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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939)

Passed  -  Adventure | Drama | Family  -  10 February 1939 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 723 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 5 critic

Huckleberry Finn, a rambunctious boy adventurer chafing under the bonds of civilization, escapes his humdrum world and his selfish, plotting father by sailing a raft down the Mississippi ... See full summary »

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Title: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Jim
Lynne Carver ...
Mary Jane
Jo Ann Sayers ...
Susan
Minor Watson ...
Capt. Brandy
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Widow Douglass (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Victor Kilian ...
Clara Blandick ...
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Storyline

Huckleberry Finn, a rambunctious boy adventurer chafing under the bonds of civilization, escapes his humdrum world and his selfish, plotting father by sailing a raft down the Mississippi River. Accompanying him is Jim, a slave running away from being sold. Together the two strike a bond of friendship that takes them through harrowing events and thrilling adventures. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Passed | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

10 February 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Huckleberry Finn  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rex Ingram, playing Jim, was actually born on a riverboat on the Mississippi River. He was born near Cairo, Illinois, which is Jim's intended destination in the book and film. See more »

Connections

Version of Priklyucheniya Toma Soyera i Geklberri Finna (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

At Night
(uncredited)
Written by Walter Jurmann, Bronislau Kaper and Franz Waxman
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User Reviews

 
Of the four versions seen of Huckleberry Finn so far, this one's the best
18 October 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The others were the 1993 Elijah Wood film which was quite good, the 1974 musical version which was heavily flawed but still above-average and the 1975 Ron Howard version which was soggy and actually very bad. The photography in this film may be at times less than lavish and the final third feels rushed, but of the four it was the version that came across on its own as the best. As an adaptation perhaps it's not great, then again this is adaptation we're talking about(when something is not faithful to its source it doesn't mean it's immediately bad) and it does deserve judgement on its own merits. And while it's not perfect, it has many merits. The authentic river locations are a major plus, while the dialogue flows well and manages to be entertaining and poignant and the story still has cohesion and a good sense of atmosphere. The film may have primarily have been a showcase for Mickey Rooney but even with that the story is thankfully not ignored. Jim's jail scene is deeply heart-breaking. The pacing does feel rushed in the final third of the film but for most of the film it is just right, while the direction is very competent if not entirely imaginative. But the best asset about this version of Huckleberry Finn is the acting, so effective to the extent that it's like the characters themselves stepping out of the pages, and we are talking also about physical resemblances. Mickey Rooney's Huck is charming, mischievous and towards the end affecting(he may be somewhat too old, though not by much, but he doesn't look like he is), while Rex Ingram(personal favourite actor in the film) is very dignified and nuanced as Jim and Victor Kilian's Pap dominates quite terrifyingly. Walter Connolly and William Frawley are wickedly funny and menacing, in almost all four versions the Duke and the King have been scene-stealing characters(apart from 1975, hardly any the actors acquitted themselves well apart from Jack Elam). Elizabeth Ridson is fine as well. Overall, very good and underrated, of the four versions so far seen it's the best by quite some way. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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