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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938)

Approved | | Family, Adventure | 11 February 1938 (USA)
Misadventures of a mischievous boy in 1850 Missouri.

Directors:

, (uncredited) | 2 more credits »

Writers:

(the beloved classic by), (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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David Holt ...
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Sunday School Superintendent
Charles Richman ...
Victor Kilian ...
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Philip Hurlic ...
Little Jim
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Storyline

Sentiment rules in this version of the Twain tale of boyhood in 1850 Missouri, reasonably faithful except for minor details and making the character Jim a boy instead of a man. Includes the whitewash episode, puppy love, the graveyard murder, the boys' running away to Jackson's Island, the salvation of Muff Potter, and the cave adventure. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Thrills! Adventure! Laughs! [1958 re-release] See more »

Genres:

Family | Adventure

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 February 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las aventuras de Tom Sawyer  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many disputes arose between photographer James Wong Howe and his associate, Technicolor photographer Wilfred M. Cline about which colors to use in wardrobe and sets. Cline wanted bright primary colors, while Howe insisted on subdued earth tones. Since Howe got his way, after one week they were not on speaking terms and The Technicolor Company banned Howe from shooting further pictures in color; Howe did not make another color film for 10 years. See more »

Goofs

When Tom is wooing Becky by the river, the frog makes his hat jerk up and down. In the next shot, the string attached to the hat is clearly visible (at 25:40 in 91 minutes). See more »

Quotes

Aunt Polly: Playing hooky on Friday? Whitewash on Saturday!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits read "A Picturization in Technicolor of the Beloved Classic by Mark Twain 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer'". See more »

Connections

Version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

If I Ever See
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Poem by Lydia Maria Child
Sung a cappella by children on the hayride
Reprised a cappella by Ann Gillis in the cave
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tears Along the Mississippi
23 December 2007 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Mark Twain's classic characters are brought back to life, by David O. Selznick, for an updated movie adaptation. For the first time, Tom and Huck are seen in color (specifically, "Technicolor"), which contributes to the film's main strength: it looks storybook beautiful. The reliance on set pieces seems entirely appropriate, giving the film great style; and, they are very well done. The cinematography, by James Wong Howe, is remarkable.

The story wavers from true triumph, however, in the direction of the characters; the "cuteness quotient" is set far too high. Many tears flow. Tommy Kelly (as Tom Sawyer) suffers the most, of course, being the lead player. It should be emphasized, however, that this is not due to his effort; under the circumstances, Mr. Kelly performs well. Jackie Moran (as Huckleberry Finn) is a cute best friend; but, not much like the "Huck" from Twain's book. Ann Gillis (as Becky Thatcher) is a cute girl friend. The players are all good, but May Robson (as Aunt Polly) seems the truest.

While more cute than mischievous, and far too clean, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" is good enough to stand on its own. The familiar "lost in the caves" ending is a great climax; and, Victor Jory (as Injun Joe) still startles. The scene of "Tom" emerging, at last, from the caves - his black silhouette shot against the blue sky of freedom - is indelible.

******* The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2/11/38) Norman Taurog ~ Tommy Kelly, Jackie Moran, May Robson, Victor Jory


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