Synopsis by Hal Erickson
None of the many cinemadaptations of Johan Wyss' The Swiss Family Robinson are as relentlessly enjoyable as this 1960 Disney feature. The film wastes no time getting down to business, with the shipwreck of the Robinson family occurring as the credits flash across the screen. Fashioning a raft, the family heads to a lush tropical island. While the mother (Dorothy McGuire) isn't too happy about being a castaway, the father (John Mills) and the sons (James MacArthur, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran) are thrilled at the prospect of carving out a new life for themselves. In short order, the industrious Robinsons have constructed a treehouse with all the creature comforts and "utilities" of their home in Switzerland. Later on, the little party is joined by Janet Munro, the daughter of a sea captain who has been captured by pirate Sessue Hayakawa and his band. After a series of adventures calculated to arouse the envy of every man, woman and child in the audience, the film comes to a rousing conclusion as the Robinsons resourcefully fend off Hayakawa and his pirates with a variety of jerry-built booby traps. A box-office winner to the tune of $30 million, The Swiss Family Robinson proved beyond doubt that Disney's decision to emphasize the humor and adventure of the Wyss original, while downplaying the sociopolitical undertones, was a sound one.
against-all-odds, disaster, family, family-in-danger, island, pirate [seafarer], sea, sea-disaster, shipwreck, storm, survivor, swashbuckler, wilderness