LUIS BUÑUEL & ALEX PHILLIPS IN MEXICO: Robinson Crusoe
Director: Luis Buñuel
Writers: Luis Buñuel and Hugo Butler (based on the book by Daniel Defoe)
Producers: Óscar Dancigers, Henry Ehrlich
Cinematographer: Alex Phillips
Editors: Carlos Savage, Alberto Valenzuela, Luis Buñuel
Cast: Dan O’Herlihy, Jaime Fernández
Luis Buñuel made this adaptation of one of the world’s most famous shipwreck novels, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, during his Mexican period. Despite the fact that the film veers from Buñuel’s “usual” style, for most it is considered the best film version of Defoe’s book, since the director left his personal touch on the story, and when that director is Buñuel, there’s little room for mediocrity.
During the Golden Age of Mexican cinema (a period between 1936 -1959), Canadian-born cinematographer Alex Phillips (Ontario, 1900) and Spanish-born film director Luis Buñuel (Aragón, 1900), became symbols for Mexican cinema. Alex Phillips arrived in Mexico in 1931 and never left; he worked on more than 200 films, including Mexico’s first sound film, Santa (1931). In 1973, Alex Phillips was awarded with the Golden Ariel (Mexico’s highest film recognition) for his body of work. Luis Buñuel filmed 21 of his 32 films in Mexico including Los Olvidados (1950), a film recognized by UNESCO as part of the world’s audiovisual heritage. In 1961, he directed Viridiana, the only film from Mexico ever to win the Palme d’Or for Best Film at the Cannes Film Festival. Alex Phillips and Luis Buñuel worked together on two films: Ascent to Heaven (Subida al cielo) (1952) and Robinson Crusoe (1954).