The Admirable Crichton
The Admirable Crichton – 1957 | 94 mins | Comedy | Colour
Lewis Gilbert‘s TechniColour adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s satirical stage play of the perfect butler. The story was originally filmed in 1918. Kenneth Moore and Cecil Parker excel in the their respective roles of servant and employer; perfectly changing their personas and protocols to convey the hilarity of subsequent role-reversal.
Loam Hall, England, 1905. Crichton (Kenneth More) is the indefatigable butler for the family of haughty Edwardian aristocrat Lord Loam (Cecil Parker). When the family, and its servants, are shipwrecked and marooned on a tropical South Seas island, only Crichton has the skill and resourcefulness to keep everyone alive. Within a few weeks, cracks begin to appear in the social order and the class system is reversed: Crichton is the newly appointed “Governor”, Lord Loam becomes “Daddy”, and the rest of the family take up the role of eager servants. The eldest of the three daughters, Lady Mary (Sally Ann Howes), believing she will never return to England, falls in love with the “Governor”, which dashes the hopes of the family maidservant Tweeny (Diane Cilento), who also loves the ‘Guv’.
After two years on the island, the castaways have become accustomed to their idyllic habitat and thoughts turn to choosing mates; Crichton finally decides on marrying Lady Mary. On the day of their proposed wedding, a passing ship is sighted and the islanders light a beacon to signal it. Crichton’s first action is to don his butler’s suit and resume his original position. Once rescued they return to the London estate and the original master-servant status quo is restored. Crichton’s anticipated marriage to Lady Mary is now a social impossibility, and not wishing to embarrass the family, Crichton packs his bags and leaves in the company of his original sweetheart; Tweeny.
Lewis Gilbert: Director
Wilkie Cooper: Cinematography
Bernard Nevill: Costume Design
Peter R Hunt: Editing
Richard Addinsell: Original Music
Douglas Gamley: Original Music
Ian Dalrymple: Producer
William Kellner: Production Design
Vernon Harris: Script
Lewis Gilbert: Script