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Author Topic: Swept Away done right in a 1950s movie
Initiate of Jabootu
Posts: 8
Post Swept Away done right in a 1950s movie
on: January 11, 2017, 22:16

I have only very rarely posted on this forum, but have been an avid reader of the reviews since the late 1990s.

When reading Ken's review of Swept Away (and particularly when reading the critique of the original) I keep turning my mind to an old (1957) movie called "The Admirable Crichton" (also, and less satisfyingly, known as 'Paradise Lagoon').

Based upon a play by J.M. Barrie (yes, that J.M. Barrie) it tells the story of a noble family in around 1905 England. The family patriarch is a determined socialist, who constantly preaches that the family servants are no better or worse than he. His three daughters are mortified at this stance. The butler, Crichton, by contrast, is a firm believer in a hierarchy. He rules the servants' quarters with an iron fist, and at one point states to the lord's daughter that he has no interest in equality as "Any satisfaction I may gain from being your equal, would be ruined by the footman being equal to me".

On a South Seas cruise, the noble family is marooned after a shipwreck, along with Crichton and a maid. Inevitably, another hierarchy forms, since Crichton is the only one with the necessary skills to ensure survival. Over the course of the remainder of the movie (and during their inevitable return to England) many humorous and valid points are made about human nature and the strata of society. Rather than being browbeaten into a particular point of view, the audience can empathize with a number of the characters, and appreciate that (although generally a comedy) there are many thoughtful points made about the assumptions we make about society.

I should also mention, for trivia buffs, that the robot Kryten from Red Dwarf was named after Crichton from this movie.

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