18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
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
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I love this film, one of my all time favourites. So why only fou stars???
I feel this is an American version as the titles at the beginning actually say the film is titled "Paradise Lagoon" and the opening sequence picture was not right. However once the film got going all was well.
Apart from the annoyance of the opening sequences, the film itself is wonderful. The story: A well to do family become shipwrecked in the south seas, miles off the usual trading routes and 'set up home' there. Over the two years they are all marooned on their island the butler, Mr Crichton (played superbly by Kenneth More) becomes the 'Gov' (Governor) and the family basically his servants. The original story was by Peter Pan writer, J M Barrie and in my opinion one of his better stories.
I would always give this film 5 stars, but for the first few minutes, I have to lose a star - shame, but at least it doesn't detract from an excellent film.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2012
The title on the DVD box is "The Admirable Crichton" (i.e. the British title) but the films credits show it as "Paradise Lagoon" (the American title). The aspect ratio is not the original one of 1.96:1 but 3:4 and there is no restoration. The soundtrack, in its original mono, has a "tinny" compressed quality to it and although it is passable the conversion from the original Westrex Mono Sound to the AC3 48KHz 192 Kbps Stereo soundtrack (2 x Mono) could have been better. I suspect that this DVD was made from an American broadcast quality tape rather than from an original film print. There are visual artefacts and blotches throughout although the colour balance is good but possibly a bit too vibrant. The only language is English and there are subtitles in English for the hard of hearing. At the cheap price I paid which was £4.63 I'm happy with my purchase although I would pay four times that price for a decent print in its correct aspect ratio and six times that price for a fully restored version.
[My original pre-purchase review follows...]
Again I come to Amazon to buy one of my favourite films on DVD. Great. It has been released on Region 2 DVD now and there are reviews from 25 people. Super... one of those people... just one, must have bothered to report on the actual product and not just the plot of the film.
Again I am disappointed. My God! 25 people all telling me a plot I already know and one that had I not known it I could have found out about at IMDB or a mutitude of other sites. It really is pathetic. People reading Amazon reviews want to know about the quality of the product. If it were an umbrella would one write "It's great! The moment I put it up, it kept the rain off me. I managed to walk from my house to the bus stop and hardly got wet at all." or "Well, when it rained very heavily I did notice that the bottom of my trousers got a bit damp but on the whole the way it worked was that it kept me dry by making a barrier between myself and the rain." No!
Good grief people. This is a DVD! Was the print quality good? Were there artefacts or scratches? How was the sound? I don't know why I bother... I really don't. 25 people and 25 sandwiches short of a picnic.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I always loved this film and recently I was delighted to see that albeit made 58 years ago, it didn't age one little bit. Below, more of my impressions, with some LIMITED SPOILERS.
Year of Grace 1905. William Crichton (Kenneth More) is the highly efficient butler in the London household of the Earl of Loam (Cecil Parker) and his family. The Earl considers himself a progressive and is against class divisions – Crichton on another hand is extremely class-conscious and conservative (in fact ultra-reactionary). The Earl has three grown up daughters and the oldest, Mary (Sally Ann Howes), is an incredible beauty – and as she is very conscious of this fact, the magnitude of her pride (arrogance) matches her looks. Soon after the film begins the Earl takes his family on a trip around the world on his yacht, but once they arrive to the South Seas the voyage is… interrupted… That will lead to quite a lot of interesting developments, which will also affect the class stratification – but for the sake of those who somehow managed to not know this story I will not say more.
Written by J.M. Barrie in 1902 the theatre piece "Admirable Crichton" was an immediate and ENORMOUS success and by making the author largely known, it certainly helped a lot his next major opus, "Peter Pan", which became an even bigger sensation two years later. This film is a very faithful adaptation of the piece and is mostly based on splendid, witty dialogs.
The casting is simply perfect and all actors did an amazing job. Kenneth More, who already completely stunned me by his incredible portrayal of Sir Douglas Bader in "Reach for the sky", plays here probably the second role of his life – he is simply PERFECT as Crichton. Veteran actor Cecil Parker is also great as Earl of Loam. Australian actress Diane Cilento, a girl with stunning legs who was going later to marry Sean Connery, plays marvellously the humble bumbling maid "Tweeny", a very endearing character. Another veteran of cinema and theatre, Martita Hunt, plays admirably Lady Brocklehurst – this last character is in fact a formidable female dragon rather than a woman…
This film however would not be as good as it is without Sally Ann Howes, who belonged to the small minority of women so beautiful, that it actually hurts the eyes when you try to look at them – and she also surely knew how to play. Her character in this film, Mary, allowed her to show her talent in such a way that she is even hotter than her looks. This incredibly proud princess, who later becomes… well, another kind of proud princess, is the kind of woman for the possession of whom it is worth to fight to the last drop of blood. Conquering such a princess must feel like ravishing Artemis – and it would probably be worth it even if one had to be then savaged by his own bloodhounds... As for the loss of such a woman, well, the grief and pain must be indescribable and insufferable... Without this character and Sally Ann Howes to play her, this film wouldn't be as good as it is.
This being a work of fiction, author had to take some liberties with reality, beginning with the portrayal of high born British people as hapless in difficult circumstances. I don’t really have the impression that such was really a case. British nobility, women and senior gentlemen very much included, proved to have real spine and darn tough hide in many a tough scrape, as well in colonial and overseas fighting (Indian Mutiny and Boxer Rebellion come immediately to mind) as during the terrible years of World War II. Young gentlemen were also quite roughly educated and treated in elite schools and me for one I somehow don’t really see Stalky, M’Turk or even bookish Beetle, once fully grown, being totally clueless in the wilderness... But this is a very minor point and of course without “licentia poetica” we would have no good stories at all.
As already mentioned earlier the success of this film resides mostly in the incredibly witty dialogs, in fact a permanent verbal fencing between all the characters, but there are also other elements, which make it into something much, much more than just a hilarious comedy about poorly assorted people thrown together into an unusual situation. "Admirable Crichton" contains also some more serious things, which make it into a bittersweet treat – and in the process transform it into something more than just harmless entertainment.
Both the piece and the film contain a reflexion on class divisions which is much deeper than one could expect from a comedy and it gives to the whole story a more serious, darker and sad element. The author was of course himself member of nobility and therefore his views were probably somehow biased, but I rather agree with his conclusion that classless society is not possible – sooner or later, even if you try to erase the differences by violence, some animals will always become more equal than others...
Then there is also the fascination with the idea of return to a simpler, less "civilized" life, as answer to a certain fatigue most of us, urban citizens living in highly developped societies, develop regularly. Civilized life is indeed comfortable and safe, but it contains also elements of stress which wear us down and this is why we all need a vacation from time to time - and sometimes the temptation is great to simply drop it all and not return... In reality, the civilization fatigue rarely survives the first toothache and virtually never the first death of a woman in childbirth far from a modern hospital - but it certainly guarantees the success of well written stories, such as "Robinson Crusoe" and "Mysterious Island" (both predating "Admirable Crichton") or "Tarzan of the Apes", which would be published only ten years later.
“Admirable Crichton” contains also many elements which J.M. Barrie continued to explore and developed later in “Peter Pan”. In both stories we have a group of characters who escape from the reality of life to spend a magic moment in an enchanted distant land, who remake there their life from scratch, live wonderful adventures and find happiness – but who cannot stay there indefinitely, because the real life calls them back. This return is painful and causes many tears to flow but it is nevertheless a good thing, because if the real world is a tough, even cruel place, it still has the advantage of being real... WARNING! WARNING! SOME SPOILERS AHEAD! This is why in both stories Wendy has to go her own way and the main hero must go back to Tinker Bell, the one girl who always faithfully loved him...
Bottom line, this is an EXCELLENT film, an absolutely marvellous classic of humour, serious reflexion and romance, with an amazing performance by Kenneth More and one incredibly beautiful actress portraying an impressively proud and fierce princess. TO SEE ABSOLUTELY! ENJOY!
on 12 August 2015
A light entertainment with impeccable performance by Kenneth More, and the ensemble. Gerald Harper looks exactly the same here as he was when I saw him at the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne in "Conduct Unbecoming" about 20 years ago. One of those ageless faces. Reminds me that I asked for a small coke and a brandy and soda. When I returned half-way through, there was only a brandy and the venerable barman said, I thought that was all you asked for, Mr Smallcoke. I had said my name (he hadn't heard it) and then small coke, brandy and soda. Anyway, the film is very well photographed and has lots of wit, repartee and the lightest of post-war satire as befits a country that changes only slowly despite Clement Attlee's efforts. I think you may have to be British brung-up fully to appreciate the message such as it is: the weight of history is too much for us to mix classes up like the rest of the world and that is the slightly sad truth but then we wouldn't be who we were if it were different, perhaps, and all the characters acknowledge this rather wistfully.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2011
In 1902, a yacht of British aristocrats and their two servants vacationing in the South Seas runs afoul of a storm and they must abandon ship. Eventually, they are marooned on an uninhabited desert island and it's the butler (Kenneth More) who has the ability and the fortitude to take over and save them from starvation. In the two years they are on the island, the class system is reversed with the butler the leader and aristocrats the workers. J.M. Barrie's satirical comedy of manners on the English class system is both amusing and poignant and director Lewis Gilbert (ALFIE) handles the balance artfully. What seems like a Utopia on the island is just another class system and when/if they are rescued, will they have learned anything or will they retreat to their established positions? The Bermuda locations are indeed a paradise and lovingly photographed by Wilkie Cooper (JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS). With Diane Cilento, Sally Ann Howes, Cecil Parker and Martita Hunt. Previously filmed in 1919 by Cecil B. DeMille under the title MALE AND FEMALE.
The Sony DVD via Great Britain is a tad on the soft side and full frame but very watchable.