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SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1940) Thomas Mitchell, Edna Best

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Region: All Regions
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B003R78TLA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 250,806 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Johan David Wyss' novel "Swiss Family Robinson" had been in print for nearly fifty years before this first film version was made by RKO in 1940. Thomas Mitchell is top-billed as the patriarch of the Robinson family, who, as in the book, are shipwrecked on a tropical island and compelled to bring the edicts and values of civilization to their tiny patch of the world. To give the story a bit of topicality, screenwriters Walter Ferris, Gene Towne, and Graham Baker contrive to depict the Robinsons as refugees from a foreign war (Napoleonic rather than Hitler-inspired). Produced independently by The Play's the Thing Productions and released by RKO, "Swiss Family Robinson" was completely withdrawn from circulation on the occasion of the 1960 Disney remake.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
So delighted to be able to see this again.I'd been told that Disney had blocked its sale.I saw it once in my childhood and was impressed.The quality in parts was understandably 'poor' but I still enjoyed it.To me it's an historic artwork.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x97acf444) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98270e90) out of 5 stars A Great Movie Classic That needs To Be Digitally Remastered 5 Dec. 2010
By OsageArtist - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is one of my all time favorites, but upon viewing my new purchase of Swiss Family Robinson with Thomas Mitchell on both a standard DVD player and a BlueRay HD player, found the video quality abhorrent. As a black and white film on digital video, the blacks and whites were strong, but the gray-scale was missing which delineates the image features between black and white. In other words there were no grays in the black and white color which helps define all of the mid tones. The faces of the actors were washed out and the overall movie frame was outlined in black to gray smudges. If the film has deteriorated beyond saving then I guess my copy is to be expected and you can follow the story line as is, but a visually painful experience.

In the event there is a digitally remastered copy of this movie for sale in the future, please notify me.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97999504) out of 5 stars Definitely worth a watch 9 Jun. 2011
By Aanel Victoria - Published on
Format: DVD
This 1940 black-and-white film version is much more faithful to the original Johann Wyss novel, and is not the laugh- and cheese-fest that the 1960 Disney color version is. It's an intriguing story all its own.

The print has not been remastered, so it's dark in several places, and therefore best viewed in a completely dark room. Still, it's not as bad as some have intimated, and is about a 7 out of 10 in print quality. Well worth watching, especially for nostalgists and purists and especially if you are fan of any of the actors. Thomas Mitchell (Scarlett's father in the previous year's Gone With the Wind) gives an excellent performance as the doting and concerned father who wishes only that his sons grow up with wisdom and depth and maturity.

Freddie Bartholomew is delightful as the foppish son who out-Pimpernels Pimpernel (that's a Leslie Howard reference if you haven't seen that movie). Long-lashed and doe-eyed young Terry Kilburn overacts in a couple bits but is largely quite rewarding as the young son who loves reading and writing. Edna Best is sometimes a bit annoying as the mother, but that's what her role demands, and she is often lovely and charming as well. Tim Holt is fine as the eldest of the four sons, which include a baby who doesn't talk.

All in all, definitely worth it if you are inclined. I've seen it on eBay and other venues if it's out of stock here -- for instance you can Google the title in quotes plus Retro Flix in quotes.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x980c6d98) out of 5 stars Old Classic That is a collector's item. 8 Nov. 2006
By R. Marc Tamkin - Published on
I have the current copy of this collector's item on sale. It is a newer release and the copy is bright and as clear as it can be for the era when it was released. I have found this version of the classic novel to be a better story than the two or three versions that followed it.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x974645e8) out of 5 stars My review of the 1940 version of Swiss Family Robinson 18 May 2005
By Julie's friend - Published on
Verified Purchase
I have searched for this version of Swiss Family Robinson for years and years. I finally found it. I remember this version after seeing it as a child. It contains good story scenes that are not included in the Disney versions. Also, Disney has added scenes and characters that were not in the original version.

However, I am so disappointed in the quality of the copy that I received. Most of the movie was so dark I could not see the characters. I would have returned it immediately but I was afraid I would not be able to find it again and sincerely want it in my video library. I realize that this is a very old film and clearer copies my not be attainable.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97466fb4) out of 5 stars Old Family Movie Revisited 12 Dec. 2011
By Muffy Dreyfuss - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this movie in the 1950's on our first television set. The local Cleveland channel would show a particular movie three times in a row every Saturday. My sisters and I were so fascinated by this movie that we watched it through all three times. There is a scene in the film where a BIG spider crawls from a huge web and down the neck of a boy. Although the special effects and story are definitely old-time, the suspense and message are timeless. Watch this with your family with a bag of popcorn in a darkened room. (Just be aware the big spider is creapy.)
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