The Blue Lagoon (1980 film)

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The Blue Lagoon
Blue lagoon 1980 movie poster.jpg
Promotional film poster
Directed byRandal Kleiser
Produced byRandal Kleiser
Screenplay byDouglas Day Stewart
Story byHenry De Vere Stacpoole
Based onThe Blue Lagoon
StarringBrooke Shields
Christopher Atkins
Leo McKern
William Daniels
Music byBasil Poledouris
CinematographyNéstor Almendros
Editing byRobert Gordon
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • June 20, 1980 (1980-06-20)
Running time104 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$4.5 million
Box office$58,853,106 (U.S. and Canada only)
 
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The Blue Lagoon
Blue lagoon 1980 movie poster.jpg
Promotional film poster
Directed byRandal Kleiser
Produced byRandal Kleiser
Screenplay byDouglas Day Stewart
Story byHenry De Vere Stacpoole
Based onThe Blue Lagoon
StarringBrooke Shields
Christopher Atkins
Leo McKern
William Daniels
Music byBasil Poledouris
CinematographyNéstor Almendros
Editing byRobert Gordon
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • June 20, 1980 (1980-06-20)
Running time104 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$4.5 million
Box office$58,853,106 (U.S. and Canada only)

The Blue Lagoon is a 1980 American romantic adventure film directed by Randal Kleiser. The screenplay by Douglas Day Stewart was based on the novel The Blue Lagoon by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. The film stars Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. The original music score was composed by Basil Poledouris and the cinematography was by Néstor Almendros.

The film tells the story of two young children marooned on a tropical island paradise in the South Pacific. With neither the guidance nor the restrictions of society, emotional feelings and physical changes arise as they reach puberty and fall in love.

Shields was only 14 years old at the time of filming and later testified before a U.S. Congressional inquiry that older body doubles were used in some of her nude scenes. Also, throughout the film in frontal shots her breasts were always covered by her long hair or in other ways. It was also stated that Shields's hair was glued to her breasts during many of her topless scenes.[1] The film received a MPAA rating of R.

Plot[edit]

In the Victorian period, two young cousins, Richard and Emmeline Lestrange, and a galley cook, Paddy Button (Leo McKern) survive a shipwreck in the South Pacific and reach a lush tropical island. Paddy cares for the small children and forbids them by "law" from going to the other side of the island, as he found evidence of remains of bloody human sacrifices. He tells them the bogeyman lives there as a way to make sure they do not go there. He also warns them against eating a certain scarlet berry Emmeline has found which is apparently deadly.

Paddy soon dies after a drunken binge and his body is discovered by Richard and Emmeline. Now alone, the children go to another part of the island and rebuild their home. They survive solely on their resourcefulness, skills that Paddy had taught them and the bounty of their remote paradise.

Years pass and they both grow into tall, strong and beautiful teenagers. They live in their hut, spending their days together fishing, swimming, and diving for pearls. Richard and Emmeline (now portrayed by Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields) begin to fall in love, although this is emotionally stressful for them because of their lack of education on human sexuality, and are unable to express their physical attraction for one another. Emmeline is frightened after she begins her first menstrual period, and is nervous when Richard wants to inspect her for a cut. Richard himself has many questions about what is happening to them as they begin to grow and develop, but has no means of getting answers. He wishes to hold and kiss her, but when she rejects him he goes off and masturbates.

Emmeline, ever curious, goes to the other side of the island and discovers an impressive, Moai-like idol there. Instinctively recognizing that this is a holy place, she prays. Later she tells Richard that she thinks Paddy was wrong and the "bogeyman", who bleeds like Jesus, is actually God. However, Richard berates her for disobeying the "law".

Sometime later, their relationship suffers a major blow when a ship appears for the first time in years. Richard's desire to leave comes into conflict with Emmeline's desire to stay, and she does not light the signal fire. As a result, the ship passes by without noticing them. Richard's fury leads him to kick her out of their hut. They make up for this fight after Emmeline is nearly killed upon stepping on a stonefish and Richard admits to his fear of losing her. Emmeline eventually recovers and after she regains her ability to walk, they go skinny dipping in the lagoon and then swim to shore. Still naked, Richard and Emmeline share some fruit in the vegetation overlooking the idol, and discover sexual intercourse, and then passionate love. Casting all their unease aside, they regularly make love from then on while occasionally spending their time together in the nude. Due to their regular sexual encounters though, Emmeline soon becomes pregnant. Although this is clear to the viewer, Richard and Emmeline themselves do not know about the truth of childbirth and human reproduction and simply assume that the physical changes in Emmeline's body is her getting fat. They are also stunned when they begin to feel the baby move inside Emmeline and simply assume its her stomach causing the movements.

One night Emmeline goes missing. While Richard looks for her in the forest, he witnesses a human sacrifice committed by the natives of another island at the idol shrine where they sacrifice some enemy natives. As he flees, Richard hears Emmeline cry out and follows the sound just in time to help her give birth to a baby boy, whom they name Paddy, in remembrance of Paddy Button. Later on, frustrated at not knowing how to feed the baby, Emmeline holds him on her arms to appease his crying, and learns how to feed him as the baby instinctively starts sucking on her breast. The young parents spend their time playing with Paddy as he grows, teaching him how to swim, fish and build things and happily raising him.

As the family plays, a ship led by Richard's father Arthur (William Daniels), approaches the island, and sees the family playing on the shore. As they are completely covered in mud, Arthur assumes these are natives, not the young couple they have been searching for all these years. Richard, having lost all of his desire to leave the island, agrees with Emmeline with an exchange of glances, and they let the ship pass.

One day, the young family takes the lifeboat to visit their original homesite. While waiting for Richard, Emmeline and Paddy remain in the boat. Emmeline falls asleep and does not notice when Paddy brings a branch of the scarlet berries into the boat. She awakes as Paddy tosses one of the oars out. The tide was sweeping the boat out into the lagoon and Richard, hearing her calling, swims to her, followed closely by a shark. Emmeline throws the other oar at the shark, striking it and giving Richard just enough time to get into the boat. Though close to shore, they are unable to return or retrieve the oars without risking a shark attack. They paddle with their hands, but to no avail; the boat is caught in the current and drifts out to sea.

After drifting for days in the boat, Richard and Emmeline awake to find Paddy eating the berries he picked. Realizing that these are the poisonous berries Paddy warned them about, they try to stop him, but he had already swallowed a few. Hopeless, Richard and Emmeline eat the berries as well, lying down to await death. A few hours later, Arthur's ship finds them floating in the boat. Arthur asks, "Are they dead?" and the ship's captain (Alan Hopgood) answers, "No, sir. They're asleep." And Arthur is relieved.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The Fiji Crested Iguana became known to herpetologists through The Blue Lagoon

The movie was a passion project of Randal Kleiser, who had long admired the original novel. He hired Douglas Day Stewart, who had written Boy in the Plastic Bubble, to write the script, and met up with Richard Franklin, the Australian director, who was looking for work in Hollywood. This gave him the idea to use an Australian crew, which Franklin helped supervise.[2]

The film was shot in Jamaica and Nanuya Levu, a privately owned island in Fiji.[3] The flora and fauna featured in the film includes an array of animals from multiple continents. As it turned out, the iguanas filmed on Fiji were a species hitherto unknown to science; this was noted by the herpetologist John Gibbons when he watched the film, and after traveling to the island where the iguanas were filmed, he described the Fiji Crested Iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis) in 1981.[4] The blue lagoon scenes were shot in Comino Island, Malta and Champagne Bay, Vanuatu.[citation needed]

In the DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions of this film, it was stated that many of Brooke Shields' nude scenes were in fact done by older body doubles. In addition, the film's stunt coordinator Kathy Troutt was one of the body doubles as well as the dolphin trainer. It was also stated that Brooke Shields had done many of her topless scenes with her hair glued to her breasts.[1][5]

Underwater moving picture photography was performed by Ron & Valerie Taylor.[6] The first feature film for which they performed the underwater movie photography was Age of Consent.

Box office[edit]

The film was the ninth biggest box office hit of 1980 in North America according to Box Office Mojo, grossing US$58,853,106 in the United States and Canada.[7]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Nominee: Academy Award for Best Cinematography - Néstor Almendros
Nominee: Saturn Award - Best Fantasy Film
Nominee: Golden Globe Award, New Star of the Year - Christopher Atkins
Won: Worst Actress (Brooke Shields)
Nominee: Best Major Motion Picture - Family Entertainment
Nominee: Best Young Motion Picture Actor - Christopher Atkins
Nominee: Best Young Motion Picture Actress - Brooke Shields

Versions and adaptations[edit]

The Blue Lagoon was based on Henry De Vere Stacpoole's novel by the same name, which first appeared in 1908. The first film adaptation of the book was the British silent 1923 film of that name. There was another British adaptation in the 1949 version. The 1980 version was true to the spirit of the book. It included much more nudity and sex scenes than the 1949 version, though far less nudity and sexual activity than did the book.

The story was eventually continued in the 1991 sequel Return to the Blue Lagoon. This film loosely picks up where The Blue Lagoon left off, except that Richard and Emmeline are found dead in the boat. Their son is rescued. As Paddy's name is unknown to his rescuers, he is renamed Richard after his father.

On December 9, 2011, the cable TV network Lifetime greenlit a "contemporary remake" of the title with the television film Blue Lagoon: The Awakening.[8] It premiered on the channel on June 16, 2012.

Home media releases[edit]

DVD and Blu-Ray[edit]

The Special Edition DVD, with both widescreen and full-screen versions, was released on October 5, 1999. Its special features include the theatrical trailer, the original featurette, a personal photo album by Brooke Shields, audio commentary by Randal Kleiser and Christopher Atkins, and another commentary by Randal Kleiser, Douglas Day Stewart, and Brooke Shields.[9] The film was re-released in 2005 as part of a two pack with its sequel, Return to the Blue Lagoon.[10]

A limited edition Blu-ray Disc of the film was released on December 11, 2012, by Twilight Time. Special features on the Blu-ray include an isolated score track, original trailer, three original teasers, behind the scenes featurette, An Adventure in Filmmaking: The Making of The Blue Lagoon, as well as audio commentary by Randal Kleiser, Douglas Day Stewart, and Brooke Shields and a second commentary by Randal Kleiser and Christopher Atkins.[11][12][13]

Streaming[edit]

The 1980 movie was made available for streaming through services such as Amazon Instant Video and Vudu.[14][15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Blue Lagoon (DVD special edition). Released October 5, 1999.
  2. ^ Scott Murray, "The Blue Lagoon: Interview with Randal Kleiser", Cinema Papers, June-July 1980 [166-169, 212
  3. ^ McMurran, Kristin (August 11, 1980). "Too Much, Too Young?". People Magazine. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  4. ^ Robert George Sprackland (1992). Giant lizards. Neptune, NJ: T.F.H. Publications. ISBN 0-86622-634-6. 
  5. ^ The Blue Lagoon (1980) (Blu-Ray) Retrieved November 21, 2013
  6. ^ Valerie and Ron Taylor join the action in 'THE BLUE LAGOON', Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), November 19, 1980, pages 64 and 65, Retrieved February 17, 2013
  7. ^ 1980 Domestic Grosses
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (December 9, 2011). "Lifetime Greenlights 'Blue Lagoon' Remake". Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  9. ^ 1999 DVD Release
  10. ^ 2005 DVD Double Feature release
  11. ^ The Blue Lagoon Blu-ray
  12. ^ Screen Archives
  13. ^ The Blue Lagoon Blu-ray, Twilight Time, 2012
  14. ^ Amazon.com: The Blue Lagoon
  15. ^ Vudu:The Blue Lagoon

External links[edit]