The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1922)

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Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein

Harry Myers and African-American actor Noble Johnson starred in this 18-chapter Universal serial, the former having replaced the studio's difficult action ace Eddie Polo. The opening chapters were reportedly faithful to Defoe's original -- after escaping the Moors and finding his parents dead, Robinson is marooned on a desert island, where, in chapter three, he is joined by Friday (Johnson) -- but the serial quickly became just another jungle melodrama with a strangely clean-shaven Crusoe being chased around the island by savages. Several theater owners complained about the length of the serial, which could easily have been resolved in chapter 12. At least one exhibitor complained that Universal "ran out of story in the second chapter."