Robinson Crusoe (1954) starring Dan O'Herlihy, Jaime Fernández, Felipe de Alba, Chel López, José Chávez, Emilio Garibay directed by Luis Buñuel Movie Review

Robinson Crusoe (1954)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Dan O'Herlihy in Robinson Crusoe (1954)

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I should think Daniel Defoe's story "Robinson Crusoe" is so well known that even those who have not read his adventure or watched a movie adaptation are still aware of the basic storyline. On the chance there is someone here who doesn't know it is the story of seaman Robinson Crusoe who when a violent tornado whips up and wrecks the ship he is serving on ends up swimming to an island, a seemingly abandoned island where he has to learn to survive. But then one day having set up home for himself he becomes aware that he is not alone as he sees a tribe of cannibals.

As I said Defoe's story is so well known that you don't need to have read the book to be aware of it and even if you aren't you might soon realise that his story of being stranded on an island has been the inspiration for countless other movies. But this version of "Robinson Crusoe" is slightly different to other versions as whilst many have focused on Crusoe's attempts to build a life on the island this one deals with his moral conflicts over surviving, whether he should and whether killing animals is right. It gives the story more depth but without completely removing the fun adventure side of things.

But here is the truth about this version of "Robinson Crusoe" as its appeal comes from the fact it is directed by Luis Buñuel a name I doubt casual movie lovers will recognize. Luis Buñuel made a name for himself as a maker of surreal movies which were outside of the norm and whilst "Robinson Crusoe" is probably the most main stream movie he made there are moments of surrealism thrown in to the mix and in truth they work. But it does make it a movie whose appeal now is more to fans of Luis Buñuel than general movie fans who might not be as impressed by the different direction which he took the story in.

Aside from that well of course "Robinson Crusoe" is for a long time a one man show and so we have Dan O'Herlihy as Crusoe. It is a solid performance from the actor especially when you consider that at times it is almost a silent movie as the words we hear are his inner voice rather than actually delivering dialogue. This does make it feel a little cheesy in places such as the wide eyed look which he shows when he discover the tools for making fire when he explores the wreckage of his ship.

What this all boils down to is that for the average movie fan this version of "Robinson Crusoe" is a solid adaptation. But as I said its appeal is more to those who are fans of surrealist director Luis Buñuel who controls his natural instinct to deliver something close to being mainstream.