|The Blue Lagoon|
|Directed by||Frank Launder|
Henry De Vere Stacpoole
|Produced by|| Sidney Gilliat |
|Edited by||Thelma Connell|
|Music by||Clifton Parker|
|Distributed by||General Film Distributors|
|1 March 1949|
The Blue Lagoon is a 1949 British coming-of-age romance and adventure film directed and co-produced by Frank Launder (with Sidney Gilliat) and starring Jean Simmons and Donald Houston. The screenplay was adapted by John Baines, Michael Hogan, and Frank Launder from the 1908 novel The Blue Lagoon by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. The original music score was composed by Clifton Parker and the cinematography was by Geoffrey Unsworth.
The film tells the story of two young children shipwrecked on a tropical island paradise in the South Pacific. Emotional feelings and physical changes arise as they grow to maturity and fall in love. The film has major thematic similarities to the Biblical account about Adam and Eve.
In 1841, 8-year-old Emmeline Foster and 10-year-old Michael Reynolds, two British children, are the survivors of a shipwreck in the South Pacific. After days afloat, they are marooned on a lush tropical island in the company of kindly old sailor Paddy Button. Eventually, Paddy dies in a drunken binge, leaving Emmeline and Michael alone. They survive solely on their resourcefulness and the bounty of their remote paradise.
Eight years later, in 1849, the now-adult couple live together in the island paradise, fish, and collect "beads" from the shellfish in the surrounding lagoon. One day, a ship arrives carrying Doctor Murdoch and James Carter, two British men, who are intimated to have fled as criminals from civilization. Surprised to find the couple on the island, Doctor Murdoch soon realizes that Michael collects valuable pearls without knowing their true worth. While Murdoch attempts to trick Michael into getting him a bounty of pearls, Carter tries to kidnap Emmeline and escape. Murdoch and Carter kill each other on the boat, and Michael and Emmeline vow to never attempt to leave the island again. They marry, and during a tropical storm, a child, Paddy, is born.
In 1852, Emmeline is reminded of the outside world and wants to leave the island. She fears for their child if Michael and she should die. Michael gives in to her pleading and they pack a small boat and leave the island. Becalmed in mid-ocean, they succumb to exposure. They are found by a British ship, but the film leaves their fate ambiguous, showing only that Paddy remains alive in the small boat.
The film was an adaptation of a novel that had been filmed in 1923, but it was the first notable adaptation.
Herbert Wilcox bought the rights to the novel in 1935, as part of his slate of films in production.It was going to be shot in color in Honolulu.
He did not make the film, though, and sold the rights to Gainsborough Pictures at the recommendation of Frank Launder, who always admired the novel.Gainsborough announced the film in 1938 as part of a slate of 10 films. The stars were to be Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood, who had just appeared in Gainsborough's The Lady Vanishes ; Will Fyffe was to co-star. In 1939, Gainsborough went into a co-production with 20th Century Fox and Lockwood was going to co-star with Richard Greene, under contract to Fox. Plans to make the film were postponed due to the war.
The project was reactivated after the war and announced in 1946 with Frank Launder attached to direct.Extensive location searches were undertaken before deciding to make the film in Fiji.
Plans to make the film were postponed due to Britain's currency difficulties, but eventually plans were reactivated.
The evil traders were borrowed from the second sequel to the source novel for this film and are not part of the original novel.
Jean Simmons was attached to the project at an early stage, due to her success in Great Expectations (1946).
Donald Houston was selected as the male lead over 5,000 applicants, 100 of whom were screen-tested.
The film was shot on location in Fiji, Yasawa Islands, [ citation needed ]and at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England.
In December, a light plane carrying Leslie Gilliat, the producer and brother of Sidney Gilliat, crashed into a river near Suva. Both Gilliat and the pilot escaped unharmed.
Simmons left England in November, spent some time in Australia, and then travelled to Fiji.Some doubt arose that she would be allowed into Fiji, as she was only 18 and the Fijian colonial regime was contemplating a ban on people under 19 into the country as a precaution against polio being introduced.
Huston and Simmons narrowly escaped injury in Fiji when their car overturned.
The bulk of filming in Fiji took place on the Yasawa Islands. Storms caused shooting to take three months.
The Blue Lagoon was the seventh-most popular film at the British box office in 1949.According to Kinematograph Weekly, the 'biggest winner' at the box office in 1949 Britain was The Third Man with "runners up" being Johnny Belinda , The Secret Life of Walter Mitty , The Paleface , Scott of the Antarctic , The Blue Lagoon, Maytime in Mayfair , Easter Parade , Red River , and You Can't Sleep Here .
It made a profit of £40,300. Most of the film's earnings came from abroad.
Jean Merilyn Simmons, was a British actress and singer. One of J. Arthur Rank's "well-spoken young starlets", she appeared predominantly in films, beginning with those made in Great Britain during and after World War II, followed mainly by Hollywood films from 1950 onwards.
Margaret Mary Day Lockwood, CBE, was an English actress. One of Britain's most popular film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, her film appearances included The Lady Vanishes (1938), Night Train to Munich (1940), The Man in Grey (1943), and The Wicked Lady (1945). She was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Actress for the 1955 film Cast a Dark Shadow. She also starred in the television series Justice (1971–74).
The Blue Lagoon is a 1980 American dramatic coming-of-age romantic survival film directed by Randal Kleiser from a screenplay written by Douglas Day Stewart based on the 1908 novel of the same name by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. The film stars Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. The music score was composed by Basil Poledouris and the cinematography was by Néstor Almendros.
Phyllis Hannah Murray-Hill, known professionally as Phyllis Calvert, was an English film, stage and television actress. She was one of the leading stars of the Gainsborough melodramas of the 1940s such as The Man in Grey (1943) and was one of the most popular movie stars in Britain in the 1940s. She continued her acting career for another 50 years.
Henry de Vere Stacpoole was an Irish author. His best-known work is the 1908 romance novel The Blue Lagoon, which has been adapted into multiple films. He published using his own name and sometimes the pseudonym Tyler de Saix.
The Blue Lagoon is a romance novel written by Henry De Vere Stacpoole and was first published by T. Fisher Unwin in 1908. It is the first novel of the Blue Lagoon trilogy, which also includes The Garden of God (1923) and The Gates of Morning (1925). The novel has inspired several film adaptations, most notably the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins.
Eric Harold Portman was an English stage and film actor. He is probably best remembered for his roles in several films for Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger during the 1940s.
Jean Kent was an English film and television actress.
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Arthur Crabtree was a British cinematographer and film director. He directed films with comedians such as Will Hay, the Crazy Gang and Arthur Askey and several of the Gainsborough Melodramas.
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Christopher Columbus is a 1949 British biographical film starring Fredric March as Christopher Columbus and Florence Eldridge as Queen Isabella. It is loosely based on the 1941 novel Columbus by Rafael Sabatini with much of the screenplay rewritten by Sydney and Muriel Box.
Edward Black was a British film producer, best known for being head of production at Gainsborough Studios in the late 1930s and early 1940s, during which time he oversaw production of the Gainsborough melodramas. He also produced such classic films as The Lady Vanishes (1938). Black has been called "one of the unsung heroes of the British film industry." In 1946 Mason called Black "the one good production executive" that J. Arthur Rank had. Frank Launder called Black "a great showman and yet he had a great feeling for scripts and spent more time on them than anyone I have ever known. His experimental films used to come off as successful as his others."
Patricia Roc was an English film actress, popular in the Gainsborough melodramas such as Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945) and The Wicked Lady (1945), though she only made one film in Hollywood, Canyon Passage (1946). She also appeared in Millions Like Us (1943), Jassy (1945), The Brothers (1947) and When the Bough Breaks (1947).
Caravan is a 1946 British black-and-white drama film directed by Arthur Crabtree. It was one of the Gainsborough melodramas and is based on the 1942 novel Caravan by Eleanor Smith.
The Gainsborough melodramas were a sequence of films produced by the British film studio Gainsborough Pictures between 1943 and 1947 which conformed to a melodramatic style. The melodramas were not a film series but an unrelated sequence of films which had similar themes that were usually developed by the same film crew and frequently recurring actors who played similar characters in each. They were mostly based on popular books by female novelists and they encompassed costume dramas, such as The Man in Grey (1943) and The Wicked Lady (1945), and modern-dress dramas, such as Love Story (1944) and They Were Sisters (1945). The popularity of the films with audiences peaked mid-1940s when cinema audiences consisted primarily of women. The influence of the films led to other British producers releasing similarly themed works, such as The Seventh Veil (1945), Pink String and Sealing Wax (1945), Hungry Hill (1947), The White Unicorn (1947), Idol of Paris (1948), and The Reluctant Widow (1950) and often with the talent that made Gainsborough melodramas successful.
The Bad Lord Byron is a 1949 British historical drama film about the life of Lord Byron. It was directed by David MacDonald and starred Dennis Price as Byron with Mai Zetterling, Linden Travers and Joan Greenwood.
The Calendar is a black and white 1948 British drama film directed by Arthur Crabtree and starring Greta Gynt, John McCallum, Raymond Lovell and Leslie Dwyer. It is based on the 1929 play The Calendar and subsequent novel by Edgar Wallace. A previous version had been released in 1931.
Dear Murderer is a 1947 British film noir crime, drama, thriller, directed by Arthur Crabtree for Gainsborough Pictures, and starring Eric Portman and Greta Gynt.
The Blue Lagoon is a 1923 silent film adaptation of Henry De Vere Stacpoole's 1908 novel of the same name about children who come of age while stranded on a tropical island. It is the first screen adaptation of the story and was followed by remakes in 1949 and 1980. The film performed poorly in South African cinemas, and is considered now to be lost.