HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Chasing the Dragon
Into the Forest
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
Away
Mistress of the Apes
Incredible Paris Incident
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
   
 
Newest Articles
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agn├Ęs: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
   
 
  Swiss Family Robinson It's All About The TreehouseBuy this film here.
Year: 1960
Director: Ken Annakin
Stars: John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur, Janet Munro, Sessue Hayakawa, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, Cecil Parker, Andy Ho, Milton Reid, Larry Taylor
Genre: Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Robinson family have left Switzerland far behind because they wished to flee the Napoleonic Wars, so joined a ship set for New Guinea where they hoped to establish a new life free of conflict. Unfortunately, on the journey the vessel hit a fearsome storm which caused the crew to abandon the ship, leaving the Robinsons trapped below decks as they were shipwrecked on rocks. Those rocks turned out to belong to an island, or so Father (John Mills) suspects, and after breaking out of their unintentional prison he and his wife (Dorothy McGuire) and three sons negotiate the water and the shoreline to finally reach dry land. However, their problems are not over - now they must survive, and there are pirates to be dealt with.

The Walt Disney company were finding their live action movies incredibly lucrative in the nineteen-fifties, be that the prestige production 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, their wildlife documentaries or goofy comedies such as The Shaggy Dog, therefore when they decided to adapt Johann Wyss's classic adventure novel Swiss Family Robinson they pulled out all the stops, and rendered it as lavishly as possible. Yet again, the rewards were huge, and it is still one of the most successful family films ever made thanks to its dedication to spectacle and delivering precisely what they knew their audience wanted to see in a combination of those three styles of movie that were doing so well for them.

This opened the sixties on a bright note, but the company did not know then the decade would grow increasingly tumultuous, not least because Disney himself would pass away near its close; we did get Mary Poppins before he left us, a hit that was even more enduring than this one. Perhaps they should have made this a musical to ensure it would continue to be a moneyspinner, but it was accurate to say unlike that Julie Andrews-starrer, the Robinsons were rather prone to dating not quaintly and lovably, but rather poorly. It was very much a product of its time, though you could say that about most films, but the treatment of animals added for interest as per those documentaries would not go down well now.

For a start, the titular family have a curious dedication to riding said beasts, starting with a tortoise (a giant variety, not your basic pet-sized one), graduating to an ostrich, then a zebra (this was a rare sight, someone atop such a creature), and eventually there was a race with every animal they could get their hands on and sit on. Couple that with a few scenes of violence, such as two of the sons Fritz (James MacArthur of Hawaii Five-O fame) and Ernst (Tommy Kirk, the shaggy dog himself) battling an enormous snake, or a tussle between two Great Danes and an actual tiger, and you could well see why the sixties gave rise to the mondo movie pseudo-documentaries not long after. This was all in the service of giving the audiences the sort of experience no other movie ever had, and in the twenty-first century, no longer will.

That aside, adventure was the order of the day, as the Robinsons construct their own treehouse with all mod cons in record time, and those pirates make their presence felt when Fritz and Ernst go exploring, stumbling across a British Captain (Cecil Parker) and his grandson - except she's really his granddaughter in disguise to prevent unspeakable things happening to her, too awful to contemplate in a Disney movie at least. Janet Munro played Roberta, another Disney regular who in her case was yearning to be better known for grown-up roles, and she winds up at the centre of a love triangle between the two elder brothers. The youngest, Francis (Kevin Corcoran), was a shrill example of what passed for cute in those days, you may feel relieved when he is not onscreen, but the leader of the pirates was played by Sessue Hayakawa, that Japanese superstar of silent movies now in his Autumn years and enjoying a late period flush of prosperity in character parts. The film was certainly not boring, but there was a lot of it, and tastes have changed; Disney have promised to remake it one of these days. Music by William Alwyn.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 339 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Rachel Franke
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Keith Rockmael
   

 

Last Updated: