Wednesday, January 30, 2019
This is my entry in the Jean Simmons Blogathon hosted by The Wonderful World of Cinema and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies
The Blue Lagoon started out life as a novel by H. deVere Stacpoole. It has been filmed three times (with a fourth somewhat loosely based version that was made-for-TV). The most famous one is the 1980 version featuring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. But a silent film version from 1923 featuring Molly Adair and Dick Cruickshanks predated it, as did a 1949 version featuring Jean Simmons and Donald Houston. This post is about the second film.
The Blue Lagoon (1949):
On a ship in the middle of the ocean, a boy's father is laid to rest in the sea. The boy, Michael (Peter Rudolph Jones), is put into the care of one of the sailors, Paddy Button (Noel Purcell). Meanwhile, Emmaline (Susan Stranks) is a passenger on the ship. When the ship catches fire, the plan to abandon ship ensues. But both Michael and Emmaline, along with Paddy, end up being left behind.
The three end up stranded in the ocean, unaware of where they are, or where the rest of the ship's passengers and crew have gone. They float endlessly for a few days until they find an island. On the island they find an abandoned hut, of which all that remains of the previous resident is a cask of rum.
Paddy takes charge of his two new wards and tries to establish a temporary home, always counting on someone coming to look for them. When a ship appears on the horizon the try to light a signal fie, but an unexpected rain dashes their hopes. Distraught, Paddy returns to the hut and gets smashed on the rum and eventually ends up dying. Now the two children are all alone.
They survive by their wits and grow into young adults. What was initially a relationship as brother and sister (although they aren't related, I should note), eventually develops into a love.At one point they consummate their love and Emmaline becomes pregnant. But they are still stranded on the island and really don't have any idea how to be husband and wife, much less parents.
eventually they are found. But the rescue is not what they expected. The "rescuers" are some pirates who force Michael to work for them, diving for pearls. Fortunately for the pair, the greed gets the better of the pirates, however.
The question of whether they will ever get off the island comes to Emmaline finally convincing Michael they need to build a boat. She is concerned for the well-being of their baby and what will happen to it after they get even older. What happens at the end is left for you to discover.
Time to head home folks. Drive safely.
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This is the only version of the story I have seen thanks to its airing on TVO (Ontario public television) many moons ago. What a career Jean Simmons had being in films since she was a teenager.ReplyDelete
My access was through a youtube transfer. poorly done, from a TV broadcast (in Hawaii). I'd like to see it again on DVD, though. It was pretty good. Thanks for reading.Delete
Unfortunately, this film version of the book was withdrawn from circulation as a result of rights disputes with the estate of Henry De Vere Stacpoole. Those rights disputes led to its American remake. On January 1, 2022, the body of work of Stacpoole will become public domain, and I hope ITV Studios (the corporate heir to the Rank Organization) could to a proper restoration for that film.Delete
Great review! I haven't seen this film yet, affraid to find it too cheesy (I know the 80s version has the reputation to be). Thanks a lot for your participation to our blogathon! Btw, I also hate watching movies with a bad quality. I recommend the social media ok.ru. You can find a lot of film with a not so bad quality there (even hd sometimes!). There aren't any publicity or weird pop-ups.ReplyDelete
The only version left I haven't seen is the silent one. Thanks for reading.Delete
I wouldn't mind seeing this, as I do like Jean Simmons a great deal, and I don't think I've ever seen her this young.ReplyDelete
She is an attractive woman at that age. Thanks for reading.Delete
Ok I admit it The Brooke Shields version is the only one I knew about. So I learned something new today! And this one even sounds better.ReplyDelete
This is one is better. Brooke Shields is no actress in my opinion. Thanks for reading.Delete
What?! You're going to leave us hanging and not give any clues to the ending?ReplyDelete
If I gave away the ending, then there would be no incentive to watch it. Thanks for reading.Delete
Sounds like an interesting movie! Stranded situations are always fascinating. Thanks for participating in the blogathon!ReplyDelete
It's quite a bit better than the Brooke Shields remake. Thanks for reading.Delete
I read on the web that Gaumont-British planned an epic, truer-to-text adaptation of the novel à la "Gone with the Wind" and "The Godfather" with three Emmelines and three Richards in the late 1930s with Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave. Having this been filmed and World War II had not intervened, it could become the masterpiece that never was!ReplyDelete
The novel itself has a triptych-structured narrative, with the siblings as children, teenagers and young adults, something the film adaptations by Frank Launder (the one starring Jean Simmons) and Randal Kleiser (the one starring Brooke Shields) failed to achieve. Now with a rush of triptych-structured coming-of-age films like "Boyhood" and "Moonlight," should it be time for a new adaptation of "The Blue Lagoon"?ReplyDelete