacky inventions the castaways came up with on the island, I always thought, could only come from the mind of Russell Johnson's "Professor"; but now I know that the butler Bill Crighton was the first to invent a phonograph powered by a water wheel, and a razor made from sharpened clam shells.

Don't miss it.
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7/10
The Importance Of Being Crichton
boblipton21 November 2020
The 1957 version of the classic J.M. Barrie play -- yes, he wrote something besides Peter Pan -- benefits from its opening up, with a lot of shooting in Bermuda. Kenneth More is the butler who, when the yacht sinks, becomes the leader of the aristos by dint of his understanding that work must be done and how to do it; by the time they are unwillingly rescued, he's got the island organized and built up like a Buster Keaton set.

Cecil Parker plays his fuddy-duddy upper-class twit, but here clearly takes pleasure in playing against type in the scenes where he's Kenneth More's manservant. I thought it a bit odd that Diane Cilento played 'Tweenie' and Sally Ann Howes Parker's daughter; were I casting it, I would have switched those roles. Both ladies acquit themselves well. Martitia Hunt has a great small role as Lady Bracknell..... I mean Lady Brocklehurst.
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8/10
Who's The Guvnor?
ygwerin127 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
In searching for this film on IMDb I obviously used its actual title when it was released in Britain, and was surprised not to find it instead locating a mottly collection of TV programmes. Finally I found it but by the different title altogether Paradise Lagoon, no wonder I had trouble locating it under its correct film title. Silly me forgetting that this site IMDb like so many others on the net today, are american predominantly made by and for yanks, with their language or version of English, terms of reference and film titles.

So of course scanning the reviews its scarcely surprising to find that there are references to american TV shows like Gilligans Island, that are barely known this side of the pond. And to see it described as 'also known as The Admirable Crichton' is frankly a bit much.

Back to the film, if I were there I doubt if I'd want to leave such an idyllic location, especially if I'd come from the same social background as Tweeny and Crichton. After all why would I wish to return to being treated as worth less than the dirt on 'my betters' boots?

On the island Englands Class System initially remains intact, with the masters still imagining that they are actually our 'betters'. It's only when Crichton comes to his senses and insists that if they don't like his efforts, that they try and see if they can do any better, things change. It takes having to fend for themselves to start making them see sense, especially when they struggle to provide their own food, while Crichton and Tweeny are doing Okay.

On seeing a ship Crichton didn't need to be laughed at to say "I know my place" and for most of the rest to want to return home to their normal lives.

On returning to 'Civilisation' most of them reverted completely to type with alacrity especially Crichton, they didn't really need to be whipped back to their old ways. Ernest was keen to capitalize on their island experiences by claiming that he had been the leader, creating a fantasy novel out of their lives there. While Lord Loam of course claims all of the credit for himself, as well as all of the leadership qualities.

In 'Normal Society' Lady Brocklehurst proved to be the proverbial fly in the ointment, considering herself to be higher in the aristocratic food chain, she takes it on herself to be the grand inquisitor. She naturally feels in charge and wishes to be assured that nothing untoward occurred on the island, and that the balance of power and of society remained thoroughly intact. The last thing that she could ever tolerate would be that her place in the pecking order is usurped, or that the lower orders would forget their place in her society.

This is a truly classic film with fabulous performances from the stellar cast, Kenneth Moore and Cecil Parker are both on fine form, as are all of the splendid personel. I heartily recommend this excellent film to everyone who enjoys a good flic.
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9/10
"Useful at a Hunt Ball - Invaluable in a shipwreck".
ianlouisiana3 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A Public School education in England at the turn of the 20th century was intended to turn out young men who would prove useful at a Hunt Ball and invaluable in a shipwreck.These particular virtues were also looked for in a Gentleman's Gentleman of the undoubted calibre of Crichton. Barrie's play from which the movie derives caused much hilarity by poking fun at the inability of the English Upper Class to do anything for itself and its total reliance on its servants in order to function to any affect. Whilst this premise is deliciously tempting,it is not actually accurate. Anyone who has served in the armed forces or been at University with the scions of the aristocracy will verify that it is the middle and working class boys who find the most difficulty in fending for themselves and coping with life away from their familiar environment. A prominent Old Etonian,describing conditions at the school around the time "The Admirable Crichton" was set,said thus:-"The lads underwent privations that might have broken down a cabin boy,and would be thought inhuman if inflicted on a galley - slave" Whatever the truth about Crighton's background,he carries with him - as portrayed by Mr K.More - the air of breezy and imperturbable confidence redolent of the Public School Man. Obviously it is he who adapts best and most quickly to the drastic change of circumstances that sees him and his household shipwrecked on a desert island. The above and below stairs roles gradually reverse until Crighton becomes "The Guv'nor". Did Barrie intend his play to be a satire on Colonialism and the Empire as well as the British Class system?Probably not,but it could certainly be read as such a century later. Mr C.Parker is perfect as the bumbling but rather endearing Lord Loam. He and his family are completely dependent on their servants,a situation a less scrupulous butler might exploit,but Crighton maintains the status quo within the altered status quo,as it were. Lewis Gilbert keeps it short,sharp and funny in glorious colour and I should think a lot of really nice people had a lot of fun making it. I must admit I have a weakness for good - humoured pre New Wave British movies with not a Woodbine nor a whippet in sight. There are no back - street abortions,no kickings in dark alleys,no vomiting under strategically - placed lamposts."The Asdmirable Crichton" is all blue sea,blue sky,golden sand and some of the best - loved actors in British movies. Enjoy.
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7/10
Colorful Fun.
rmax30482328 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
From the play by J. M. Barrie. It's not Oscar Wilde but it's in the ball park. There are some cute lines. When the master of the rigidly structured English household (Parker), in a whimsical and strictly temporary pursuit of something resembling equality, orders the servants to attend tea at four o'clock, the butler Crichton (Moore) objects, but Parker snaps back: "I'll soon show you that we're all equal around here. Now do what I tell you!" You have to like Cecil Parker. He brightened the British screens for twenty years -- that stutter, those rolling eyes, the head cocked to the side. Nobody projected embarrassed befuddlement better.

Kenneth Moore is the head butler or whatever the title is -- the maître d'armes or the sommelier -- is far more committed to the maintenance of the proper roles. He observes all the formalities. The afternoon tea to which Parker has invited the servants turns into a complete disaster and, with respect, Moore suggests a vacation in the South Seas on the family yacht. You know, until the scandal blows over. Agreed.

But the yacht sinks in the middle of a howling storm and guests and crew rush into the lifeboats indiscriminately. When the storm clears, we follow the lifeboat with half a dozen mixed survivors, Moore, the maid Diane Cilento, the nobleman Parker and three or four other aristos who object that Moore and Cilento should be in the staff boat.

Before long they land on the sort of uninhabited tropical island that now exists only in movies. (Too many people with private yachts these days, all searching for uninhabited tropical islands.) At first, despite the lush vegetation, beach, and sunshine, it looks a little bleak. They are far from the usual shipping lanes. They might even have to stay all night. "Don't give up, my lady," says Moore to Sally Anne Howes. "How DARE you!", she replies.

The problem is that Moore seems to know how to do everything, such as start a fire with spectacles, while the rest know nothing. Two years pass. A memorial to the supposedly deceased is dedicated in England. But on the island, no one seems to care about being rescued anymore. Moore is now the master and everyone acknowledges it. He's called "Guv" and all the girls have their eyes on him. His erstwhile employer, "Daddy," brings him seaweed tea in the morning.

It's a happy group -- all bronzed and plump, and everyone in his proper place, except that the roles are now reversed, as in Lina Wertmuller's "Swept Away." Diane Cilento is blond, beautiful, and has a mellow throaty voice that sounds somehow organic and ribald. Sally Anne Howes is powerfully attractive too, in a fragile way. She's no longer the pretty teen-ager of "Dead of Night" so one can admire her slender legs without feeling ashamed. It's a touching moment when a ship is sighted and they must reluctantly light the beacon fire. It all ends happily on an elegiac note.
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10/10
Good, entertaining yarn
j-m-mannerings22 March 2007
Non of the gadgets of a Bond movie and with the innocence of a bygone era, this story never fails to entertain me. The acting, within the constraints of the story, was, in the opinion of this amateur, very good.

The story gives hope for the future in that, in spite of upsets and disasters that disturb the orderly life of the time, there is a right and wrong way to correct matters. Politicians have been trying to persuade us for years that they have this insight. If only they had then maybe we would be better off. But that would be Utopia where diligence would be rewarded.

J.M. Barrie certainly rewards the hero's diligence in the tale but not until the uncomfortable story line has been unfolded. Kenneth Moore's Crichton was spot on with showing competent servility and the faults that this entails. The cast made a good entertaining yarn an excellent film.
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6/10
Role reversal served on silver platters of charm
shakercoola6 May 2019
A British comedy about an aristocrat and his haughty British family who become stranded on a desert island with their servants. The pressures of island existence soon result in a reversal of the social order. This is a handsome adaptation, a delightful comedy, charming and fun. Kenneth More is less than fully versatile in his role as the butler knowing and enjoying his place, but he shines in female company. Diane Cilento as maid Eliza proves entertaining, as does Martita Hunt as the grand Lady Brocklehurst. Cecil Parker is also brilliant as the Earl. The story is rather simple, less of a satire and more a gentle assault on the British class system. It is well photographed and colourful with lots of humorous props and a touch of romance which helps move the story along.
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8/10
Cinderella story + Social order turns upside down on tropical island refuge
weezeralfalfa15 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Based upon J.M. Barrie's 1902 stage comedy titled "Admirable Crichton". The 1957 film was released in the UK with the same title, and was a box office success. But, the title was changed for the US release because it was feared that too many people would mistake 'admiral' for 'admirable', and turn away..... The outside shoots were done in Bermuda......One of the main characters is Eliza, often called Tweeny. Tweeny was a commonly used informal title used for young women servants who commonly aided the butler, the cook and/or the housekeeper. In the household of Lord Henry Loam, she was one of a number of maids. However, among the survivors of the demise of Lord Loam's storm-damaged yacht, she was the only female of the servant class in the lifeboat we follow, the other 3 young women being daughters of Lord Loam. It turned out that she was the only woman skilled in cooking under the prevailing primitive conditions. Also, butler Bill Crichton was the only man of the servant class in that lifeboat. When it came to practical survival skills on the deserted south Seas island, he was often the only useful person. Thus, initially, only he was successful at lighting fires, and procuring food. The 3 aristocratic men were pictured as being initially virtually helpless when it came to various basic survival skills. Some of them eventually became proficient at these skills.....Eventually, Crichton is formally acknowledged as 'Governor' and is treated as the alpha male by the others. Crichton dallies with both Tweeny and Loam's daughter Mary. After 2 years on the island, Crichton announces that he and Marry will marry iminnently. However, during the wedding ceremony, a passing British ship is sighted, disrupting the ceremony. Everyone is hesitant to hail the ship, as everyone is now enjoying their stay on the island. However, Crichton acknowledges a general feeling that they should get back to England eventually, and this may be their only chance for a long time. Hence, a bond fire is made , attracking the ship. When the envoys arrive, Crichton has doned his butler uniform and acts the role of butler. Also, it's implied that his romance with Mary is finished, as they are, once again, of different classes. Thus, Tweeny has another chance with Crichton. A complication is that Crichton had collected a series of valuable pearls, and thus can afford more than a butler could normally afford. After the group arrives in the UK, Crichton and Mary resume some romantic talk, now that he is independently wealthy. It's decided that Crichton cannot continue in his butler role in this circumstance. Crichton must now make a choice between Mary and Tweeny. There is a bit of a switcheroo drama here. Among other things, this screenplay is a Cinderella story. It's ironic that Crichton, who always said that the classes should be kept separate, should go along with the turning upside down of the classes while on the island, with Lord Loam serving Crichton breakfast in bed, for example. On the other hand, he did rather distance himself from the others once his new status as the de facto leader of the colony was solidified. It's also ironic that Lord Loam, who was always saying that the aristocracy and servants should be treated as equals, disapproved of daughter Catherine's participation in the women's suffrage. Also, he seemed to be treating Crichton with deference during their time of role reversal..... We only followed the people in one lifeboat, the others having been picked up by a ship and sent to the UK. It seems strange that this ship didn't also sight the liferaft we followed. Also, over time on the island, more things appeared that they couldn't have made themselves. Instead of their clothes wearing out, they seemed to have made new clothes, for example.......Of course, in reality, not all servants or commoners would be as versatile as Crichton, and not all aristocrats would be so lacking in practical skills. These are largely false stereotypes.
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7/10
Reasonably entertaining!
JohnHowardReid6 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Associate producer: Dennis Van Thal. Produced by Ian Dalrymple. A Modern Screen Play Production. A Columbia Picture.

New York opening at the Fine Arts: 14 December 1957. U.S. release: April 1958. U.K. release: 21 July 1957. Australian release: 27 February 1958. 8,399 feet. 93 minutes.

Alternative U.S. release title: PARADISE LAGOON.

SYNOPSIS: Butler takes charge of a shipwrecked yacht party.

NOTES: Other film versions of the Barrie play: In addition to Cecil B. De Mille's Male and Female, there's also a British silent directed by G.B. Samuelson, released early in 1918, using the play's original title. Basil Gill starred as Crichton, Mary Dibley was Lady Mary, while Lennox Pawle played Lord Loam. (Sony market an excellent DVD of this 1957 version).

COMMENT: Reasonably entertaining. The screenwriter no doubt realized that the satire was somewhat dated, so the comedy aspects are not stressed.

Romance and the making-do Robinson Crusoe desert island adventures are uppermost in the writer's mind and the players play it that way with even the climactic Martita Hunt inquisition acted out more for its drama than comedy.

Kenneth More is looking a little old, but the girls are attractive, the cast competent and the direction capable, if somewhat unimaginative.

Aside from some rather obvious special effects and process work, credits are likewise capably serene.

OTHER VIEWS: Not the definitive version, but a most enjoyable one. Mere froth and bubble, it is all most stylishly played (especially by More and Miss Howes), directed with wit, and beautifully in period. — E.V.D.
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7/10
Aristocrats in Paradise.
mark.waltz1 February 2021
Warning: Spoilers
There have been several well made comedies or dramas on the subject of shipwrecks or plane crashes where people from "civilization" discover what it means to really work and create a community. This is one of the better ones, and it's easy to imagine Sherwood Schwartz seeing this and getting ideas for the creative inventions the castaways made on "Gilligan's Island". For example, there's a huge shell that looks like part of an old Victrola, used as you can guess to play records. Even the huts look like something that Ginger and Mary Ann and the Howells would have lived in and decorated as best as they can.

This is the story of the upperclass Loam family and their servants where the head of the family (Cecil Parker) wants to get away when suffragette daughter Mercy Haystead gets into trouble to avoid scandal. She's engaged to the son of the imperious Martita Hunt, the Lady Brackell/Countess of Grantham type whose uppity ways are filled with sardonic wisecracks and an undying sense of propriety. But their being lost at sea makes them declared dead back home, and when they return home, their years away have changed the way that the old upstairs deals with the old downstairs.

Kenneth More is Crichton, the butler, who saves the day and organizes everything on the island, and while there, sensible daughter Sally Anne Howes falls in love with him due to his ability to take charge and make everything run smoothly. It becomes a battle for Crichton between Howes and maid Diane Cilento who has always been in love with him. Their return obviously brings about a bit of scandal and their recalling their unintentional adventure in a way that has truly changed them all for the better.

Colorful both on the South Sea island and that island right across Europe from the English Channel, this is a delightful comedy of manners filled with believable conflict even if some of the situations are a bit far fetched. It is very subtle in its demeanor, and even at their most snobbish, the Loam family obviously enjoys the challenge of having to co-exist with those who have always served them. The imperious Hunt is delightfully funny with her puckered voice making her a force to be reckoned with. Truly a memorable version of J.M. Barrie's play, and a different sort of Neverland.
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7/10
Would you have lighted the beacon....?
CinemaSerf22 January 2021
Many people criticise J.M. Barrie for being far too whimsical with his stories, but there is nothing wrong with some whimsy now and again - and this is a cracking example. The aristocratic "Loam" family set off on their yacht "the Bluebell" for a cruise around the South seas. A storm forces them to abandon ship and they alight on a beautiful desert island where their established, very formal, order is soon re-evaluated - resulting in a pretty comprehensive role-reversal between their butler "Crichton" (Kenneth More) and the entire family led by "Lord Loam" (Cecil Parker) and his daughters who after initially hoping to hold something of their erstwhile rank all realise that they simply must adapt. It's riddled with strong, engaging performances from Sally Ann Howes as the rather aloof "Lady Mary", a superbly loveable "Tweeny" (Diane Cilento) and Martita Hunt is formidable as the "Countess of Brocklehurst". It does take a very genial swipe at the preposterousness of the landed gentry who couldn't tie their own shoelaces, and also at the ridiculousness of the British class system as it most polarised - but it does it in a gently comedic way, and is really quite effective with that - not so underlying - theme. The direction is well paced and there's even a hint of romance... for everyone! If you like the story - try out Cecil B. de Mille's "Male and Female" (1919), but it's not such fun as this flighty, characterful depiction of a good story.
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8/10
Superb classic in colour
Fabulous film with a moral to please all. Great cast, great story, great filming. One for everyone to enjoy and not as hammy as some of these older films. See it and judge for yourself !!
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I saw this movie in the theater many years ago. I...
chezbull2 January 2003
I saw this movie in the theater many years ago. I thought it was great and would like to see it again. Does anyone know if it ever came out in Video, and where can it be rented, or purchased?

I thought the interplay between the rich employer and the servant (who had a much better head on his shoulders), was priceless.

This is a video that I'm sure I would prize in my collection if I could find it.
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10/10
A notable flight of fancy
john-310913 July 2006
Lewis Gilbert's (1957) film, adapted from J.M. Barrie's play by the director, is set on what in English folklore is usually described as a 'desert island'. A 'desert island' is not in fact a desert - as there is always a plentiful supply of fresh water - but is, in fact, merely an island that is deserted.

J.M. Barrie (1860-1937, author of 'Peter Pan') seems to borrow something from Daniel Defoe (1860-1731, author of 'Robinson Crusoe') in placing a titled, shipwrecked family a long way from home where the normal rules of social etiquette do not apply.

Skillfully avoiding institutional racism, J.M. Barrie's story focuses on the English class system and as the story plays out, a natural leader with an impeccable sense of diplomacy emerges.

This is a story that is very well told by the film and has been repeated many times in fact.

The most remarkable factual account of a similar situation comes from the annals of British Airways.

Well before the days of satellite navigation and a reliable infrastructure of ground-based radio beacons, an aircraft took off in North Africa for a flight between Khartoum and Dacca. In those days, like the RAF, a multi-engined airliner carried two pilots and a navigator.

But like these days, there was only so much fuel in the tanks. If the navigator pointed the pilots in the direction of a large desert (where there is never a plentiful supply of running water) they would fly there in good faith.

On this occasion, it was a young cabin steward (who had flown this route a number of times) who meekly alerted the flight crew to the fact that the sun was coming up on the wrong side of the aeroplane.

The navigator didn't know what he'd done wrong; the pilots did their best to land an aircraft, used to asphalt, on the crest of a sand dune. People were injured, but a party of survivors were befriended by nomadic Arabs and found their way to safety.

Up to this point, they were guided by the good judgement and social skill of the young cabin steward.

If you like that story, which is true, then you'll like this film, which is only true figuratively.
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9/10
Kenneth More with his women save a hopeless situation for a bunch of hopeless men.
clanciai25 January 2018
This is much more than just a delightful comedy and positive satire of English society in 1905 put to trial. J.M.Barrie, who wrote "Peter Pan", has succeeded even better here in creating something of an educating parable with great symbolic and philosophical undercurrents. Not only is the acting perfect in this film, Martita Hunt as Mrs Brocklehurst splendidly outshining all the others, Cecil Parker more ridiculous in his incompetence than ever, Diane Cilento shining through all the aristocratic artifice with endearing innocence, and Kenneth More proving himself once more a superior actor to all especially when tried by humiliation.

This hopelessly spoiled family gets stranded on a desert island with their butler and are utterly helpless without him even on that desert island, which they learn to realize, leading to their acknowledgement of his actual competence as they realize their own incompetence and learn something from it. This is Jeeves and Wooster but on a larger scale - they were never stranded on a desert island, and here the women add to the complications, which they seldom do in Wodehouse, as he quite correctly always sees that all trouble in the world actually is caused by men. Here the women save the situation, every one of them, and without them the men would have been at a loss indeed, even with Kenneth More at hand for an indispensable butler. The end is a bit melancholy, but even that is saved by a woman.
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