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Film / Robinson Crusoeland

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Robinson Crusoeland (original title Atoll K; also known as Utopia in the USA) is a 1951 French-Italian comedy movie directed by Leo Joannon and an uncredited John Berry.

It stars Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. It seems that Stan had an uncle, who, when he died, left Stan a fortune, a yacht, and a private island in the South Seas. Unscrupulous lawyers take most of the money, but Stan and Ollie get to keep the yacht. As they are leaving Marseilles, they pick up two passengers. Antoine is a stateless man who, without citizenship, agrees to work for Stan and Ollie and go to their island because he literally has nowhere else to go. They also get a stowaway in the person of Giovanni, a bricklayer.

The gang sets sail, but never make it to Stan's island. Instead a storm shipwrecks them on a completely different island. Luckily this island has drinking water, edible fruit, and plenty of shellfish by the shore. Stan, Ollie, Antoine, and Giuseppe construct their own little island paradise. They are eventually joined by Cherie, a gorgeous French cabaret singer who gets all the men excited. However, further complications ensue.


Laurel and Hardy's last film. A notorious Troubled Production which staggered on for a full year.

Robinson Crusoeland provides the example of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: When the London Mayor called Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy says "Uh, No no! I am Oliver Hardy!"
  • Authority in Name Only: Ollie is elected president of "Crusoeland", but as he and the others deliberately wrote their constitution to give their new country essentially no laws, he really has no real power. This isn't a problem until immigrants start pouring in and Ollie realizes they have no provisions allowing him to deport or otherwise punish the inevitable bad actors taking advantage of the lax laws.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Well, he took all of the Stan and Ollie's belongings (because they failed to pay their tax). Resulted in Oliver ranting to Stan, "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!"
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  • Bat Scare: Multiple times Stan and Ollie are terrified by bats getting into their little hut.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: When everything goes south on the island, Cherie contacts her ex-fiancé to come and help. Following the climactic fight with the villain and the island sinking in another storm, the main characters are left floating on a raft in the ocean, but spot their salvation as the fiancé's ship approaches... only for Cherie to stubbornly stop waving when she recognizes it, complaining that she doesn't want to be rescued by him because he took too long getting there.
  • Deserted Island: Stan, Ollie, and their two companions are shipwrecked on a deserted island.
  • Downer Ending: Antoine is still a stateless wanderer (and ends up eaten by a lion), Giovanni is stuck back in Italy painting fences, and Stan and Ollie have their island paradise confiscated for failure to pay taxes.
  • Fat and Skinny: True throughout the duo's career but never more so than this one. Laurel's health problems during the invokedTroubled Production saw him lose a lot of weight, to the point where he looked positively gaunt, while Hardy's weight ballooned to 330 pounds.
  • Foreshadowing: Stan and Ollie find the life boat in a bag. When Stan wonders at how small it is, Ollie explains that there's a charge of compressed air that will blow the raft up in a jiffy. Sure enough, later Stan blunders his way into inflating the raft, while it's still inside the cabin of the yacht.
  • Forgotten Trope: "Uranium fever", the 1950s-era trope in which uranium was a substitute for Gold Fever. Stan and Ollie's island paradise is ruined when it's discovered to be rich with uranium deposits.
  • Malaproper: Stanley as always. He observes that Ollie needs glasses then says "When we get to the island you'd better see an optimist."
  • Narrator: Heard a couple of times, like at the beginning to introduce the story, and at the midpoint when the narrator describes how the boys have settled the island, before shifting the scene to Tahiti and introducing Cherie the nightclub singer.
  • Pepper Sneeze: Cherie dangles a flower under the nose of the that has been dosed with pepper. When he sneezes she clocks him on the back of the head, and thus she is able to free Stan and Ollie.
  • Plot Hole: Cherie wants to get away from her fiancé. So she...has herself dropped off on a Deserted Island? Really?
  • Quitting to Get Married: Cherie's fiancé the naval officer demands that she quit being The Chanteuse and support him. She refuses to do so since he spends most of his time at sea anyway. This results in their wedding being called off even as they're in front of the judge who is waiting to perform the ceremony.
  • Robinsonade: The yacht wrecks on a Deserted Island, but it just so happens Ollie had a copy of Robinson Crusoe on the boat! Using the novel as inspiration, Stan, Ollie, Antoine, and Giovanni establish their own little society. They even grow crops.
  • Same Language Dub: Because this film was produced in France, many of the supporting actors are speaking French, with their voices dubbed into English.
  • Show Some Leg: Cherie dangles a bare calf to draw the attention of the guard outside the shack where Stan and Ollie are locked up.
  • The Stateless: Antoine is a stateless refugee aboard a boat and ends up citizen of "Crusoeland", an island found by the boat. This ends up becoming a plot point as he is technically the first to set foot on the island, meaning that no country can claim sovereignty when the discovery of uranium makes it suddenly desirable.
  • Thunder = Downpour:
    • The four men are relaxing on deck in what seems to be a tranquil sea. Then a clap of thunder announces the near-instantaneous storm that winds up shipwrecking them on a deserted island.
    • A similar clap of thunder signals the titanic storm that floods the whole island and winds up floating the gallows away, with the whole gang on it.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Stan inherits a yacht and an island from a deceased uncle.