MR. ROBINSON CRUSOE (director: Edward Sutherland; screenwriters: based on a short story by Douglas Fairbanks/Douglas Fairbanks/Tom Geraghty; cinematographer: Max Dupont; editor: Robert J. Kern; music: Alfred Newman; cast: Douglas Fairbanks (Steve Drexel), William Farnum (William Belmont), Earle Browne (Professor Carmichale), Maria Alba (Saturday); Runtime: 72; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Douglas Fairbanks; United Artists; 1932)
“It’s a slightly amusing family value picture, but nothing to write home about.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Edward Sutherland (“Murders in the Zoo”/”Dixie”) directs this adventure/comedy that’s written by Tom Geraghty and Douglas Fairbanks, and is based on a short story by Mr. Fairbanks. It plays out as a satirical skit on the Defoe classic.
Steve Drexel (Douglas Fairbanks) is sailing the South Seas on a yacht with friends William Belmont (William Farnum) and Professor Carmichale (Earle Browne). When passing by a deserted South Seas island, the Park Avenue elite accepts his friends dare that he wouldn’t be able to survive there like Robinson Crusoe and with his dog Rooney jumps ship. After a month Steve proves he has the skills to feed himself and survive. Meanwhile, his friends have traveled to Sumatra to hunt tigers. Steve finds his Friday when a native from a nearby island canoes over. Also from the same nearby island comes a young bride-to-be, who ran away before the marriage ceremony. The maiden in a grass skirt is given the name Saturday (Maria Alba). When Steve’s friends return, they go to the neighboring island and induce the natives to pull a prank and scare Steve. One of the natives is Saturday’s jilted groom, and things become real when he recognizes his would-be bride on the island with Steve. It leads to Steve running away from the hundred pursuing natives and jumping onto his friend’s yacht. Saturday also manages to stowaway on the yacht. Back in New York, Steve arranges for Saturday to perform a native dance for the Ziegfeld Follies.
It’s a slightly amusing family value picture, but nothing to write home about.
REVIEWED ON 8/29/2006 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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