Crusoe film adaptations and *that* footprint
September 29, 2011 4:31 AM   Subscribe

Robinson Crusoe film adaptations. Which are the best ones? Also, *that* footprint...

For a project I am working on, I want to isolate the moment in Robinson Crusoe where he discovers the savage footprint, imprinted in the sand, for the first time.

In the book this footprint is discovered quite a few years before Friday arrives. It signifies the first time Crusoe realises that there are 'others' visiting his Kingdom.

It has been critically engaged with by the likes of Umberto Eco, Susan Stewart (two times) and Simon O'Sullivan. Do you know of any other writings?

How has film dealt with this moment? Before I read the book, I wrongly assumed that the discovered footprint was Friday's. Do any film adaptations treat it this way?

Many thanks
posted by 0bvious to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think Luis Bunuel's version treats it as Fridays (link includes picture of the moment)
posted by vacapinta at 5:00 AM on September 29, 2011

Response by poster: Some 'footprint' moments I have found and isolated online:

A 1927 adaptation directed by, and starring M.A. Wetherell.
A 1997 version starring Pierce Brosnan
A Czech language, children's animated version
A Porky the Pig cartoon (considered racist)

Am going to have to get a quality copy of the Bunuel one.

Any others?

Any input appreciated
posted by 0bvious at 7:22 AM on September 29, 2011

Don't recall their 'footprint moments" (so can't conform they exist) but two 1960s adaptations that casual searching might not reveal are Robinson Crusoe on Mars and the Disney/Dick Van Dyke Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. Both feature chimpanzees.
posted by Rash at 8:58 AM on September 29, 2011

Response by poster: After tracking down and watching part of Bunuel's version, I can verify that the footprint discovered belongs to the savages, not to the single Friday.

Most people believe, wrongly, that the footprint is Friday's. Where does this belief come from? It is simply a poor logical leap, made because people know more about the Friday sections of the novel than the savages sections?

I am now even more intrigued
posted by 0bvious at 9:28 AM on September 29, 2011

Best answer: I'm unable to find the quotation with my initial Google search (all I can find is something from an introduction to Huckleberry Finn in which someone compares a great moment in Twain's story to the footprint moment), but I know that Mark Twain had something to say about the footprint moment! My father is obsessed with Twain and has read all of his letters, biographies, etc., so it might could well be from a less-known writing or letter. The way my dad described it to me, Twain didn't really like Robinson Crusoe, said it was badly written, poorly plotted, had a weird ending, on and on... but that that footprint in the sand sure was one of the best moments in literature.
posted by fireflies at 9:54 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: For anyone who is interested, here are several critical references to that footprint moment:

- Susan Stewart in 'On Longing' and 'Poetry and the Fate of the Senses'

- Simon O’Sullivan in 'Art Encounters Deleuze and Guattari: Thought Beyond Representation'
posted by 0bvious at 10:18 AM on November 29, 2011

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