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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Classic Film Review: In Search of the Castaways (1962)

In Search of the Castaways stars Hayley Mills as Mary Grant, one of a pair of siblings determined to find their missing sailor father. They are aided by Jacques Paganel (Maurice Chevalier), who finds their father's message in a bottle, and Lord Glenarven (Wilfred Hyde-White) and his son John (Michael Anderson Jr). In an adventure that takes them from South America over to Australia and involves a flood, an avalanche, pirates, savages and a volcanic eruption (amongst other things), the quartet search for Captain Grant (Jack Gwillim). The film also features George Sanders as Thomas Ayerton and Wilfrid Brambell as Bill Gaye.

I found that this one requires concentration - if only because so much happens that you could find the group having lurched from one disaster to another and you missed it because you blinked. They switch continents quite quickly, managing to come out on top under the direst of circumstances. My favourite sequence was perhaps the flooded tree one, where the strange extended family get into a spot of bother when a big cat takes refuge alongside them.

The quest to discover the whereabouts Captain Grant only really takes shape when they land on the right continent and there George Sanders appears to do his dastardly devil routine. He's so good at it but, despite seeing it in so many films, I can't help but think of him opposite Ethel Merman in Call Me Madam (1953) - that's the peril of me having a musical mind!

Hayley Mills is as endearing as ever in this relatively lightweight piece. This is the fourth film of hers I've reviewed on here, though my favourite probably remains The Trouble with Angels (1966, review here). The brilliance, however, comes from Wilfrid Brambell as the loopy Bill Gaye. He's the stand-out in a loopy film and it's worth watching him for the volcano scenes alone.

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