Two teenagers, Mary (Hayley Mills) and Robert (Keith Hamshere) are lead by Professor Paganel (Maurice Chevalier) on a search expedition for the children's shipwrecked sea captain father. This Disney film was based upon Jules Verne's 1868 adventure novel Captain Grant's Children.
Maurice Chevalier and Wilfrid Hyde-White are very good, but 'In Search of the Castaways' didn't quite capture my imagination. I mostly like the adventure elements, as they cross land and sea in search of castaways. Despite that, I never properly felt attached to the story as the aforementioned isn't stitched together well with the characters and their motives/feelings. It's also paced too slow, at least for me. As noted, Chevalier (Paganel) and Hyde-White (Lord Glenarvan) are solid in their respective roles, if only due to their amusing moments both together and on their own with the younger cast members; who aren't all that memorable, Hayley Mills (Mary) is the standout if I had to pick one. The film hasn't aged beautifully in regards to the effects, a load of the scenes look rather awful nowadays but I can always let that pass in these older films; it's still worth noting, that's all. Away from that you have a few musical numbers, the ones featuring Paganel are pretty good. I feel giving it less than this rating would be harsh, I definitely didn't enjoy it but I can see how others might.
_**Ridiculous set-bound Disney adventure with Hayley Mills**_ In Scotland, a sister (Hayley Mills) and her little brother team-up with a French professor (Maurice Chevalier), a shipping magnate (Wilfrid Hyde-White) and his son (Michael Anderson, Jr.) to search for the siblings’ missing father, a sea captain. Their journey first takes them to Patagonia, South America, where they have misadventures in the Andes of Chile and the Pampas of Argentina. But, eventually, they realize they must travel to Australia and New Zealand to find the missing castaways. "In Search of the Castaways" (1962) combines Hayley Mills with a Jules Verne adventure, which made me expect a combination of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954) or “Mysterious Island” (1961) with “The Parent Trap” (1961). Wrong. This movie is nowhere near the same league as those great films, even though it’s a Disney production like “20,000 Leagues” and “The Parent Trap.” One problem is the too-cutesy take on the material wherein the professor & others are beaming with giggly smiles during life-or-death situations. While this disappears for the most part after the first act it’s still an eye-rolling issue. Another hitch is that the whole flick is set-bound with F/X of the matte painting and miniature variety. Another problem is the preposterous nature of the journey and misadventures thereof, which I’m sure bears little resemblance to Verne’s original tale. Lousy writing is reflected in how several minutes are blown on tediously discussing the dubious message in the bottle. This idiotic element of the script could’ve been thrown out altogether with no harm done. On the positive side, bubbly Hayley Mills was 15 during filming and clearly blossoming into a winsome woman. She looks best in the first half with her semi-tight khaki pants. I liked the jaguar and Maoris too; and there are some fun moments but, otherwise, this is strictly for the 6-and-under crowd. The film runs 1 hour, 38 minutes, and was shot at Pinewood Studios, just west of London, England. GRADE: C-/C