In Search of the Castaways [1962]

In Search of the Castaways was Hayley Mills's third feature for Disney, an agreeable adventure--loosely based on a Jules Verne story--with enough derring-do to make kids happy and with the right touch of self-conscious silliness to keep adults smiling. Mills plays Mary Grant, a missing freighter captain's daughter convinced her father is still alive somewhere in Earth's southern hemisphere. With the help of her brother (Keith Hamshire) and a veteran seaman (an extremely unlikely if charming Maurice Chevalier), Mary convinces a shipping magnate, Lord Glenarvan (Wilfrid Hyde-White), to set sail and find the missing Captain Grant. The team survives freezing weather, avalanches, a menacing condor, an active volcano, Maori captors, and a plot by a slick George Sanders to steal a ship. Meanwhile, Mary and Glenarvan's rakish son, John (Michael Anderson Jr.), engage in flirtatious feuding. The many memorable action sequences are wildly improbable (all the more so watching the nonchalant Chevalier have a go at Indiana Jones-like heroics) and liberally employ old-fashioned process shots, mattes, paintings, and other pre-digital special effects. The incomparable Hyde-White looks as if he's having fun alternately harrumphing and encouraging good old British resolve, while Sanders effortlessly portrays, for the umpteenth time, his brand of enchanting villainy. Directed by Robert Stevenson (Mary Poppins). In Search of the Castaways is presented here in its original, full-screen format. --Tom Keogh

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