Lem Siddons is part of a traveling band who has a dream of becoming a lawyer. Deciding to settle down, he finds a job as a stockboy in the general store of a small town. Trying to fit in, ... See full summary »
Sentiment rules in this version of the Twain tale of boyhood in 1850 Missouri, reasonably faithful except for minor details and making the character Jim a boy instead of a man. Includes the whitewash episode, puppy love, the graveyard murder, the boys' running away to Jackson's Island, the salvation of Muff Potter, and the cave adventure.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
I suppose that if The Adventures of Tom Sawyer had been made at MGM we would have seen Mickey Rooney as Tom with possibly Freddie Bartholomew as Sid with maybe Judy Garland as Becky Thatcher. But David O. Selznick was out on his own as an independent at this point so he chose to use talented child performers who didn't quite have the name clout that those urchin titans of MGM did.
But this universally loved story by America's greatest author certainly had a built in market that had no need of name players to sell it. Selznick saved on player's salary and put the money into production values and he and the public came away winners.
Tommy Kelly, Ann Gillis, and Jackie Moran as Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, and Huckleberry Finn fill just about everyone's conception of what those kids from Hannibal, Missouri in the 1850s were like. They are given able support from such beloved character players as May Robson as Aunt Polly, Walter Brennan as Muff Potter, Victor Jory as the villainous Indian Joe, Olin Howland as the Sunday school teacher, Margaret Hamilton as Mrs. Harper, and Donald Meek as the school superintendent.
Selznick did a faithful adaption of the novel, the famous fence whitewashing incident is there as well as Tom and Huck getting a glimpse of their own funerals when everyone assumes they've drowned and the climax, the chase with Indian Joe in the cave.
It's a timeless classic, it can be shown to kids of all ages for centuries.
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