Mills Horses Around
Mary (Hayley Mills) and her brother Robert (Keith Hamshere) along with professor Jacques Paganel (Maurice Chevalier) convince Lord Glenarvan (Wilfrid Hyde-White) and his son John (Michael Anderson Jr.) to go on an adventure with them to find their father who is believed to be dead but they think a message in a bottle is from him. Making their way across South America they encounter everything from earthquakes as they are precariously perched on top of a mountain ledge to giant animals big enough to carry young children away as well as floods which leave they stranded up in the branches of a tree.
As a child born at the start of the 70s I remember summer holidays in the early 80s and the various old movies which would get shown on TV. Amazingly one movie I don't remember having come across is "In Search of the Castaways" a movie which watching now I am sure would have been one of those movies shown during the summer holidays. And whilst watching it now as an adult for the first time means I don't have the sense of nostalgia surrounding it I can fully appreciate why anyone would say they love this movie having watched it as a child.
Now with my adult head on I have to say that whilst we have a story of a group trying to find Mary and Robert's father, thanks to a message in a bottle which came their way, "In Search of the Castaways" is more a movie of set pieces. There is the initial set piece comedy of Professor Paganel and the children sneaking on to Lord Glenarvan's boat and then another surrounding an earthquake whilst they are up a mountain, precariously camping on a ledge. This is followed by a biblical flood which leaves them up a huge Ombu tree where Paganel uses the eggs they find to cook an omelette whilst singing about making the most of things. And I could go on because quite simply "In Search of the Castaways" is full of creativity and it is fun for being such.
What "In Search of the Castaways" also has is a lot of is Maurice Chevalier playing it for laughs, who tells a panther there is no time for that sort of thing when they come face to face on the tree. And Chevalier not only works well with Wilfrid Hyde-White but also Hayley Mills who without wanting to sound mean delivers a typical performance from her Walt Disney years which if you like that sort of thing, and it is mine, helps to make the movie.
What this all boils down to is that "In Search of the Castaways" is an old school Walt Disney adventure movie which even now is a lot of fun thanks to its creativity as well as the performances of Maurice Chevalier and Hayley Mills.