Miss Robin Crusoe (1953): Adventure Film with Female Heroine

Miss Robin Crusoe is a low-budget 1953 adventure film produced and directed by Eugene Frenke, starring Amanda Blake, George Nader and Rosalind Hayes.

One of many film variations of Robinson Crusoe, it features a female castaway.

On September 28, 1659, a ship founders. Robin Crusoe (Amanda Blake), and a sailor named Sykes reach a deserted island. When Sykes tries to force Robin to show her appreciation, she flees up a hill. In the ensuing struggle, he falls over a cliff and is killed. She soon settles in, building herself a tree house.
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In December, Royal Navy officer Jonathan (George Nader) washes ashore. Robin’s experiences with lecherous sailors and her cruel father have embittered her against men, and she is hostile and suspicious. When Jonathan learns that she is repairing a longboat that can hold only two, he suggests that the “fittest” take it, and send help back for Friday.

In the end, a warship appears and bombards the attackers, enabling the trio to steal an outrigger canoe and reach the safety of the ship.

Miss Robin Crusoe had the working title “Miss Robinson Crusoe”. When producer Eugene Franke attempted to register that title with the Motion Picture Registration Bureau, there were objections raised by ├ôscar Danciger, who had recently completed a film called Robinson Crusoe in Mexico, and M-G-M, which was planning a film to be called “Robinson Crusoe” starring Spencer Tracy. The MPRB decided in September 1953 that Franke could use either “Miss Robin Crusoe” or “Miss Robinson Crusoe.”

Although Miss Robin Crusoe was a low-budget film, its score is by noted composer Elmer Bernstein, who, like others in Hollywood during the witch hunt for Communists by the House Un-American Activities Committee, found it hard to get work. Bernstein had not been blacklisted, but had been “graylisted,” saying, “I wasn’t one of the big wheels of the Communist Party or anything, but I’d done enough left-wing things that between about 1953 and 1955, the major studios would have been very loathe to employ me.” Bernstein was forced to take work that he would not have previously accepted, such as this film, as well as Robot Monster and Cat-Women of the Moon.

Cast
Amanda Blake as Miss Robin Crusoe
George Nader as Jonathan
Rosalind Hayes as Friday

TCM showed it April 16, 2020.