The Admirable Crichton - Film Review



The Admirable Crichton – also known as Paradise Lagoon – Film Review.



You might be wondering why I am reviewing a movie that was made in 1956. The answer is that it was recently re-packaged and re-released in 2009 by Sony Pictures, and it’s still a cracking family watch.

The picture opens in 1905 where the butler, the admirable Crichton, makes sure that everything ticks over just as it should, even when his Lordship wants to demonstrate his modern thinking by having his three daughters serve the servants.

Crichton disagrees completely and suggests to his Lordship it might be time for a cruise through the south seas, and the whole family, together with Crichton and an under maid that Crichton has his eyes firmly set on, played by Diane Cilento, sail away into the sunset.

The steam yacht encounters a fearful storm, the engine blows up and the vessel sinks. Most of the crew are rescued, but one lifeboat containing the Lord, his three daughters, Crichton, the under maid, and two aristocratic male admirers of the daughters, eventually wash up on an uninhabited desert island. Robinson Crusoe here we come!

Of course, nothing there changes. The waiters wait upon the waited upon, until Crichton wakes up to the fact that all the rest are totally lost without him. On the island he is the lord. Then everything changes, and as time goes by the aristocratic men, to a man, fall under the spell of the under maid, though she only has eyes for Crichton, while he suddenly has his choice of the three aristocratic daughters.

This is a fun movie with some real comic moments. Directed by Lewis Gilbert, whose other films include Reach for the Sky, Sink the Bismarck, and weirdly, Alfie. The south sea scenes are filmed in Bermuda and great they are too. Sally Anne Howes certainly caught my eye!

It all gives Gilbert the opportunity to poke fun at the British class system, something he clearly relishes doing, and fully supported he is by a wonderful cast here that includes Kenneth More, Cecil Parker, Diane Cilento, Jack Watling, Peter Graves, and a young Gerald Harper.

The story is based on a play written by the Peter Pan man, J M Barrie, and if you are looking for a family fun movie you could do a lot worse than take a peek at this.

The Admirable Crichton, also released as Paradise Lagoon in the USA, was the fourth most successful film at British box office in 1957, and it is easy to see why.

It’s a gentle film with a sense of humour and the hour and a half really flies by. You won’t find any computer-generated graphics, guns, explosions, chases, shootings or murders, but hey, it isn’t always necessary to have such things to make a film enjoyable.

And in case you are wondering, it is indeed in colour, or color as Technicolor insists on calling it, and I mention that because I feel certain that the first time I saw it, it was in black and white. Maybe it was just so long ago it was on a black and white TV set. That’s perfectly possible!

A Classic British movie with a U certificate and one I am happy to recommend.

And here's a big bonus for you too. The full movie, right here, right now - I don't know how long it is likely to be made available for free, so if you are interested, watch it now! You can click on the right bottom corner to make it full screen too. Enjoy!

Worth it for Sally Ann Howes alone!!!




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