Yachtsman Steve Drexel bets his friends that he can swim ashore on a remote south-seas island with nothing but a toothbrush and be 'living the life of Riley' when they return. With handmade implements the lighthearted, athletic Steve improbably builds a comfortable home with all amenities...and local fauna trained to help him! Meanwhile, a grass-skirted young lady flees an unwelcome wedding on a nearby island. Steve calls her Saturday, but what is he to do with her?
Running Time: 76 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: G
Steve Drexel (Douglas Fairbanks) is sailing the South Seas on a yacht with friends William Belmont (William Farnum) and Professor Carmichale (Earle Browne). When passing by a deserted South Seas island, the Park Avenue elite accepts his friends dare that he wouldn't be able to survive there like Robinson Crusoe and with his dog Rooney jumps ship. After a month Steve proves he has the skills to feed himself and survive. Meanwhile, his friends have travelled to Sumatra to hunt tigers. Steve finds his Friday when a native from a nearby island canoes over. Also from the same nearby island comes a young bride-to-be, who ran away before the marriage ceremony. The maiden in a grass skirt is given the name Saturday (Maria Alba). When Steve's friends return, they go to the neighboring island and induce the natives to pull a prank and scare Steve. One of the natives is Saturday's jilted groom, and things become real when he recognizes his would-be bride on the island with Steve. It leads to Steve running away from the hundred pursuing natives and jumping onto his friend's yacht. Saturday also manages to stowaway on the yacht. Back in New York, Steve arranges for Saturday to perform a native dance for the Ziegfeld Follies.
Douglas Fairbanks does a great job in this film. He plays the role of a castaway (Steve) which puts Tom Hanks to shame. Steve bets he can re-create his Park Avenue lifestyle on the island using only his wits. True to his word, within 2 months time he has created every manner of contraption to recreate his life of ease. He captures animals and humans to create servants. He builds a radio and a raised hut that is quite impressive. It's a rather unrealistic story as in real life one would get hurt, and the weather would act up a lot more. Steve never faces a bad wind. He also gets a monkey to milk a goat and his dog to keep another goat walking on a treadmill. In real life it would take 2 months just to train the animals. But no matter, we watch to be amused by all the ingenious contraptions made from palm leaves and coconuts. Steve's love of life is infectious and bordering on mania, but it gets him through. There's a great climax where his friends return to get him while 2 tribes of headhunters come after Steve as well.
A. Edward Sutherland
Thomas J. Geraghty
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