The Admirable Crichton (1957)
“It’s a howl from A to TEA!”
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Cast: Kenneth More, Diane Cilento, Cecil Parker
Synopsis: The butler of an English lord becomes master of their shipwrecked group.
Only Britain, with its rigidly defined class system, could have produced a piece of work like The Admirable Crichton – and pull it off in such an unassuming and threat-free way. Kenneth More, who is perhaps a little too familiar as slightly upper class heroes to pull off this role successfully, nevertheless plays the eponymous character with aplomb. The perfect Gentleman’s Gentleman, Crichton seamlessly adapts to life on a desert island while the upper class members of his household struggle even to light a fire, and it’s not long before they’re all deferring to him and calling him Governor. It’s a pleasant enough film, outdated and yet curiously timeless. Much of it is set on an idyllic desert island, exquisitely captured in superb colour by Wilkie Cooper, on which no less than four scantily clad ladies scamper about while maintaining their supply of vibrant red lipstick even after two years has passed. Sally Anne Howes, as the aristocratic Lady Mary, truly never looked more gorgeous, while dear old Cecil Parker steals much of More’s limelight as his well-meaning but slightly pompous employer.
(Reviewed 26th April 2012)