Harvey Cheyne is a spoiled brat used to having his own way. When a prank goes wrong onboard an ocean liner Harvey ends up overboard and nearly drowns. Fortunately he's picked up by a fishing boat just heading out for the season. He tries to bribe the crew into returning early to collect a reward but none of them believe him. Stranded on the boat he must adapt to the ways of the fishermen and learn more about the real world.Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(at around 40 mins) Manuel holds a struggling Harvey from behind with the neck of Harvey's shirt in his left hand and the back of Harvey's pants in his right hand. Manuel says a line in close-up, then a close-up of Harvey shows Manuel holding the shirt with his right hand (at around 48 mins). See more »
The opening credits are letters on planks, like the lettering on the side of ships, and between screen-fulls, a foaming wave of water splashes over it and then runs off. In the initial sets of credits, these appear to be actually letter-forms attached to the wood, as the water gets deflected by some of the letters; in later sets of credits, this effect is harder to see and the sets may be credits superimposed upon wood. See more »
A spoiled rich boy falls overboard & emerges from the sea into the world of the CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS, the rough & honest fishermen who ply the waters of the North Atlantic for months on end.
Rudyard Kipling's classic novel of maturation & responsibility has been expanded & updated and turned into a wonderful film by MGM. The production values, especially those dealing with the fishing boat sequences, are exceptional.
After the first half hour, where we are introduced to the boy's bad behavior at home, school, father's office & aboard the luxury liner, the film arrives at the heart of the matter with the introduction of the fisherman and their rough, dangerous way of life.
Freddie Bartholomew, luminous face & shining eyes aglow, is the very picture of boyish innocence. The fact that MGM gave him top billing over the powerhouse cast shows the kind of confidence they had in their child star. Although his proper English accent is a bit out of place and his sweetness makes his initial bratty behavior a bit of a stretch, once he's firmly ensconced on the trawler and his life lessons are being learned, it is difficult to think of any other young actor of his era in the role.
His lessons come mainly from Spencer Tracy, who is beyond praise as Manuel, the stalwart Portuguese fisherman. Noble, earthy, lighthearted, honest, these were attributes Tracy could sink his teeth into & he delivers a performance of heroic proportions. Good-natured & loyal, singing joyously to his hurdy-gurdy, his Manuel is still fiercely protective of his `liddle fish,' seeing at once the qualities the boy has to offer, once he shapes up. Audiences surrender to Tracy completely (fake accent and all) and his scenes with young Bartholomew are especially tender. The subsequent Best Actor Oscar for his performance here was very well deserved.
Lionel Barrymore, as the crusty, wise old captain of the fishing boat, is a delight. In one of the last roles in which he had the use of his legs, he is completely believable as a Massachusetts seaman. Like Tracy, he inhabits his part, giving an over-the-top performance that is completely appropriate. He embodies the kind of man anyone would feel confident to have at the helm during a sea storm.
The excellence of the cast is evidenced by having Charley Grapewin, John Carradine & Mickey Rooney all on board as crew members; each is given a chance to display their talents, as is Melvyn Douglas as Bartholomew's preoccupied father.
Movie mavens will recognize Billy Gilbert as a soda fountain jerk, as well as Christian Rub & Jimmy Conlin as fisherman, all uncredited.
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