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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mark Twain's classic characters are brought back to life, by David O. Selznick, for an updated movie adaptation. For the first time, Tom and Huck are seen in color (specifically, "Technicolor"), which contributes to the film's main strength: it looks storybook beautiful. The reliance on set pieces seems entirely appropriate, giving the film great style; and, they are very well done. The cinematography, by James Wong Howe, is remarkable.
The story wavers from true triumph, however, in the direction of the characters; the "cuteness quotient" is set far too high. Many tears flow. Tommy Kelly (as Tom Sawyer) suffers the most, of course, being the lead player. It should be emphasized, however, that this is not due to his effort; under the circumstances, Mr. Kelly performs well. Jackie Moran (as Huckleberry Finn) is a cute best friend; but, not much like the "Huck" from Twain's book. Ann Gillis (as Becky Thatcher) is a cute girl friend. The players are all good, but May Robson (as Aunt Polly) seems the truest.
While more cute than mischievous, and far too clean, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" is good enough to stand on its own. The familiar "lost in the caves" ending is a great climax; and, Victor Jory (as Injun Joe) still startles. The scene of "Tom" emerging, at last, from the caves - his black silhouette shot against the blue sky of freedom - is indelible.
******* The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2/11/38) Norman Taurog ~ Tommy Kelly, Jackie Moran, May Robson, Victor Jory
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