From the mid-Sixties to the end of the Seventies a cooperation of German and french TV producers led to the adaption of several children classics and adventure tales. The mastermind behind these little epics was scriptwriter and supervisor Walter Ulbrich. The charming Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn" is a fine example of Ulrichs achievements. It was an overwhelming success at it's time and still manages to please the audience. One of the main reasons why this mini-series works so well may be it's old-fashioned way of storytelling. During each episode the voice of a narrator introduces us to the world of Tom and Huck, tells us about the background of several side-characters and leads us through the emotional troubles of our young heroes. This way the spirit of Mark Twains Novels is perfectly captured and transfered to the screen. Whereas other adaptations tend to omit the not-so-adventurous parts of the story, here we follow the authors portray of a young boy captured in the ups and downs of puberty. Listening to Twains ironic phrases, we discover Toms hometown being a place where the respected authorities always teach god fearing and Christian moral values while at the same time no one objects slavery.
The film was shot in Romania, with the delta of the Danube doubling in for the Mississippi. Though the film had a fairly large budget at it's time, the adult audience will notice some shortcomings like a hand painted background at aunt Polly's house or night-scenes which are all-to-obvious shot on clear day. On the other hand Wolfgang Liebeneiners direction is well-paced and nearly all the characters are exceptionally well cast, especially Tom (Roland Demongeot), Huck (Marc di Napoli) and the main villain Indian Joe (Jacques Bilodeau).
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