[D-G] Friday and the other island

Sylvie Ruelle sylvieruelle at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 13 02:09:59 PST 2004


In terms of "savage, barbarians, civilized man": this film was 
suggested to me from this group

I am unable to identify a link with Foucault's three same terms above,
nor with Deleuze.

The story however makes one wonder.

Very pythonesque, 28 July 2004
Author: edd ward (ejwward at yahoo.co.uk) from london

  "A satellite view of the earth is the first camera shot of this film 
then it plunges down to the island on which Crusoe (O'Toole) is 
stranded.A quick and direct start to a film. Every now and again I 
expected John Cleese to be playing a piano on the beach.There is a 
scene when the two characters are on a podium after racing, it's 
straight out of Monty Python. There is definitely something about this 
film even though there are some cringe worthy singing scenes that, I 
think are a little ludicrous.It delves into religion, class,education, 
race, the idea of money and the general cultural relativism that exists 
between the proverbial "savage" and "civilized" man. Although people 
have said that Crusoe is the fool in this version, I do tend to see 
some sense in the things he does, like the need for money in order to 
keep a work ethic and a civilized notion of transaction of 
possessions.However his religious spin on everything is a little 
monotonous and self deceiving. He is put into context of his origin 
when some Brithish missionaries arrive on the island.He is actually not 
that bad a fellow at all.

Friday (Rountree)is a bit of a hippy in this really and overly 

Some where in the middle of the two characters is the sort of person 
you could live on a desert island with!

I thought Crusoe's shooting himself was a wonderfully dark ending.

Man Overboard!, 4 August 2003
Author: col_rutherford from Victoria, Canada

  This is one of those films with an intriguing concept that is ruined 
by poor execution. "Man Friday" is a revisionist take on the classic 
novel "Robinson Crusoe" told from the point of view of the castaway 
Englishman Crusoe's (Peter O'Toole) native companion/servant Friday 
(Richard Roundtree). Adapted from a stage play, this is basically a 
two-hander carried by O'Toole and Roundtree's performances. The duo's 
evolving relationship is obviously a metaphor for racism, slavery, 
colonialism, and capitalism. That part of the film works well, with 
Crusoe's more "civilized" Christian and English ways revealed as 
irrational and unnatural. The problem is that the filmmakers add all 
sorts of other nonsense, perhaps to broaden the film's appeal. Friday 
often breaks into his "native" songs, but he sings the lyrics in 
English and the music sounds too contemporary. There is a comical 
talking parrot. Worst of all is a sequence where Crusoe and Friday try 
to escape from the island by inventing all sorts of silly flying 
machines, with accompanying sound effects borrowed from an old 
"Roadrunner" cartoon. There are also some plotting problems. Crusoe is 
not properly introduced and Friday goes from being terrified of Crusoe 
to amiably calling him "master" way too quickly. Since director Jack 
Gold can't decide if this is a serious drama or a 
musical-comedy-adventure, it doesn't succeed as either.

4 out of 10.

  Interesting though overlong subversion of the Daniel Defoe novel., 7 
July 2003
Author: Jonathon Dabell (barnabyrudge at hotmail.com) from Wakefield, 

  Robinson Crusoe is an extremely important work of literature, being 
one of the very earliest novels ever written in the accepted "novel" 
form. However, it is also extraordinarily racist. To understand its 
racism, one has to consider the attitudes that prevailed at the time 
when the book was published. Were it written nowadays, it would 
probably be banned. Within its historical context, though, it is 
rightly hailed as a classic. The makers of this film have realised that 
there is a strong case to revise this essentially racist book, and have 
made encouragingly open-minded and thoughtful attempts to re-do the 
story for a multi-cultural audience.

Man Friday is a reasonably engrossing story of how Crusoe, shipwrecked 
for years on a barren desert island, befriends a savage and names him 
"Friday". As time goes by, Crusoe attempts to change Friday into a 
good, decent Christian, but is shown to be more irrational and ignorant 
than the supposed savage. In the end, Friday proves himself to have a 
far more wise, perceptive and knowledgable personality than Crusoe.

The film is hindered by a few mis-judgements. There was no need for the 
handful of songs that have somehow made it into the script. If those 
misplaced bouts of singing were removed, the end product would 
doubtless have been better. Also, the pacing is a bit erratic, and much 
time seems to be meaninglessly wasted over the course of the 115 minute 
duration. The point could've been made efficiently in 90 minutes, and 
audiences might have felt the moral of the story more sharply. However, 
all in all, this is a worthy film, well acted and thought-provoking 
throughout, and significant for its recognition that the source 
material needed to be revised.

Author: Minerva Breanne Meybridge (minerva at thursdayschild.org) from 
Santa Monica, California

  I have not seen this in a long while, and it has not been released on 
VHS or DVD, but I remember it as in intelligent spoof of Robinson 
Crusoe. It is the same old story we all know, but it is told from the 
perspective of Friday, who, if I recall correctly, narrates the tale 
like a hip soul brother from the 1970's replete with a Jamaican accent.

"Broter, lemme tell ya, iss da story o dis dumb wite mon, who doan know 
his ahs from a coconut grove."

That's not exactly what he said, but it is the gist of how things are 
told. Friday, Richard Roundtree, who had just finished three movies and 
one television series as Shaft, is a wealth of oneupsmanship over the 
not too bright Crusoe, played superbly by Peter O'Toole.

This is a must watch and a keeper. Write ABC Entertainment. Tell them 
to get it out on DVD. I think that one of the problems with this film 
is that AVCO Embassy Pictures, which produced it with ABC, went out of 
business years ago.

A choice film.

  Might is not always right, 8 April 2001
Author:  (lora5588 at hotmail.com) from Canada

  I missed the start of this film on tv but managed to tune in to the 
story's events which appear to carry a strong social message based on 
prevalent ideas, prejudices and conflicts among people. It brings to 
mind the movie, Hawaii, in which the white man's ways and beliefs were 
supposed to transform the local inhabitants but as it turned out, the 
well-meaning visitors had much to learn from the island people's 
customs and beliefs. In a way it's a lesson for us all that we should 
respect cultural differences, customs and values. As the saying goes, 
There are many roads that lead to Rome. The episode of trying to spread 
their inventive wings and fly was great fun to watch and O'Toole's 
furry feet were a hilarious footnote to the scene. I regret some of the 
violence enacted but then those days were not always pleasant times. A 
happier ending would have been nice. On the other hand this film makes 
you stop and think. One can observe the conflict of intellect versus 
soul wisdom being played out. It's a film well worth seeing."

Ms. Sylvie Ruelle
rw_artette_lc at yahoo.com

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