The classic Mark Twain tale of a young boy and his friends on the Mississippi River. Tom and his pals Huckleberry Finn and Joe Harper have numerous adventures, including running away to be ... See full summary »
The classic Mark Twain tale of a young boy and his friends on the Mississippi River. Tom and his pals Huckleberry Finn and Joe Harper have numerous adventures, including running away to be pirates and, being believed drowned, attending their own funeral. The boys also witness a murder and Tom and his friend Becky Thatcher are pursued by the vengeful murderer. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
The first sound version of Mark Twain's immortal classic does capture the charm of the story (who wouldn't want to be a little boy in the summertime again?). As a film adaptation, it also remains pretty faithful to its original source, and contains many of the book's famous segments (whitewashng the fence, the midnight visit to the graveyard, lost in the cave, etc.).
This early "talkie" of "Tom Sawyer" does suffer, however, from the stodginess and "creakiness" that many of the early sound films exhibit, due to the (at that time) primitive sound recording techniques (the "marriage" of sound and picture still wasn't totally perfected in 1930, and a number of films that year were still being produced in both sound and silent versions). This "creakiness" does indeed have a charm of its own (at least to die-hard fans, such as myself, of classic films), but modern audiences will probably find this 1930 version too slow and stagey. (A 1938 technicolour remake by producer David O. Selznick, entitled "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", is really the definitive film version of this story).
A renowned child star, and later famous as "Uncle Fester" in the TV show "The Addams Family", Jackie Coogan performs well as Tom, but at 16 he was really too old for the role (Tom is supposed to be about 11 or 12; the 1938 version starred 12-year old Tommy Kelly, who was the perfect age). The remainder of the cast is also good (Jackie Searl in particular as Tom's obnoxious and detestable brother Sid), although like Coogan, similarly-aged Junior Durkin was also too old to play Huck Finn.
All in all, a charming "curio" for movie watchers, but won't endure as an acknowledged "classic".
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