Writer: Lowell S Hawley (Screenplay) Johann David Wyss (Novel)
Starring: John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur, Janet Munro, Sessue Hayakawa, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran
Plot: A Swiss family must survive being shipwrecked on a deserted island.
Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Disney’s Backward Thinking
Story: Swiss Family Robinson starts when the Robinson family, Father (Mills), Mother (McGuire), Fritz (MacArthur), Ernst (Kirk) and Francis (Corcoran) see their ship crash on rocks with the rest of the crew abandoning ship, the family finds a small island filled with wildlife from around the world, where they build a safe haven for themselves.
As the family starts to explore the island more, they discover pirates, rescuing one of the hostages Roberta (Munro), the humans must learn to survive on this island with the dangers around them.
Thoughts on Swiss Family Robinson
Characters – Father keeps everybody in order as he must keep his family safe before worrying about the livestock on the ship, he uses his skills to build a home for them, one that will keep them safe and be able to see anybody arriving to rescue them. Mother is all about the safety of the family especially the youngster member, she is still written to mostly be a housewife within this situation. Fritz is the oldest child of the family, he is the hands on type that will help his father build the new home, while Ernst is the brains of the family. Roberta is the woman that the boys find captive on the island, they rescue her and suddenly she is just a damsel in distress.
Performances – John Mills as the oldest member of the family is the strongest member of the cast, Dorothy McGuire and Janet Munro are badly written, so they struggle to make anything of their characters, while James MacArthur just seems to complete the cast without any major impact.
Story – The story here follows a family that get stranded on a tropical island and must learn to survive the dangers they find on the island and the visitors that might put their lives in danger. This is adapted from the famous novel and adds in a couple of twists to give the story more excitement. It does show how a family as a unit can work together to survive and any disturbance to the system will become difficult to overcome, with the idea that just capturing the animals is casually ok, when it clearly isn’t. this does however capture the sense of adventure the family has created from their escape from the life they were living in.
Adventure – The adventure side of the film shows us what the family is going to be living in, with the tropical island showing what they can discover in the unknown.
Settings – The film is set on an island, which is filled with different animals from around the world, it is a beautiful location and easily the highlight of the film.
Final Thoughts – This is a very dated movie that comes from a classic novel, which is filled with the problems Hollywood once had, even if the sense of adventure is told wonderfully.
Overall: Dated Disney.