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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939)

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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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Huckleberry Finn
...
The 'King'
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The 'Duke'
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Jim
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Mary Jane
...
Susan
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Capt. Brandy
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Widow Douglass (as Elizabeth Risdon)
Victor Kilian ...
'Pap' Finn
...
Miss Watson
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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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Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

MGM bought the rights to Mark Twain's novel specifically for Mickey Rooney. See more »

Goofs

When the group is counting their take, one mentions "a lead nickel". Nickel five-cent pieces were not issued by the mint until after 1867 - after the Civil War. See more »

Connections

Version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
America's best novel
25 December 2014 | by See all my reviews

This is probably the least faithful version to Mark Twain's immortal novel that I've seen put on the big or small screen. Still this is one admirable production of The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn and Mickey Rooney's starring performance is infectious and fun. The main points of the film are kept intact and that would be the whole sequence involving Huck Finn and Jim with those river con men the 'king' and the 'duke'. and the whole question of this white trash river kid helping a black slave whom he has been brought up to regard as inferior to freedom.

Through a combination of circumstances Huck Finn because he wants to get away from the widow Douglas's civilizing ways and his own father's brutal whipping Mickey Rooney as Huck fakes his own death and takes off on a raft with Jim, the widow's slave who wants to be reunited with his wife and child in a free state. But the law is hunting Jim not just for an escape, but for Huck's murder.

On the way these two pull Walter Connolly and William Frawley from the river where they've just been dumped after being caught cheating on a riverboat. The self styled king and duke get Huck to aid in a con being perpetrated on a young girl recently lost her father. They get Rooney to aid in the scheme lest they betray him and Rex Ingram to the authorities.

Here as in the novel the best scenes are with Rooney and Ingram as the slave Jim. For the first time in his life because the two are caught in the same predicament Rooney is seeing a black man as a human being. It makes him start reevaluating his thinking as Twain wanted many Americans to do. Twain came from the same background he's talking about the Missouri of his upbringing and how he came to escape that thinking with his character of Huck Finn.

Conmen for the most part in film are presented as lovable rogues on the big and small screen. Twain's king and duke are some of the most realistically created conmen in literature. These two are rogues, but there's nothing lovable about the way they want to trim some young girl of her fortune and leave her penniless and homeless. Connolly and Frawley are quite hateful and great in their roles.

Huckleberry Finn is considered by many to be America's great novel and this abbreviated version might give you some indication why. It succeeds as this film does in entertaining you, but also making you think.


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