The original story by Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), who is also known for having written the first ghost stories in English literature, was so realistic, many readers were convinced that Crusoe was a real person and demanded that he be rescued. This 1964 movie works quite well, with Paul Mantee as an astronaut stranded on Mars. For some time, his only company is a monkey. Then, a similarly stranded alien becomes his "Friday." Adam West of Batman fame is in the small supporting cast. Director Byron Haskin, filmed in Death Valley, CA, by Winton C. Hoch.
Monstervision's 100% Wierd Presents
Robinson Crusoe On Mars (1964)
Daniel DeFoe never said where he got the idea for his novel, but most historians believe it was based on a British sailor who was left on a remote island by mutual consent after a quarrel with his Captain. He lived for years without any human companion, though he did capture island goats for meat, clothes and as pets.
Scheduled on AMC (American Movie Classics) occasionally"Enemy Mine," in which Louis Gossett Jr. plays the alien, was somewhat of a remake, though it also borrowed liberally from Lee Marvin's World War 2 movie "Hell In The Pacific" (1968), in which 2 men - one American and one Japanese (Toshiro Mifune) - are stranded for a long time on a desert island. The disappointing finale of "Hell" has them killing each other. Enemy Mine went a little too far the other way to have a politically-correct happy ending (and a truly bizaar birth scene...I'd say more but I don't want to ruin it for you). Wolfgang Petersen directed "Enemy Mine" and John Boorman directed "Hell In The Pacific."
Enemy Mine (1985)
Another amusing attempt to update the original Robinson Crusoe story was this Disney comedy/drama, about a U.S. Navy pilot (Dick Van Dyke) who ditches and gets his rubber raft to a deserted island. There, he finds a NASA chimp who was also lost on a test flight, an abandoned German submarine, and his "Friday" turns out to be a pretty native girl (Nancy Kwan) on the run from her angry father - a Polynesian chief on a nearby island. With help from her sisters, a PA system and flares from the sub, they scare away the chief. It all gets a bit silly, though it lists a rather famous writer in the credits, Retlaw Yensid (spell it backwards). Two years later, Dick Van Dyke starred in Ian Flemming's only non-James Bond movie, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."
Lt. Robinson Crusoe, USN (1966)
Disney also made this children's movie, in which the pilot (M*A*S*H's Elliott Gould) of a war-surplus WW2 bomber is flying a missionary and two kids somehwere, and they end up crash-landing on a remote island with two Japanese on it (John Fujioka, Yuki Shimoda) that don't know WW2 is over. Eventually, they all become friends, chop up the plane and turn the fuselage into a raft to get off the island. Story by the same Ernest K. Gann who wrote "The High and The Mighty" (I could make a joke here about how the mighty have fallen, but I won't). Filmed in Waikiki using three WW2 bombers borrowed from the Air Force's mothball fleet (they didn't care that two of them were chopped up, as long as they got the pieces back). Ricky Schroder is one of the kids, and Vince Gardenia is in the supporting cast somewhere. Noah's Ark is the name of the plane.
The Last Flight Of Noah's Ark (1980)
Not to be confused with Flight Of The Phoenix (1966), in which an all-star cast crashes in the Arabian desert and they escape by flying out hanging on a salvaged wing. There was even an ep of Battlestar Galactica in which Starbuck, stranded on a somewhat primitive planet, reprograms a Cylon robot to be his "Friday" until rescued.
Monster movie description above © Bill Laidlaw. All Rights Reserved
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