In a previous post, I told the story of the very first movie I'd been allowed to go see by myself.
Yesterday I was surfing the tv channels - even though I have the excellect digiguide software loaded on my laptop - and whaddyaknow, I came upon that very movie, Swiss Family Robinson. It was part way in of course but I started watching nonetheless.
I'd like to report that I watched it to the end and that it somehow rekindled the youthful excitement I'd experienced all those decades ago. I'd like to, I really would.
But I can't. I gave up after 20 minutes. It was painful to watch. I'm sure there are movies that can stand the test of time but this wasn't one of them. I watched the part where a young girl concealed her hair under a scarf and that was enough to pass her off as a cabin boy to fool the pirates on the island. After escaping from the pirates, he/she ran off with his/her 2 young male rescuers who were also completely taken in by this clever disguise. And to think that they had to spend millions to show Tom Cruise peeling off a face mask when he wanted to fool everyone in MI2. I guess we expect more of our disguises these days.
But back to this simpler age of subderuge and from now on I'll refer to the girl as 'she' - or it'll get very silly. But remember, only WE know this truth. Exciting isn't it ??? Anyway, the trio came upon a water hazard and 2 of them decided the best way to cross it would be to strip off their tops and, holding their clothes over their heads, wade across as the water would only come up to their necks. I'm still not sure why it didn't seem to matter that after this they'd have dry tops but soaking wet bottoms - maybe a total striptease was not something to even be mentioned in a Disney movie back then. And being a 60's Disney movie, guess which one didn't quite fancy this idea of a topless wade ? Yep, our friend, the cabin girl. I distinctly remember being very glad of this myself as I was a Catholic 8 year old boy and I didn't think I could've borne the mortal sin of seeing Janet Munro topless - confession or no confession. I also wasn't aware at that time that she was a boxum 26 year old and not the young teen she was playing in the movie. Now THERE was a much superior subderfuge for ya.
So she says she'll cross further down river and when they insist she does what they want to do, she tries to run away. Our lusty youthful male hero proceeds to throw himself upon her and you could've heard the massed tittering in the cinema and whispers of "oh is he in for a surprise now". In the scuffle, the scarf came off, the hair was released and voila, our hero immediately became a stand up actor, if you'll pardon the expression.
After that, it was amazing how she was treated and expected to behave. The hero lad actually said......we'll make things easy for you !! She was suddenly relegated to domestic duties round the place and was never involved in any decision making or fighting. Sigourney Weaver was only 11 at the time but I bet she'd have kicked some pirate booty. You go girl.
Watching favourite childhood movies 45 or so years later is more of a social challenge than anything else. Back then men were still men and women were glad of it. Woman's Lib and Posh Spice were still years away and the best an actress could expect from an island adventure role was to fashion a working kitchen out of bamboo and vines and frequently get her clothing wet despite there never being a cloud in the sky. Times have changed. Now she could order the kitchen in flat packs using her Blackberry but I fear she'd still get somewhat damp if only from the steamy sex scenes with her fellow actress.
You're well out of it, Mr. Disney.