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The Blue Lagoon (1949 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Blue Lagoon
Bluelagoonlc8.jpeg
Lobby card
Directed byFrank Launder
Produced bySidney Gilliat
Frank Launder
Written byNovel:
Henry De Vere Stacpoole
Screenplay:
John Baines
Michael Hogan
Frank Launder
StarringJean Simmons
Donald Houston
Noel Purcell
James Hayter
Cyril Cusack
Music byClifton Parker
CinematographyGeoffrey Unsworth
Edited byThelma Connell
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors (UK)
Universal Pictures (US)
Release date
1 March 1949 (1949-03-01)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

The Blue Lagoon is a 1949 British coming-of-age romance and adventure film produced and directed by Frank Launder and starring Jean Simmons and Donald Houston. The screenplay was adapted by John Baines, Michael Hogan, and Frank Launder from the 1908 novel The Blue Lagoon by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. The original music score was composed by Clifton Parker and the cinematography was by Geoffrey Unsworth.

The film tells the story of two young children shipwrecked on a tropical island paradise in the South Pacific. Emotional feelings and physical changes arise as they grow to maturity and fall in love. The film has major thematic similarities to the Biblical account about Adam and Eve.

Plot

In 1841, 8-year-old Emmeline Foster and 10-year-old Michael Reynolds, two British children, are the survivors of a shipwreck in the South Pacific. After days afloat, they are marooned on a lush tropical island in the company of kindly old sailor Paddy Button. Eventually, Paddy dies in a drunken binge, leaving Emmeline and Michael alone. They survive solely on their resourcefulness and the bounty of their remote paradise.

Eight years later, in 1849, the now-adult couple live together in the island paradise, fish, and collect "beads" from the shellfish in the surrounding lagoon. One day, a ship arrives carrying Doctor Murdoch and James Carter, two British men, who are intimated to have fled as criminals from civilization. Surprised to find the couple on the island, Doctor Murdoch soon realizes that Michael collects valuable pearls without knowing their true worth. While Murdoch attempts to trick Michael into getting him a bounty of pearls, Carter tries to kidnap Emmeline and escape. Murdoch and Carter kill each other on the boat, and Michael and Emmeline vow to never attempt to leave the island again. They marry, and during a tropical storm, a child, Paddy, is born.

In 1852, 3 years later, Emmeline is reminded of the outside world and wants to leave the island. She fears for their child if Michael and she should die. Michael gives in to her pleading and they pack a small boat and leave the island. Becalmed in mid-ocean, they succumb to exposure. They are found by a British ship, but the film leaves their fate ambiguous, showing only that Paddy remains alive in the small boat.

Cast

Actor Role
Jean Simmons Emmaline Foster
Donald Houston Michael Reynolds
Susan Stranks Emmaline (younger)
Peter Rudolph Jones Michael (younger)
Noel Purcell Paddy Button
James Hayter Dr. Murdock
Cyril Cusack James Carter
Nora Nicholson Mrs. Stannard
Maurice Denham Ship's Captain
Philip Stainton Mr. Ansty
Patrick Barr Second Mate
Lyn Evans Trotter
Russell Waters Craggs
John Boxer Nick Corbett
Bill Raymond Marsden

Background and production

The film was an adaptation of a novel that had been filmed in 1923.

Herbert Wilcox bought the rights to the novel in 1935, and announced he would make it as part of a slate of films.[1] It was going to be shot in color in Honolulu.[2]

He did not make the film, though, and sold the rights to Gainsborough Pictures at the recommendation of Frank Launder, who always admired the novel.[3] Gainsborough announced the film in 1938 as part of a slate of 10 films.[4] The stars were to be Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood, who had just appeared in Gainsborough's The Lady Vanishes; Will Fyffe was to co-star.[5][6] In 1939, it was announced Gainsborough would make the film as a co-production with 20th Century Fox and that Lockwood would co-star with Richard Greene, under contract to Fox.[7] Plans to make the film were postponed due to the war.[8]

The project was reactivated after the war and announced in 1947 with Frank Launder attached to direct.[9] Extensive location searches were undertaken before deciding to make the movie in Fiji.[10]

Plans to make the film were postponed due to Britain's currency difficulties, but eventually plans were reactivated.[11]

Changes from novel

The evil traders were invented for this film and are not part of the novel.

Casting

Jean Simmons was attached to the project at an early stage, due to her success in Great Expectations (1946).[12]

Donald Houston was selected as the male lead over 5,000 applicants, 100 of whom were screen-tested.[13]

Shooting

The film was shot on location in Fiji, Yasawa Islands,[14] and at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England.

In December, a light plane carrying Leslie Gilliat, the producer and brother of Sidney Gilliat, crashed into a river near Suva. Both Gilliat and the pilot escaped unharmed.[15]

Simmons left England in November, spent some time in Australia, and then travelled to Fiji.[16][17] Some doubt arose thatshe would be allowed into Fiji, as she was only 18 and the Fijian colonial regime was contemplating a ban on people under 19 into the country as a precaution against polio being introduced.[18]

Huston and Simmons narrowly escaped injury in Fiji when their car overturned.[19]

The bulk of filming in Fiji took place on the Yasawa Islands. Storms caused shooting to take three months.[20]

Reception

The Blue Lagoon was the seventh-most popular film at the British box office in 1949.[21][22] According to Kinematograph Weekly, the 'biggest winner' at the box office in 1949 Britain was The Third Man with "runners up" being Johnny Belinda, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Paleface, Scott of the Antarctic, The Blue Lagoon, Maytime in Mayfair, Easter Parade, Red River, and You Can't Sleep Here.[23]

Other versions and sequel

See also

References

  1. ^ "HERBERT WILCOX'S PROGRAMME". The West Australian. 52 (#15, 542). Western Australia. 17 April 1936. p. 2. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ "BRITISH FILMS". The Sydney Morning Herald (#30, 504). 9 October 1935. p. 14. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "FEMININE INTEREST". Warwick Daily News (#9124). Queensland, Australia. 1 November 1948. p. 3. Retrieved 19 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "BRITISH FILM PRODUCTION". The West Australian. 54 (#16, 213). Western Australia. 17 June 1938. p. 9. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Will Fyffe's Next". The West Australian. 54 (#16, 255). Western Australia. 5 August 1938. p. 3. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ ""The"Blue Lagoon" In Technicolor". The Advocate. Tasmania, Australia. 24 June 1938. p. 9. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "Here's Hot News From All Studios!". The Australian Women's Weekly. 6 (#35). 4 February 1939. p. 5 (The Movie World). Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "New Plays From English Studios". The Mercury. CLI (#21, 492). Tasmania, Australia. 14 October 1939. p. 5. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "Films". The Sun (#11621). Sydney. 24 April 1947. p. 6 (LATE FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "British Film News". The Sydney Morning Herald (#34, 204). 7 August 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "FILM NEWS AND GOSSIP". Truth (#3010). Sydney. 28 September 1947. p. 58. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ "and From". The Mail. 35 (#1, 806). Adelaide. 4 January 1947. p. 9 (Sunday Magazine). Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ "FILM FLASH CABLE". The Sunday Times. Perth. 21 December 1947. p. 12 Supplement: The Sunday Times MAGAZINE. Retrieved 7 July 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ "Jean Simmons Goes Native", cover story, Illustrated magazine 15 January 1949
  15. ^ "Film Plane Crashes at Suva". Kalgoorlie Miner. 53 (#13, 171). Western Australia. 23 December 1947. p. 5. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ "Weather Delays British Film Star In Brisbane". The Sydney Morning Herald (#34, 305). 3 December 1947. p. 3. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  17. ^ "Jean Simmons, British Film Star, Here." The Argus (#31, 599). Melbourne. 10 December 1947. p. 4 (The Argus Woman's Magazine). Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  18. ^ "Paralysis Precautions May Stop Work On Film". The Chronicle. 90 (#5, 114). Adelaide. 24 December 1947. p. 5. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  19. ^ "British Star of "Blue Lagoon" In Car Capsize". The Age (#28918). Victoria, Australia. 1 January 1948. p. 1. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  20. ^ "DELAY IN FILMING OF "BLUE LAGOON"". Tweed Daily. XXXV (#41). New South Wales, Australia. 17 February 1948. p. 6. Retrieved 10 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  21. ^ "TOPS AT HOME". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane. 31 December 1949. p. 4. Retrieved 24 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  22. ^ Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32 no. 3. p. 258.
  23. ^ Lant, Antonia (1991). Blackout : reinventing women for wartime British cinema. Princeton University Press. p. 232.

External links

This page was last edited on 16 March 2021, at 11:20
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