Tom Sawyer, a young Missouri lad, finds fun and adventure with his pals Joe Harper and Huckleberry Finn, running away to hide out on Jackson's Island and pretending to be Mississippi River ... See full summary »
Tom Sawyer, a young Missouri lad, finds fun and adventure with his pals Joe Harper and Huckleberry Finn, running away to hide out on Jackson's Island and pretending to be Mississippi River pirates. When Tom is believed dead by his grieving Aunt Polly, he sneaks back to town to attend his own funeral. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Good Version For Its Time, With a Well-Cast Tom Sawyer
For its time, this is a pretty good version of Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer", with a good selection of sequences from the novel and a well-cast Tom Sawyer in Jack Pickford. It creates the right atmosphere, and believably brings to life several of the well-known characters. Besides the story itself, the movie gives you a chance to see what Jack Pickford was able to do before his personal weaknesses and problems derailed his career, and it also offers a rare chance to see one of the surviving films of ill-fated director William Desmond Taylor.
Pickford seems a natural for the part of Tom; not only does he look the part, but he had the same personality of a likable wastrel. The silent screen made it particularly important for an actor to look right in the part of such a well-known and popular character. Pickford's roguish smile and mannerisms generally work pretty well.
The story takes a selection of the episodes from the novel, and most of them work as well as you could ask, given the lack of spoken dialogue and other limitations. The fence-painting scene, one of Twain's finest gems of humor and psychology, is enjoyable to watch even without all of the nuances that the written story was able to add.
So many film adaptations of Twain's popular stories have been made over the years that it's not very hard to find versions of "Tom Sawyer" that would work better for today's audiences. But for those who enjoy silent films, this one still works well enough to be worth seeing, and it is also interesting as a small piece of movie history.
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