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Captains Courageous (1937)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama, Family | 25 June 1937 (USA)
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A spoiled brat who falls overboard from a steamship gets picked up by a fishing boat, where he's made to earn his keep by joining the crew in their work.

Director:

Victor Fleming

Writers:

Rudyard Kipling (novel), John Lee Mahin (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Freddie Bartholomew ... Harvey
Spencer Tracy ... Manuel
Lionel Barrymore ... Disko
Melvyn Douglas ... Mr. Cheyne
Charley Grapewin ... Uncle Salters
Mickey Rooney ... Dan
John Carradine ... 'Long Jack'
Oscar O'Shea ... Cushman
Jack La Rue ... Priest (as Jack LaRue)
Walter Kingsford ... Dr. Finley
Donald Briggs ... Tyler
Sam McDaniel ... 'Doc' (as Sam McDaniels)
Bill Burrud ... Charles (as Billy Burrud)
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Storyline

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 <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Again-as in the stirring "Mutiny"- you live the roaring drama of men against the sea. You share the struggles, the heartaches, the laughter of courageous souls who leave the women they love to dare the wrath of the angry waves... See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Portuguese

Release Date:

25 June 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rudyard Kipling's Captains Courageous See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,645,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When production finally wrapped in late February 1937, Spencer Tracy was relieved. "Well, I got away with it," he said later. "Want to know why? Because of Freddie, because of that kid's performance, because he sold it 98 per cent. The kid had to believe in Manuel, or Manuel wasn't worth a quarter. The way he would look at me, believe every word I said, made me believe in it myself. I've never said this before, and I'll never say it again. Freddie Bartholomew's acting is so fine and so simple and so true that it's way over people's heads. It'll only be by thinking back two or three years from now that they'll realize how great it was." See more »

Goofs

(At 116:12) Camera shadow on the dory. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Burns: [to the maid as he adjusts her tray] There'll be none of that. No trays.
Dr. Finley: [hurriedly relaying highlighted news updates to Mr. Cheyne as he wolfs down breakfast] The Star Telegram has you quoted quite definitely: 'before departing by plane for New York, Mr. Cheyne stated that the new equipment is to be provided by the present bond issue.' The other papers have virtually the same.
Frank Burton Cheyne: What do the confidentials say?
Dr. Finley: Tuesday morning, Paris wires: the president will probably sign the batamant ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Version of Captains Courageous (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Blow The Man Down
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Yo Ho, Little Fish, Don't Cry Don't Cry"
5 November 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

That was quite a catch that Spencer Tracy made that day in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

Young Freddie Bartholomew the spoiled son of tycoon Melvyn Douglas falls overboard off an ocean liner. By the merest chance, Spencer Tracy is in his dory fishing and reels in young Bartholomew. After his catch is made, Tracy returns to the boat that captain Lionel Barrymore is commanding.

It's quite a culture shock to the lad. He's fallen in literally with a bunch of people who work for a living and have no real interest in him because his Daddy's the richest guy around. Truth is Melvyn Douglas has been neglecting the kid for business and young Bartholomew is not really as bad a kid as originally thought. He joins the crew and becomes close to Tracy.

Of Tracy's two Oscar winning performances, the part of Manuel the Portugese fisherman, transplanted to New England is a bit more showy than Father Flanagan. It's a good blend of the roughneck characters Tracy was used to playing and the new father figure persona he adopted in San Francisco.

By necessity Tracy had to adopt an accent if for no other reasons than to distinguish him from the other members of Lionel Barrymore's crew and their clipped New England speech. The Portugese are a hearty, seafaring group though and I certainly never heard any complaint that his performance was in any way demeaning. Manuel's a simple guy, but with a good way of life and an appreciation for the important things life has to offer. That is what he imparts to Freddie Bartholomew.

Melvyn Douglas does not get enough recognition for this film. Just as Freddie Bartholomew is not a bad kid at heart, Douglas is not a bad man either. His performance as a man who lost his only child and then had him miraculously returned from the dead is touching. And the scenes where he tries to repair his relationship with young Bartholomew are poignant.

Lionel Barrymore is the perfect conception of a hearty New England fishing boat captain. As Freddie Bartholomew watches the interaction between Barrymore and Mickey Rooney, father and son, sharing not just playtime, but the father's profession, he realizes what he and Melvyn Douglas have missed out on.

Of the crew also pay close attention to John Carradine who resents and then accepts Bartholomew with the crew.

The fishing scenes are well done and Director Victor Fleming gives you a good picture of life on a commercial fishing vessel.

Captains Courageous is a fine family film in every sense of the word.


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