Paradise Lagoon is the American release title of the British The Admirable Crichton. In this Technicolor adaptation of James M. Barrie's oft-filmed stage play, Kenneth More stars as Crichton, the super-efficient butler for a family of haughty British aristocrats. Though More is true master of the household, he keeps his place, honoring the tightly regulated social structure of turn-of-the-century England. When the family, and its servants, are shipwrecked and marooned on a desert island, only Crichton has the skill and resourcefulness to keep everyone alive. Within a few months, the social order has been reversed: Crichton is the "governor", while his former employers are his willing and eager servants. Lady Mary (Sally Ann Howes), assuming that she will never be able to return to her veddy proper fiance, falls in love with Crichton. But once the castaways are rescued and returned to their London estate, the original master-servant status quo is restored. His marriage to Lady Mary now an impossibility-a fact stressed in no uncertain terms by the young lady herself-Crichton calmly packs his bags and leaves, in the company of maidservant Tweeny (Diane Cilento), who has loved him all along. Barries' satirical jabs at class consciousness (notably in the closing "interrogation scene", conducted by the imperious Lady Brocklehurst Martita Hunt) were not altogether relevant in 1957; thus, Paradise Lagoon concentrates on the property's farcical and romantic elements. Taking advantage of its tropical setting, the film also permitted the tired businessmen in the audience to gaze upon the luscious Sally Ann Howes and Diane Cilento in halter tops and short-shorts.
by Hal Erickson synopsis