Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932)

70 or 72 mins | Comedy, Adventure | 17 September 1932

Writer:

Elton Thomas

Cinematographer:

Max Dupont

Production Company:

The Elton Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working titles were Tropical Knight and Robinson Crusoe of the South Seas. Elton Thomas, the name that is credited with the story, is Douglas Fairbanks' pseudonym. Publicity records note the following: The Invader, private yacht of the president of United Artists, Joseph Schenck , sailed some of the staff from San Francisco to Papeete, Tahiti, in early March, where the film was made in its entirety, using the islanders as extras. Production was halted for two days when Walter Pallman married a Tahitian descendent of royalty, Simone Terai, and the crew participated in the native wedding celebration. Although FD credits Walter Pallman with the recording, screen credits list him as technical effects. According to modern sources, the extras were available for one dollar per day. Because the sound equipment failed on the first day of shooting, director Sutherland was forced to dub the sound upon their return to California. A Var news item noted that Douglas Fairbanks protested Universal's potential production called Robinson Crusoe, claiming that he had "priority for his South Sea picture tentatively titled A Modern Robinson Crusoe." Universal did not release a film with a similar title. According to a news item in HR, the film was previewed for 1932 Olympic athletes on 10 Aug 1932. Modern sources also report that Robert Benchley and Lewis Milestone accompanied Fairbanks to Tahiti, and that Fairbanks "discovered" Maria Alba in the islands. ...

More Less

The working titles were Tropical Knight and Robinson Crusoe of the South Seas. Elton Thomas, the name that is credited with the story, is Douglas Fairbanks' pseudonym. Publicity records note the following: The Invader, private yacht of the president of United Artists, Joseph Schenck , sailed some of the staff from San Francisco to Papeete, Tahiti, in early March, where the film was made in its entirety, using the islanders as extras. Production was halted for two days when Walter Pallman married a Tahitian descendent of royalty, Simone Terai, and the crew participated in the native wedding celebration. Although FD credits Walter Pallman with the recording, screen credits list him as technical effects. According to modern sources, the extras were available for one dollar per day. Because the sound equipment failed on the first day of shooting, director Sutherland was forced to dub the sound upon their return to California. A Var news item noted that Douglas Fairbanks protested Universal's potential production called Robinson Crusoe, claiming that he had "priority for his South Sea picture tentatively titled A Modern Robinson Crusoe." Universal did not release a film with a similar title. According to a news item in HR, the film was previewed for 1932 Olympic athletes on 10 Aug 1932. Modern sources also report that Robert Benchley and Lewis Milestone accompanied Fairbanks to Tahiti, and that Fairbanks "discovered" Maria Alba in the islands.

Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
6 Mar 1932
p. 3
Film Daily
11 May 1932
p. 6
Film Daily
9 Sep 1932
p. 7
Film Daily
23 Sep 1932
p. 6
Harrison's Reports
1 Oct 1932
p. 158
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1932
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 1932
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 1932
p. 7
Motion Picture Herald
1 Oct 1932
p. 53
New York Times
22 Sep 1932
p. 25
Variety
28 Jun 1932
p. 6
Variety
27 Sep 1932
p. 17
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
Edward Sutherland
Dir
WRITERS
Story
Tom Geraghty
Adpt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
FILM EDITOR
Robert Kern
Film cutter
MUSIC
Mus score comp by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Tech eff
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
A Modern Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe of the South Seas
Tropical Knight
Release Date:
17 September 1932
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 16 Sep 1932
Production Date:

Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
The Elton Corp.
17 September 1932
LP3313
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70 or 72
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Steve Drexel, William Belmont and Professor Carmichale are sailing by a deserted South Seas island when Belmont bets Steve that he could not survive alone on the island like Robinson Crusoe. Steve agrees to the bet, jumps overboard with his dog and swims ashore. He is immediately industrious, finding fresh water and food, and making tools to build a home with all the conveniences of a Park Avenue apartment. After a month, Steve has built every possible convenience, including animal traps, a home on stilts and various pulleys for transportation. Meanwhile, his friends have continued to Sumatra for a successful tiger hunt. When a native canoes over from a neighboring island, Steve initiates him as his "Man Friday." Finding radio tubes hung around Friday's neck, Steve ingeniously builds a radio. From the same neighboring island, a young bride-to-be escapes from her wedding and canoes to Steve's island. Steve adopts her and names her Saturday, after which Friday leaves. As Steve teaches Saturday rudimentary English, Belmont goes to the neighboring island and instructs the natives to descend on Steve's island and scare him so he can win the bet. One of the natives is Saturday's ex-fiancé, and when he recognizes her, the farce becomes a real fight and Steve must outwit hundreds of natives. After his friends return to their yacht, Steve leads the natives on a chase until he is able to catapult himself to the yacht. Once safely aboard, they discover Saturday has stowed away. Back in New York, Steve watches Saturday perform a native dance for the Ziegfeld ...

More Less

Steve Drexel, William Belmont and Professor Carmichale are sailing by a deserted South Seas island when Belmont bets Steve that he could not survive alone on the island like Robinson Crusoe. Steve agrees to the bet, jumps overboard with his dog and swims ashore. He is immediately industrious, finding fresh water and food, and making tools to build a home with all the conveniences of a Park Avenue apartment. After a month, Steve has built every possible convenience, including animal traps, a home on stilts and various pulleys for transportation. Meanwhile, his friends have continued to Sumatra for a successful tiger hunt. When a native canoes over from a neighboring island, Steve initiates him as his "Man Friday." Finding radio tubes hung around Friday's neck, Steve ingeniously builds a radio. From the same neighboring island, a young bride-to-be escapes from her wedding and canoes to Steve's island. Steve adopts her and names her Saturday, after which Friday leaves. As Steve teaches Saturday rudimentary English, Belmont goes to the neighboring island and instructs the natives to descend on Steve's island and scare him so he can win the bet. One of the natives is Saturday's ex-fiancé, and when he recognizes her, the farce becomes a real fight and Steve must outwit hundreds of natives. After his friends return to their yacht, Steve leads the natives on a chase until he is able to catapult himself to the yacht. Once safely aboard, they discover Saturday has stowed away. Back in New York, Steve watches Saturday perform a native dance for the Ziegfeld Follies.

Less

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

TOP SEARCHES

The Wizard of Oz

The following dedication appears in the opening credits: “For nearly forty years this story has given faithful service to the Young in Heart; and Time has been powerless to ... >>

King of Jazz

The 4 Jan 1930 Exhibitors Herald-World announced that the production starting date was 4 Nov 1929.
       The main title credits Paul Whiteman and his Band as "Exclusive ... >>

The White Tower

Contemporary news items add the following information about the production: RKO purchased James Ramsey Ullman's novel in Mar 1946 for $150,000. At that time, Edward Dmytryk was assigned to ... >>

Tight Spot

The working title of this film was Dead Pidgeon . Doye O'Dell appears throughout the film in a running "gag" as a TV telethon host, satirizing the ... >>

It Happened One Night

The working title for this film was Night Bus, and it was to have starred Robert Montgomery, who was Frank Capra's original choice for the part of ... >>

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.