Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1954)

90 mins | Adventure | July 1954

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HISTORY

Philip Ansel Roll, the credited co-writer of the film's screenplay, was a pseudonym for blacklisted screenwriter Hugo Butler. This film was produced in Mexico in English and Spanish versions, both of which were viewed. The film's title in Spanish-speaking countries was Robinson Crusoe.
       There are differences between the credits of the English and Spanish versions: The Spanish version credits Daniel Defoe's novel as the source material, while the English version does not mention Defoe; in the Spanish version, the music is credited to Luis Hernández Bretón "based upon original themes by Anthony Collins," while the English version gives sole music credit to Collins; and actor José Chávez [Trowe] is billed above Emilio Garibay and Chel López. Additionally, in the Spanish version, Jesús González Gancy is credited with music recording while Javier Mateos and Galdino Samperio are credited with dialogue recording and re-recording, respectively. Modern Mexican sources add producer Óscar Dancigers' company, "Ultramar Films," to the credits.
       According to a 28 Oct 1953 Var news item, associate producer and attorney Henry F. Ehrlich raised partial funding for the production by organizing a group of North American investors which included a fellow attorney, an ad agency head, an industrialist, a concert manager, a distillery executive, a publicist and an import-export business excecutive. A NYT article of 14 Sep 1952 reported that the final cost of both versions would be $350,000 and that if the film had been a Hollywood production it would have cost $1,000,000.
       In advertising for the film's U.S. release, Henry Ehrlich shared Producer credit with Dancigers, while Dancigers had sole credit in Mexican advertising. The Mexican release took place a year ...

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Philip Ansel Roll, the credited co-writer of the film's screenplay, was a pseudonym for blacklisted screenwriter Hugo Butler. This film was produced in Mexico in English and Spanish versions, both of which were viewed. The film's title in Spanish-speaking countries was Robinson Crusoe.
       There are differences between the credits of the English and Spanish versions: The Spanish version credits Daniel Defoe's novel as the source material, while the English version does not mention Defoe; in the Spanish version, the music is credited to Luis Hernández Bretón "based upon original themes by Anthony Collins," while the English version gives sole music credit to Collins; and actor José Chávez [Trowe] is billed above Emilio Garibay and Chel López. Additionally, in the Spanish version, Jesús González Gancy is credited with music recording while Javier Mateos and Galdino Samperio are credited with dialogue recording and re-recording, respectively. Modern Mexican sources add producer Óscar Dancigers' company, "Ultramar Films," to the credits.
       According to a 28 Oct 1953 Var news item, associate producer and attorney Henry F. Ehrlich raised partial funding for the production by organizing a group of North American investors which included a fellow attorney, an ad agency head, an industrialist, a concert manager, a distillery executive, a publicist and an import-export business excecutive. A NYT article of 14 Sep 1952 reported that the final cost of both versions would be $350,000 and that if the film had been a Hollywood production it would have cost $1,000,000.
       In advertising for the film's U.S. release, Henry Ehrlich shared Producer credit with Dancigers, while Dancigers had sole credit in Mexican advertising. The Mexican release took place a year after the U.S. release and after the film had been well received in the rest of the world. Daniel O'Herlihy was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Actor category. In the Spanish version of the film, O'Herlihy's dialogue was dubbed by Mexican actor Claudio Brook.
       Among the numerous screen adaptations of Defoe's novel are Robinson Crusoe (1916) starring Robert Patton Gibbs (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20), Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932) starring Douglas Fairbanks and directed by Edward Sutherland (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40), Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) starring Paul Mantee and directed by Byron Haskin (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70), Man Friday (1975) starring Peter O'Toole and directed by Jack Gold and Crusoe (1988) starring Aidan Quinn and directed by Caleb Deschanel.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
HISTORY CREDITS
CREDIT TYPE
CREDIT
Corporate note credit:
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Jun 1954
---
Christian Science Monitor
20 Mar 1953
---
Film Daily
16 Jun 1954
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 1954
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jan 1955
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 1955
p. 6
Life
23 Aug 1954
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Jun 1954
p. 26
New York Times
14 Sep 1952
---
New York Times
6 Aug 1954
---
Variety
28 Oct 1953
---
Variety
2 Jun 1954
p. 6
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Sd rec
Jesús González G.
Sd rec
Galdino Samperio
Sd rec
MAKEUP
Armando Meyer
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod admin
Prod mgr
Tech crew
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (London, 1719).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Robinson Crusoe
Release Date:
July 1954
Premiere Information:
U.S. opening in Phoenix AZ: mid-Jun 1954; Mexico City opening: 30 Jun 1955
Production Date:
7 Jul--mid Oct 1952 in Manzanillo, Mexico, Estudios Tepeyac and Chapultepec Forest in Mexico City
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Producciones Tepeyac
4 July 1954
LP3738
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Pathecolor
Duration(in mins):
90
Countries:
Mexico, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Robinson Crusoe, the third son of a good family, has left England and gone to sea, against his father's wishes. In 1659, Crusoe is working on the Ariel , a ship bound from Brazil to Africa to buy slaves for Brazilian plantations, when the ship is severely damaged during a storm off the Brazilian coast. The only human survivor of the shipwreck, Crusoe manages to swim to an island, where he spends the first night sleeping in a tree. The next day, while exploring the island, he discovers that what remains of the ship is stranded on rocks just off the island. Crusoe is able to swim out to the wreck and recover many supplies, including drinking water, guns, rope, bread, tinder and flint, as well as the ship's cat. He builds a raft and transports all these to the island, just hours before the wreck shifts off the rocks and sinks. That night he is joined by a dog, Rex, who has also survived the wreck. During the following weeks, Crusoe builds a ready to light beacon to alert passing ships and constructs a compound against wild beasts and savages. The compound incorporates a cave in which he stores his supplies. In his eleventh month on the island, Crusoe develops a fever and becomes delirious, imagining that his father has come there to reproach him. The fever passes, however, and one day, in a chest he recovered from the wreck, he finds a Bible which provides much solace. He also finds some wheat seeds with which he is able to start a wheat crop and eventually makes bread. There are many species of birds and animals on ...

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Robinson Crusoe, the third son of a good family, has left England and gone to sea, against his father's wishes. In 1659, Crusoe is working on the Ariel , a ship bound from Brazil to Africa to buy slaves for Brazilian plantations, when the ship is severely damaged during a storm off the Brazilian coast. The only human survivor of the shipwreck, Crusoe manages to swim to an island, where he spends the first night sleeping in a tree. The next day, while exploring the island, he discovers that what remains of the ship is stranded on rocks just off the island. Crusoe is able to swim out to the wreck and recover many supplies, including drinking water, guns, rope, bread, tinder and flint, as well as the ship's cat. He builds a raft and transports all these to the island, just hours before the wreck shifts off the rocks and sinks. That night he is joined by a dog, Rex, who has also survived the wreck. During the following weeks, Crusoe builds a ready to light beacon to alert passing ships and constructs a compound against wild beasts and savages. The compound incorporates a cave in which he stores his supplies. In his eleventh month on the island, Crusoe develops a fever and becomes delirious, imagining that his father has come there to reproach him. The fever passes, however, and one day, in a chest he recovered from the wreck, he finds a Bible which provides much solace. He also finds some wheat seeds with which he is able to start a wheat crop and eventually makes bread. There are many species of birds and animals on the island, including goats from which he obtains milk. He adopts a parrot, and the cat produces a litter of kittens, but Crusoe can never establish who fathered them. On one of his journeys, he sees a distant island and attempts to reach it by building a canoe. However, the canoe cannot withstand the ocean, becomes swamped and he has to return. On the fifth anniversary of his landing on the island, Crusoe gets drunk and imagines that his former shipmates are with him, but ultimately realizes that he is still desperately alone. More years pass and Rex dies, leaving him more alone than ever. He goes to a valley with an echo and recites passages from "The Lord's Prayer" in order to hear the sound of another human voice. By his eighteenth year of solitude, he has become quite eccentric and one day, while walking on the beach on the other side of the island, comes upon a footprint in the sand. When he sees a group of cannibals in the distance, he becomes alarmed and races back to fortify his compound. He fashions a homemade bomb, but decides that he will leave the cannibals to God's justice, unless they attack him. Later, the cannibals return with two prisoners, one of whom escapes and is pursued. Crusoe rescues the man, takes him to his compound and names him "Friday" after the day of the week on which he was found. However, Crusoe is still very wary of his cannibal companion and despite Friday's amiability, resorts to placing him in ankle shackles each night. Despite their language difficulties, Friday manages to convey to Crusoe that his people could help him. When he realizes that he is wrong to keep a man in chains, Crusoe gives Friday his freedom, begs his forgiveness and asks him to be his friend. Friday decides to stay. As time passes, Crusoe reads to Friday from the Bible and they become involved in theological discussions. After twenty-eight years on the island, Crusoe, with Friday's help, begins another canoe. Their work is interrupted by the return of more cannibals, who later come under fire from sailors who have come ashore for water. The cannibals take two sailors prisoner, but Crusoe and Friday are able to free them. One, Captain Oberzo, explains that he is the victim of a mutiny engineered by his mate, who intended to abandon him and his bosun on the island. When Crusoe learns that the captain's ship is nearby, he offers to help Oberzo to defeat the small group of mutineers in exchange for passage to England. With the promise of gold coins, Friday lures the mutineers to the compound where Crusoe captures them all. Later, Crusoe decides that the prisoners will remain on the island, but with instructions on how to survive and with an advantage Crusoe never had, companionship. Crusoe and Friday board the small boat which will take them to the ship and as the boat pulls away, Crusoe looks back and "hears" Rex barking. Crusoe had been on the island for twenty-eight years, two months and nineteen days.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.