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I'm not sure if this is the cinematic version which best captures the
ethos of Robert Louis Stevenson's book, but it is the version which
provides the best movie experience for the viewer, and probably the
film that most people think of whenever some one mentions Treasure
Wallace Beery is always worth watching, and his black and white version has many strong points, but he never quite convinces me that he is the black hearted devil who is second only to Captain Flint himself in his cruelty. The Charlton Heston version has the advantage of a wonderful Chieftains soundtrack, and some richer production values than were possible in 1954, but somehow Heston never comes across as the kind of man who could weld a band of misfits, convicts, perverts, murderers and general misanthropes into a functioning pirate crew.
Robert Newton, however, is the definitive Long John Silver. I saw this flick fifty years ago, when it was first run in the theaters, and it left an indelible impression in my memory. (apparently it also impressed Richard Dreyfuss, who does an homage to Newton's Long John in 'Jaws'). The last time I viewed it was probably about ten years ago when my youngest child was still a pre-teen, and Newton's performance as the quintessential rogue who can slit your throat without a qualm while you are laughing at one of his jokes was just as impressive to me when I was 50 as when I was 10.
The story is a little long in the tooth, but the key points, such as the delivery of the black spot by Blind Pew, and the recapture of the Hispaniola, are still tense and exciting, even to a generation weaned on Stargate and Spiderman. The apple barrel scene with young Jim trying to avoid being skewered by Silver's knife made my kids scream, and what more can you ask from a kid's movie than a good, safe scare?
This is a must have movie for any serious video collection.
Even though it does not stick 100% to the novel, it stays true to the spirit and idea of the book. A light-hearted and well done adaptation of a well-loved book. Casting is brilliantly done, particularly for the parts of Long John Silver and Squire Trelawney. Locations are amazingly picturesque and make the watcher feel like they are in the right world for a swashbuckling pirate adventure, thereby making it all the better for them. For Disney's first foray into the arena of live-action films, it is extremely well done and hopefully they will be able to recapture their former glory and go back to the days of Treasure Island, Mary Poppins, and other live-action masterpieces of their illustrious past.
I saw this film as a child and enjoyed it, but when I watched it again
tonight with my children, I absolutely loved it. My two oldest daughters
are big fans of "Pirates of the Caribbean." They immediately recognized
Robert Newton's brilliant performance as Long John Silver as the inspiration
for Geoffrey Rush's equally delightful turn as Captain Barbossa fifty years
later. Newton steals the show with his characterization of the famous
pirate, yet does so without distracting one from the story.
A half century has not robbed this film of any of its charm; it remains one of the great pirate films of all time. Grab a bowl of popcorn and fire up your DVD player. Treasure Island is the real thing!
Robert Newton sets the standard for all pirate movies. His performance as Long John Silver is a grand spree in scenery chewing. He is a delight to watch.
Sure, it had its shortcomings, and it wasn't as dark as it could have been, but this is certainly the best version of a book that has been retold time after time. As a child, this was one of my favorite books, and I always felt this was one of the best, if not the best adaptation of the book. Maybe someday someone will make a better version, but until then, my vote goes to this one.
Excellent film adaptation of the famous novel made in England at Denham Film Studios and using much of the Denham lake and the river Colne in the location sequences. Wonderful 50s technicolour and matte shots from Peter Ellenshaw to enhance the scenery. Robert Newton in great form as Long John Silver and Bobby Driscoll equally good as Jim Hawkins - not to mention the fine British cast of top rate character actors The latest Disney video is supposed to show the original full version BUT this is not the case - for one thing the death of Pugh under the coach wheels is left out as well as the other sequences cut for the '70s re-issue of the film. This is a great shame. I am not sure whether or not the DVD recent release is also produced minus these scenes
When people think of the great British actor, Robert Newton, they think of
him as Long John Silver. He put his own personal stamp on this role and
made a living off variations of this role until the end of his
What most people don't realize is that his brutal portrayal of Bill Sykes is really his most polished and psychologically penetrating performance on screen.
When Newton signed on for the role of Long John he had pretty much given up on acting. Read David Niven's moving profile of Robert Newton in his book, Bring On The Empty Horses.
That said, Newton is splendid in Treasure Island. He uses his stature and intimidating personality to good advantage. He also shows the world how much he loved children. As Niven remarked about Robert Newton, "He was the kindest of men..."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jim Hawkins, a likely lad, befriends a dying pirate and comes into
possession of a much sought-after treasure map. He and his friends
charter a ship, The Hispaniola, and go in search of the booty but the
ship's cook, one Long John Silver, is in reality a fearsome pirate,
just waiting to rally the crew of black-hearted cutthroats to mutiny
There are several adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's superb 1883 seafaring adventure novel (notably a 1990 cable-TV version with Charlton Heston), and countless variations on the story (Muppet Treasure Island, for example), but the Walt Disney movie is still the best. It's extremely faithful to the novel, bringing the settings and the characters vividly to live, and crucially the focus on Jim as the hero and narrator. The story is just so breathtaking, exciting and imaginative; the universal theme of a boy's first expedition from home in search of experience, coupled with the crazy pirate adventures, hidden treasure, exotic locations and bloody mayhem. The cast are excellent throughout, but top honours must go to Newton - in the role of a lifetime - as the roaring, rosy-cheeked, one-legged buccaneer Silver, rolling his eyes and chewing through his fabulous dialogue with relish, yet never overplaying the moment. He perfectly captures the complex and fascinating relationship at the core of the story between Silver and Jim, which encompasses friendship, revulsion, fear, pity, loyalty, respect, even love. There are a few small variations that niggle me; in the book, the mutiny doesn't take place until the pirates are all ashore, the Truman character (George Merry) is much less substantial, and most importantly, at the end Silver sails home with the others but escapes when they dock to resupply at a tropical port. If ever there was a movie where you should also read the book, this is the one - it's just stunning; the character names alone are better than any other novel (Black Dog, Blind Pew, Squire Trelawney, Israel Hands, Captain Smollett, Ben Gunn, Billy Bones), and I think it has the best last line in the history of fiction. Well directed by Haskin, beautifully shot by Freddie Young, and full of Stevenson's fabulous pirate lingo ("Poor rovin' seamen the likes o'you needs every scrap o'scripture 'ee can get."), this is a classic adventure story for all time. Pieces of eight !!
if you have ever read the book by Robert Louis Stevenson, you will truly
enjoy this movie. Robert Newton is the perfect Long John Silver. I
imagine another actor living up to the role the way he did. Sure, the
acting may not be the best, and the screen effects may be bad, but you
to remember when it was made. It is a very good movie for its time, and
quite an enjoyable one in mine. If you enjoy seafaring movies- See this
one. If you like pirate flicks- this one will have you arrgging all night
When I think of Long John silver, I think of one quote, "Fortune sits on the shoulder of him what schemes."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This one IS better than the 1934 version. When you watch that one, all the scenes of Wallace Beery squinting rub off on you, but when you watch this one, all the scenes of John Newton saying "Arr", or a variant of, rub off on you. Driscoll is excellent as Jim, but I think he was better in "The Window"(1949). I don't particularly like Newton saying "Arr" all the time, but that's Disney and Long John Silver for you. The reason that this is superior to the 1934 version is because the 1934 version was not very original, and this one takes as many liberties as possible with the story without exactly changing the story too much. Why do the different versions play around with the scene when Israel Hands throws the knife at Jim? In this one the knife gets Jim high in the left shoulder, but in both the 1934 version and the 1972 version he is not hurt. I have seen the version with Christian Bale and Charlton Heston, but that was a long time ago, and I can't exactly remember if Jim gets the knife in his shoulder or not. I like the battle scene at the stockade better in this one than in the 1934 or 1972 versions, but as for the fight between Israel Hands and Jim, the 1934 version was the best in that respect, but in the 1972 version, the fight between Israel Hands and Jim was horribly staged, but in this one, that fight is so-so. Maybe the main reason that I like the battle scene at the stockade better in this one than in any of the other versions is because I like the actual set of the stockade better than the set of the stockade in any of the other versions. The actual set of the stockade in this one is a marvel-to-behold. Anyways, this one DOES take MANY liberties with the story, but alas, only idiots argue about things like that.
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