Finders Keepers site recently…and Forgotten Films appears to be the source of the Finders release, as their logo is displayed onscreen once the closing credits are over. I will not lie to you: it’s a very rough (though certainly watchable) print—so uneven that, for example, some of the movie’s narration has gone missing…and that narration comes courtesy of our obedient servant Orson Welles (Orson agreed to the gig for $25, then donated the money to charity). There are marked differences between the 1940 and 1960 versions, naturally; you’re not going to find that silly animal steeplechase (though one of the characters in the 1940 film does ride an ostrich briefly) or the business with the pirates, and the Disney version adds another female character for a little love interest, if you know what I mean…and I think you do.
|Tim Holt, Thomas Mitchell, Edna Best, Terry Kilburn|
|Freddie Bartholomew, Mitchell, Holt|
|Kilburn, Best, Bartholomew, Mitchell|
Addendum: Linda Young corrected me on Facebook that the “animal steeplechase” I described as Disney’s flight of fancy is in Wyss’ novel; I haven’t cracked open the book since I was a youngster, and I honestly didn’t remember it being in there. In addition, with regards to the pirates Linda notes: “…I thought Disney had made the pirates up out of whole cloth until recently, until I discovered there are actually two versions of the book!” She further goes on to say: “There is another version of the book, with something like thirty more chapters that continues where Wyss senior left off, written by a French woman, and the attack of the pirates (originally "savages," so you can see Uncle Walt cleaned that up) come from that.”
Disney and Wyss also introduce a second female character (the “love interest” I alluded to in the review) into the Robinson’s narrative…only they approach this in different directions: in the Wyss version, she’s a woman discovered on a neighboring island while Uncle Walt presents her as a gal living among the pirates disguised as a cabin boy. Be that as it may, I needed to put together this mea culpa and I’m most grateful to Linda for keeping me honest.