In Search of the Castaways (1962) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In 19th century England, young Mary Grant and her brother, Robert, embark on a dangerous quest to find their missing father, a sea captain who vanished somewhere along the Chilean coast.

  • An earthquake, a flash flood, an avalanche, a volcano, alligators, jaguars, mutineers, and a man-eating Maoris dog the steps of a shipping company owner, a scientist, and the two children of a lost sea Captain as they circle the Earth along the 37th parallel per instructions in a bottled note the scientist has recovered from a shark's stomach. Only certain facts are discerned from the stained note, especially the words "37 parallel". Teenage Mary Grant (Hayley Mills), her younger brother, Robert (Keith Hamshere), and the scientist, French Professor Jacques Paganel (Maurice Chevalier), trick their way aboard the grand yacht, "Persevero II", during a bon voyage party to see the owner of the shipping company, Lord Edward Glenarvan (Wilfrid Hyde-White), the epitome of British aloofness. With the urging of his own son, John (Michael Anderson, Jr.), Glenarvan's luxurious side-wheeler sets sail for the coastal town of Concepcion, Chile in the search for the missing Captain Grant (Jack Gwillim).

  • 1858. John Grant (Jack Gwillim) is the Captain of the steamship Britannia owned by Glasgow based Lord Edward Glenarvan (Wilfrid Hyde-White) for his shipping operations. The crew of the Britannia, including Captain Grant, is believed to have perished at sea. However, the Captain's minor children, Mary (Hayley Mills) and Robert Grant (Keith Hamshere), come into the possession of a cryptic note they believe to be written by their father providing clues as to his marooned whereabouts, the note inside of a bottle found in the stomach of a caught shark. With the help of their kindly elderly friend, French Geography Professor Jacques Paganel (Maurice Chevalier), but with little funds between the three of them, Mary and Robert are able to make their way from their home in Plymouth to Glasgow to speak to Lord Glenarvan about the matter. Although the Lord believes the note may be a hoax, the Grant children are ultimately able to convince him that there is some glimmer of hope that the Captain is still alive. So the Grant children, the Professor, the Lord, and the Lord's minor son, John Glenarvan (Michael Anderson, Jr.), set sail on a search for the Captain. As they sail around the world on their search, they have to decipher the cryptic clues in the note and follow subsequent leads. In the process, they have to battle the elements, other natural hazards, and often less than friendly natives. But if they discover the truth behind what happened to the Captain, that in and of itself has its own built-in risks. Through it all, there is a budding romance between Mary and John.



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