Films about servants who dominate their masters comprise a diverse catalogue of titles, many of which seem to be adaptations of The Admirable Crichton
. Peter Pan
author J. M. Barrie's shipwreck satire of a dutiful butler who bests his aristocratic betters was first staged in London in 1902 before moving to Broadway the following year. Early film adaptations included G. B. Samuelson's The Admirable Crichton
(1918), Cecil B. DeMille's Male and Female
(1919), and Norman Taurog's We're Not Dressing
(1934), which starred Bing Crosby, not as a valet but a deckhand who helps a yachtsman and his party survive being beached on a tropical atoll. British director Lewis Gilbert's go at the material marked the first color adaptation of The Admirable Crichton
, retitled Paradise Lagoon
(1957) for American release. The sumptuous Technicolor photography of Wilkie Cooper benefited from location shooting, with Bermuda subbing for the South Seas, and the unflappable Kenneth More as the star of what one contemporary critic has dubbed "Downton Abbey
meets Swept Away...
." Director Gilbert later helmed the James Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me
(1977) and Moonraker
(1979) before bequeathing the franchise to his Paradise Lagoon
sound editor John Glen.
By Richard Harland Smith
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