In the seventeenth century, Robinson Crusoe is shipwrecked on a desert island and is the only survivor. He takes steps to get food and shelter, hoping one day to be rescued. One day a band of black men arrive by boat and are about to execute one of their number; Crusoe saves him and drives them off, and names the man Friday, and teaches him Crusoe's on language. They survive together, but will they ever be rescued? —Hazel Freeman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This Russian version of the great DeFoe classic turns out to be respectable and engaging. Directed by Stanislas Govorukin, it succeeds best in delineating the intermittent despair and hope of the shipwrecked survivor that was Robinson Crusoe. The whole sequence of the man's determination to grow a crop of wheat is moving and lyrical, possibly because at the time this film was made Russians had wheat production on their minds and not because of the innate lyricism of wheat. As a superficial adventure yarn, it's worth seeing, but it lacks the psychological depth of Luis Buñuel's 1955 version, with its special Buñuelian touches like the scene in which Friday dresses in a grass skirt and stirs up long-unstirred sexual longings in Crusoe. But that movie had a different intent from this one, which is far more literal. The musical background includes selections from Vivaldi. The movie was a production of the Odessa studios in Ukraine, then part of the U.S.S.R. It got a very minimal release in an English-dubbed version in the United States.
- Jun 3, 2004
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