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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Bunuel is known as a surrealist, whose works mixes the interior - images and attitudes buried in the subconscious - with circumstances in the real world. It is always and interesting collision, but usually not destined for big box office revenues. This film, his only one in English, is in my view directed at a wider audience. It is very faithful to the book, yet emphasizes some of his traditional themes in surprising ways.

We all know the outlines of the story: a marooned man masters his environment, finds Friday and teaches him the ways of the West while listening to a decidedly non-Western point of view, and finally escapes with Friday. Because of the nearly two decades Crusoe spent alone, it is a very introspective tale of loneliness, a dialogue with God, and endeavor.

What makes this such an exceptional viewing experience are the angles that Bunuel highlights. First, there is a sexual tension between Crusoe and Friday, which I have never seen in any of the other versions. In particular, there is a scene where Friday finds a dress in a trunk and puts it on, appearing beautifully androgynous to the point that Crusoe is disturbed and gruffly orders him to put something else on. Second, Bunuel does not hide the fact that Crusoe was a slave trader and uses Friday as his servant while calling him his friend. This shows Bunuel's mastery of the medium, introducing something that he doesn't tie off in a pat manner but leaves it to create conflict in the mind of the viewer, much as the best essayists do. Third, Friday asks Crusoe many questions about God - essentially those advanced by the Marquis de Sade! - that he can't answer, for example, if God is so powerful, why doesn't God kill the devil; Crusoe answers that God wants man to have a choice, to which Friday responds: then why does God feel wrath when man chooses the wrong way? Crusoe is dumbstruck and merely says to the parrot that Friday doesn't understand. It is beautifully succinct and typical of the fine script.

Unfortunately, the DVD print left much to be desired. It is obviously taken from an inferior film version. Moreover, there are no subtitles, which would help given that the sound track is also unclear.

Recommended warmly. If commercial, Bunuel still weaves his magic in the conflict he creates in the mind of the viewer. I grew up watching this version and hugely enjoyed watching it with my son.
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Sadly, disappointment is the only word for Bunuel's lifeless and seemingly endless 'Robinson Crusoe,' which is less minimalist than it is totally disinterested, for the most part a radio reading of the novel with accompanying and not very impressive pictures. Most of the film tells you what the castaway has done rather than shows you until Friday and the cannibals arrive. It briefly perks up here, dealing well with Crusoe's patronising relationship with Friday and their initial distrust, but it's still just skirting the moderately interesting rather than the genuinely engaging. Daniel O'Herlihy's one note performance is a liability too - there's not much to this Crusoe, and certainly not enough to spend 90 minutes with him.

True, the film was made under immensely difficult conditions, but my problem was that only the limitations were visible - in the restored 90-minute version I saw there was precious little imagination or ability either, which I found particularly surprising from Bunuel: a flat and lifeless b-movie programmer was the last thing I would have expected from him. This felt more like one of Louis Heyward's worst efforts, only without the sporadic entertainment value. Only the fate of Crusoe's dog and the sound of its bark as he left the island really resonated.

Aside from a surprisingly inept dream sequence and a brief theological discussion, there's little to show that this is a Bunuel film (at times its perilously close to Ed Wood's print the first take approach, being shot almost entirely in bland tight medium shots), marking it as a failure as a Bunuel film, a literary adaptation and an adventure. A shame.
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on 9 October 2007
It is a very good movie, but the VCI transfer is very bad: the picture quality are beneath contempt!
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on 1 April 2014
this is one of those old b movies which aye saw at the Saturday matinee club when aye was little children many moons ago this one for the kids when the weather is pretty bad outside so get the bowl of popcorn made and a few sodas sit back and get comfy and enjoy the fun as that is what this movie is all about old fashioned but fun recommended to those who like their movies over acted but enjoyable by all thank you
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on 5 July 2013
very haunting and unusual film, dan o herlihy played a very good crusoe, beautifully shot in mexico,first time i have seen this low budget version but very good film.
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on 30 January 2014
Quickly delivered and great to watch. Settings superb and inviting although I'd rather choose to go there and know when I can leave!
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on 23 October 2016
Good old classic.
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on 19 March 2015
grandson loved it
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on 20 May 2015
As described
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