Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island

6.13 h 50 min193613+
Shot in exotic locations, this big-budget, 14-part serial follows the adventures of government agent Mala, who investigates a disastrous dirigible crash in the Pacific. Spies, an erupting volcano, hostile natives, an evil priest, and the beautiful Princess Melani await him (and animal stars Buck and Rex) await him as he explores the exciting mysteries of Clipper Island!
Ray TaylorMack V. Wright
MalaRexBuck the Dog
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3.8 out of 5 stars

9 global ratings

  1. 47% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 31% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 0% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 11% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Stephan MastisonReviewed in the United States on March 17, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great vintage serial
Verified purchase
Had this serial on VHS years ago, glad to have it now on a DVD. Action packed serial adventure.
Mike K.Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Verified purchase
This product is OK. CMK 10-29-2020
Thomas M. PraterReviewed in the United States on September 11, 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars
The "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" of the Chapterplay Genre
Verified purchase
I love the old Republic serials, saw many of them on Saturday morning as a youth in the pre TV era. & have a decent VHS collection. So my cutiosity was aroused when I saw that Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island had never been reviewed and was usually available at a bargain price. I bought a copy and here'c my opinion.
In Summary, this is easily the worst chapterplay I have ever watched. A more detailed report follows:
RC of CI has a fairly standard plot. First of all, it has nothing to do with the classic novel "Robinson Crusoe". An espionage ring is causing trouble for a large Corporation who calls in an intrepid government agent ( Ray Mala) to investigate. The head of the ring is not unmasked until the last segment , but it's made clear early on that the head "bad guy" is one of the key executives of the Corporation. Mala is assisted by the princess of a native island culture. Her people are being framed for the troubles by the nefarious spies. The chapterplay is 14 chapters and takes place in San Francisco and the South Pacific.
The lead actor is Ray Mala, who gives new meaning to the word inept. I suspect that English was his second language and he does not have the physical skills to pull of the action scenes. The second lead, Rex (a horse) and the third lead, Buck (a dog) were clearly superior actors as compared to Mr. Mala - although the Dog probably didn't do it's best work being a St. Bernard stuck with a gig in the South Pacific. The remainder of the cast were the usual stable of Republic character actors who turned in an honest few weeks work.
The production values were about what you would expect for a low budget 1936 chapterplay. I gave read that this was the only the 4th chapterplay made by Republic. Obviously, they got a lot better. Unfortunately, the cliffhangers were quite bad. The cliffhanger at the end of chapter 7 is very possibly the worst cliffhanger I have ever seen. Also, Cliffhanger cheating was rampant.
Finally, there were two instances where about 2-3 minutes of fight action was cut into a new chapter. This was not a review chapter, just frugality.
In closing, It's always been accepted by chapterplay fans that one chapterplay had to be the best - so it makes sense that one has to be the worst as well. THIS IS IT.
2 people found this helpful
kochrkReviewed in the United States on February 7, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Five Stars
Verified purchase
DVD is working good
Thomas James LongReviewed in the United States on May 4, 2009
3.0 out of 5 stars
pre runner to series lost
Verified purchase
now that i've seen it all, you want more mystery , but its over, i think the serial,i was remembering was the sea hound, but i enjoyed this one ancient aircraft , subterrian tunnell &bases the comic sidekicks
S. D. LothropReviewed in the United States on February 23, 2009
1.0 out of 5 stars
Mala, as in mal
This serial has nothing whatever to do with the Robinson Crusoe story--the only similarity is that it takes place on an island. The lead role is played by easily the worst actor ever to appear in a serial, probably the worst ever in any motion picture. The second and third leads listed in the credits are animals. It was such an early Republic serial that it has most of the inferior qualities of Mascot Studios. And yet, there's something about it that makes it worth watching.

Watching Mala try to speak his lines is fascinating, like watching a train wreck. Not only can he not act, he doesn't speak clearly. It must have been embarrassing to the rest of the cast. He makes Sammy Baugh ("King of the Texas Rangers") look like Laurence Olivier. You have to know the background to understand why Mala was ever cast in the lead. A native Inuit, in 1933 he had been cast in an all-native American film called "Eskimo," produced by the legendary Irving Thalberg and billed by MGM as "the biggest picture ever made," and it was a huge success. He later worked in quite a few other pictures as both actor and cameraman, and became one of Hollywood's elite--he numbered Johnny Weissmuller, Bob Hope, and Stan Laurel among his close friends. He also appeared in less important roles in other serials, "Hawk of the Wilderness" (1938), "Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock" (1938), and "Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe" (1940). He appeared in some 25 films over a period of almost 30 years, often as a Polynesian or Hawaiian. He passed away on the set of his last film in 1952 at the age of only 46. His son Ted Mala became the first Alaska native doctor.

One or two of the cliffhangers are quite clever; then again, many are laughably bad. In one, Mala is diving with an air helmet when his air hose is cut, he calls "I need air!" and then just walks along the bottom until he reaches the beach. In another, he's clinging to the edge of an airplane wing which crashes into the water, killing all aboard--he survives, without explanation. In yet another, a plane is seen to crash into the sea, but in the resolution it actually lands safely.

In spite of the lead's terrible acting--or perhaps partly because of it--the serial is worth watching. Mala does have some charisma and you do want to root for him. Mamo Clark makes a fetching heroine in her sarong. The horse and the dog, holdovers from the Mascot era, are used effectively and are fun to watch.
J. LovinsReviewed in the United States on November 16, 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars
"The King of Serials...VCI Entertaiment ~ Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island (1936)"
VCI Entertainment and Republic Pictures present..."Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island" (1936) (Dolby digitally remastered), a 14 Chapter cliffhanger from an action packed Republic serial featuring an outstanding cast with Mack V. Wright and Ray Taylor at the helm....story line and plot has Polynesian Mala (Mala) working with the U.S. Intelligence Service to investigate sabotage on Clipper Island...who are these group of spies causing the eruption of a our hero involved some way keeping everyone in the dark...will Princess Melani (Mamo Clark) be convinced he has nothing to do with all the scullduggery during these exciting cliffhanger chapters...can Mala thwart the evil plans of rival high priest Porotu (John Picorri) and brings peace and tranquility once more to Clipper there no justice within the 14 exhausting chapters of this Republic Serial for the cast and crew to take their next lunch break...don't leave the theater until the final chapter is over and done with "Thunder Mountain"....just remember double thrills, chills, mystery and suspense...hitting the bull's eye with excitement...don't miss a single spine thrilling episode..return next week to this local theater for another episode of action and adventure that will keep you thrilled until the next chapter.

Under director's Mack V. Wright and Ray Taylor, producer Nat Levine, associate producer Sol C. Siegel, supervised by J. Laurence Wickland, original story & screenplay by Morgan Cox, Maurice Geraghty and Barry Shipman, musical score by Harry Grey, stunts by Loren Riebe...the cast includes Mala (Agent Mala), Rex the Wonder Horse (Himself), Buck the dog (himself), Mamo Clark (Princess Melani), Herbert Rawlinson (Mr. Jackson), William Newell (Hank McGlaurie), John Ward (Anthony Tuppe), John Dilson (E.G. Ellsworth), Selmer Jackson (Mr. Canfield), John Picorri (Porotu), George Chesebro (Draker, chief of island operations), Bob Kortman (Gang Yacht Capt. Wilson), George Cleveland (Goebel, gang chief scientist), Ed Cassidy (Joe Davis, chief of intelligence), Edmund Cobb (Harris Crosby, member of headquarters gang), Bud Osborne (Ellis, mate-thug), Buddy Roosevelt (Wireless Operator), Al Taylor (Sailor-Thug in Officer's Hat).....special footnote, some veteran actors of the '30s, '40s and '50s grace this feature with Ed Cassidy, George Chesebro, George Cleveland, Edmund Cobb, Bud Osborne, Herbert Rawlinson, Buddy Roosevelt, , all made their mark in the B-Westerns and Serial Department with Columbia, Mascot, Republic and Universal Pictures .........meanwhile back to our Republic Serial which is always good till the last drop and this serial is no exception...there is a great deal of entertainment here for the cliffhanger fans out there...all courtesy of VCI Entertainment, who in my humble opinion is the best there is in restoring early serials and features.

1. The Mysterious Island
2. Flaming Danger
3. Fathoms Below
4. Into the Enemiesi' Camp
5. Danger in the Air
6. The God of the Volcano
7. Trailis End
8. The Jaws of the Beast
9. The Cave of the Winds
10.Wings of Fury
11.Agents of Disaster
12.The Sea Trap
14.Thunder Mountain

If you're into vintage serials as I am, why not pick up a copy of the following titles from VCI Home Video:
1. Adventures of Red Ryder (Don "Red" Barry)
2. Adventures of the Flying Cadets (Bobby Jordan)
3. Buck Rogers (Buster Crabbe)
4. Captain Midnight (Dave O'Brien)
5. Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere (Judd Holdren & I. Stanford Jolley)
6. Dick Tracy's G-Men (Ralph Byrd)
7. Don Winslow of the Navy (Don Terry)
8. Don Winslow of the Coast Guard (Don Terry)
9. Drums of Fu Manchu (Henry Brandon)
10.Fighting Kit Carson (Johnny Mack Brown)
11.Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (Buster Crabbe)
12.The Green Archer (Victory Jory)
13.Jungle Girl (Frances Gifford)
14.Jungle Jim (Grant Withers & Raymond Hatton)
15.Lost City of the Jungle (Russell Hayden & Keye Luke)
16.Mandrake the Magician (Warren Hull & Dick Curtis)
17.Miracle Rider (Tom Mix & Tony Jr)
18.The Painted Stallion (Ray "Crash" Corrigan)
19.The Phantom (Tom Tyler)
20.The Return of Chandu (Bela Lugosi)
21.Riders of Death Valley (Dick Foran, Leo Carrillo & Buck Jones)
22.Secret Agent X-9 (1937) (Scott Kolk & Henry Brandon)
23.Secret Agent X-9 (1945) (Lloyd Bridges & Keye Luke)
24.Sky Raiders (Donald Woods & Billy Halop)
25.Undersea Kingdom (Ray "Crash" Corrigan)
26.Winners of the West (Dick Foran, Harry Woods, Roy Barcroft & Charles Stevens)
27.Zane Greys "King of the Royal Mounted" (Allan "Rocky" Lane)
28.Zorro's Cliffhanger Collection (Reed Hadley, John Carroll & Linda Stirling)

Great job by VCI Entertainment for releasing "Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island" (1936), the digital transfere with a clean, clear and crisp print...looking forward to more high quality releases from the vintage serial era of the '30s, '40s & '50s...order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment where there are plenty of copies available on VHS, stay tuned once again for top notch action mixed with deadly adventure from the "King of Serials" VCI...just the way we like 'em

Total Time: 240 mins on 2 VHS ~ VCI Entertainment 1772 ~ (11/01/2000)
3 people found this helpful
Serial FellaReviewed in the United States on May 20, 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars
I love this serial...
I took a chance after reading reviews of others which were pretty much all negative and bought this serial anyway. It is goofy, corny, off the hook silly. Get it, it's ...totally worth it....
6 people found this helpful
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