Atoll K

Infobox Film
name = Atoll K

image_size =
caption = Theatrical release poster.
director = Léo Joannon
John Berry (uncredited)
producer = Raymond Eger
writer = John D. Klorer
Frederick Kohner
Piero Tellini
René Wheeler
narrator =
starring = Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Suzy Delair
music = Paul Misraki
cinematography = Armand Thirard
editing = Raymond Isnardon
distributor = Franco London Films
flagicon|France Les Films Sirius
flagicon|USA Exploitation Pictures Inc.
released = flagicon|France October 17, 1951
flagicon|Italy October 25, 1951
flagicon|Austria December 14, 1951
flagicon|West Germany December 21, 1951
flagicon|Finland April 25, 1952
flagicon|UK 1953
flagicon|USA December 14, 1954
runtime = flagicon|France 100 minutes
flagicon|Canada/flagicon|UK/flagicon|USA 82 minutes
country = FRA
language = French
budget =
gross =
preceded_by = "The Bullfighters"
followed_by =
website =
amg_id = 1:52094
imdb_id = 0042210

"Atoll K" is a 1951 French/Italian film starring the comedy team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in their final screen appearance. The film co-stars French singer/actress Suzy Delair and was directed by Léo Joannon, with uncredited co-direction by blacklisted U.S. director John Berry.


The film opens with Laurel and Hardy in the offices of a London law firm, where Laurel is to receive an inheritance left by a wealthy uncle. Much to the duo’s dismay, most of Laurel’s inheritance is claimed in taxes and legal fees, and he is left with only a rickety yacht and a private island in the Pacific Ocean. Laurel and Hardy leave for the island, accompanied by a stateless refugee and a malcontent Italian bricklayer who sneaked on board as a stowaway. On the voyage the refugee acts as chef and cooks them a meal but the food mysteriously disappears from Stan's plate because the stowaway is reaching down and taking it, this leads Stan to blame Ollie and an arguement ensues. The engine then stops working so Ollie removes the parts in an attempt to fix it and hands them to Stan. He puts them on the deck where they all slide overboard and Ollie then realises that his efforts were in vein when he notices that the fuel gauge is showing empty. Having lost the engine they try to hoist the sail, revealing the stowaway hiding in it.

They run into a storm and Stan battles with an inflating liferaft in the cabin while Ollie is at the helm. They are shipwrecked on a newly emerged desert island, which they dub "Crusoeland." They are soon joined by a nightclub singer who is fleeing her jealous fiancee, a naval lieutenant. The island is set up as a new republic, with Hardy as president and Laurel as "the people." All goes well until the singer’s fiancee arrives to confirm the new island is rich with uranium deposits. People come from all over the world flock to the island, but soon the situation turns chaotic when a revolt seeks to overthrow and execute the island’s original inhabitants. Before the execution, however, another storm strikes and submerges the island. Laurel and Hardy are rescued and finally arrive at the island Laurel inherited, only to have their land and supplies impounded for failure to pay back taxes.Aping, Norbert. “The Final Film of Laurel and Hardy,” 2008, McFarland. ISBN: 970786433025]


In the late 1940s, Laurel and Hardy were without film employment. Earlier in the decade, they ended their long association with producer Hal Roach and signed to make a series of films at both 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. However, these films were commercially unsuccessful, and neither studio sought to renew their contracts once they expired. [Maltin, Leonard. “Movie Comedy Teams,” 1970, Signet Books] However, in post-World War II Europe, Laurel and Hardy were enjoying a new popularity with audiences that were unable to see their movies during wartime. As a result of this, the pair received an offer from a French-Italian cinematic consortium to star in a film that would be produced in France for $1.5 million, a very high budget for the era.

The production of "Atoll K" was riddled with endless problems that caused the production to be extended to an abnormal length. Ida Laurel, Stan Laurel’s widow, told biographer John McCabe: "I’m hardly likely to forget the date we left for France and the date we returned – April 1, 1950, and April 1, 1951. But there was no April Fooling about that terrible year. That bloody picture was supposed to take twelve weeks to make, and it took twelve months."McCabe, John. “The Comedy World of Stan Laurel,” 1974, Doubleday & Co.]

From the beginning, there were disagreements on the film’s screenplay. Laurel was unhappy with the storyline envisioned by French director Léo Joannon and insisted on bringing Alfred Goulding and Monty Collins to aid in the screenplay’s creation (neither man received on-screen credit). There were also considerable problems in communications, since neither Laurel and Hardy spoke French and Joannon spoke very little English.

During the production, the two comedy stars encountered serious problems. Laurel’s pre-existing diabetes was aggravated and he developed colitis, dysentery and a prostate ulcer while on the French locations for the film. He eventually required hospitalization [ Review of “The Final Film of Laurel and Hardy,” EDGE Boston] ] , and his widow would later fault the quality of the French medical care, claiming that one point she had to handle the job of an absent nurse by changing her husband’s bandages. Laurel’s weight dropped to 114 pounds, and for most of the production he could only work in 20 or 30 minute spurts.

Hardy, however, saw his already heft frame expand to 330 pounds while in France, and he required medical care for cardiac fibrillation and the flu. Adding to the medical problems was Italian actor Adriano Rimoldi, who played the stoway, when he fell from a docked yacht and required a month's recuperation away from the production.

When they were able to work, Laurel and Hardy saw their relationship with Joannon fray dramatically. Ida Laurel would later claim Joannon was an incompetent who spent three days filming a lake because, as she said, "it was the most photogenic lake he’d ever seen." In the middle of the production, U.S. film director John Berry was quietly brought in to work with the comedy team. Berry’s U.S. career was ruined by the Hollywood blacklist and he sought to start over in France. However, his participation was kept secret out of the fear that the film would not get a U.S. theatrical release if it became known that a blacklisted director was at its helm. Berry’s contribution was not publicly acknowledged until 1967, when film historian William K. Everson cited the uncredited director’s input in his book "The Films of Laurel and Hardy." [Everson, William K. “The Films of Laurel and Hardy,” 1967, Citadel Press] While Berry never publicly acknowledged his work on "Atoll K," the film's leading lady Suzy Delair confirmed his role in the production in an interview with historian Norbert Aping.

Theatrical release

The theatrical release of "Atoll K" was erratic. There was no definitive version of the film because four different offerings were sent into theaters: the 93-minute French-language version called "Atoll K," a 97-minute Italian version called "Atollo K," a 96-minute English-language "Robinson Crusoeland" that was seen by audiences in the United Kingdom, and 82-minute version of the English-language version that played in the U.S. under the title "Utopia."

In each of the countries where the various versions played, critical reaction was overwhelmingly poor. The French newspaper "Journal du Dimanche" complained: "What in hell lured Laurel and Hardy onto this atoll? Unfortunately, this adventure adds nothing to their fame." Italian critic Paolo Locori, writing for the magazine "Hollywood", stated: "Stan and Ollie's presence is not enough to lift the movie from its mediocrity." The British "Kinematograph Weekly" bemoaned how the film was "bogged down in a welter of obvious slapstick." And when Utopia played in Los Angeles in early 1955 as a double feature with "Blackboard Jungle", the "Los Angeles Times" critic said: "The film gets off with some welcome chuckles but grows progressively worse."

Copyright status

Over the years, the prints of three of the four versions degraded. No print of "Robinson Crusoeland" is known to exist and the original "Atollo K" is also lost, a truncated 16mm print is all that remains of the Italian version. No U.S. copyright was filed for "Utopia" and the film lapsed into the public domain, resulting in duplicated prints of poor quality. Only the original French "Atoll K" remains intact, but the film has not been made available for public viewing since a VHS video release in the early 1990s.


External links

* [ FreeMooviesOnline: Details: Watch Atoll K Online for Free] for US only
* Download free from the Internet Archive

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • atoll — atoll …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • atoll — [ atɔl ] n. m. • attôle 1773; atolon 1611; mot des îles Maldives , par l angl. ♦ Récif corallien annulaire des mers chaudes, enfermant un lagon communiquant avec la haute mer. Des atolls. ● atoll nom masculin (maldive atolu, du cinghalais ätul, à …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Atoll — Sn Koralleninsel per. Wortschatz exot. (19. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus ne. atoll, das seinerseits aus einheimischen Bezeichnungen wie atollon und atoll für die Malediven übernommen ist. Im Englischen ist das Wort seit dem 16. Jh. als Exotismus …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Atoll — Жанры прогрессив рок Годы 1972 1976 1989 2003 …   Википедия

  • Atoll (BD) — Atoll (revue) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Atoll (homonymie). Atoll est une revue de Petit format de l éditeur Jeunesse et Vacances qui a eu 121 numéros de mars 1967 à novembre 1981. Ce fascicule est l un des plus gros succès de l éditeur… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Atoll K — ((it) Atollo K) est un film franco italien réalisé par Léo Joannon, sorti en 1951, avec dans les rôles principaux le duo comique Laurel et Hardy dont c est le dernier film tourné en commun. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Atoll 66 — 20e album de la série Natacha Scénario Guy d Artet Dessin François Walthéry Bruno Di Sano Couleurs Cerise Éditeur Marsu Productions …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Atoll — das; s, e <über gleichbed. engl. atoll aus Malayalam aḍal »verbindend«> ringförmige Koralleninsel …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Atoll — Atoll: Die im Deutschen seit dem 19./20. Jh. übliche Bezeichnung für eine ringförmige Koralleninsel stammt vermutlich aus der südwestindischen Drawidasprache Malayalam, wo aḍal »verbindend« bedeutet. Ins Dt. gelangte das Wort durch Vermittlung… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • Atoll — A*toll , n. [The native name in the Indian Ocean.] A coral island or islands, consisting of a belt of coral reef, partly submerged, surrounding a central lagoon or depression; a lagoon island. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • atoll — 1620s, atollon, from Malayam atolu reef, probably from adal closing, uniting. Popularized in present form by Darwin s writings …   Etymology dictionary

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