HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
   
 
Newest Articles
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
   
 
  Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Mischief along the MississippiBuy this film here.
Year: 1938
Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Tommy Kelly, Jackie Moran, Ann Gillis, May Robson, Walter Brennan, Marcia Mae Jones, Victor Jory, David Holt, Nana Bryant, Victor Kilian, Olin Howland, Mickey Rentschler, Donald Meek, Charles Richman, Margaret Hamilton, Spring Byington, Roland Drew
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Adventure
Rating:  9 (from 1 vote)
Review: Tom Sawyer (Tommy Kelly) is a boisterous boy growing up in St. Petersburg, Missouri near the Mississippi River in 1850, whose boundless mischief stirs endless headaches for his long-suffering guardian, Aunt Polly (May Robson). Between misadventures with his best friend, the good-hearted wastrel Huckleberry Finn (Jackie Moran), and clashes with his odious taddle-tale of a half-brother Sid (David Holt), Tom falls in love with freckle-faced Becky Thatcher (Ann Gillis), daughter of the town's new judge, though his attempts to impress her routinely end in disaster.

Produced by David O. Selznick, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, remains the definitive screen adaptation of Mark Twain's timeless tale. Even as early as 1938 there had been several versions of this oft-filmed book, notably the 1930 adaptation with child star Jackie Coogan for which Norman Taurog handled the sequel, Huckleberry Finn (1931) with Coogan reprising the role of Tom. However, the Selznick production is the one to see, shot in lustrous Technicolor by the great James Wong Howe and with Oscar-winning design by William Cameron Menzies, future director of Invaders from Mars (1953), another tale of wide-eyed youth caught in an adventure beyond their wildest imagining.

Almost all of the book's famous episodes are present and accounted for (e.g. Tom whitewashing the fence, the bible contest, running away with Huck and Joe Harper (Mickey Rentschler) only to witness their own funeral when the whole town thinks they drowned in the river) and brought vividly to life, with only a few minor omissions. Taurog's lively directorial style compliments Twain's wry observational humour and the results are often laugh-out-loud funny. Twain's novel is, among many things, a celebration of boyhood in all its rambunctous glory but as is proven by the caning episode and subsequent darker events, the author was under no delusions that childhood was all sweetness and light. After an episodic first third, the narrative strengthens when Tom and Huck see Injun Joe (Victor Jory) stab Doc Robinson (Roland Drew) to death in the midst of a grave robbery. With the blame lain on affable town drunk, Muff Potter (an affecting turn from Walter Brennan), it falls to Tom to step forward and do the right thing.

Taurog imbues both the graveyard murder and nerve-wracking climax, with Tom and Becky trapped inside a collapsed cave with the malevolent Injun Joe, with the brooding intensity of a child's worst nightmare. Kelly's haunted expression in the aftermath of the atrocity speaks volumes for lost innocence, while his life-or-death struggle at the finale carries a palpable frisson of psychological peril. Young Kelly is pitch-perfect as Tom, the embodiment of irrepressible youth. He delivers a performance so emotive and naturalistic it is hard to fathom why he never found a level of stardom comparable to Jackie Coogan.

Norman Taurog was famed for his skill with child actors, often rewarding a good take with a bar of chocolate. In which case the kids must have had their fill, given performances are strong across the board including Jackie Moran as Huck Finn, David Holt as Sid, Ann Gillis as Becky and Marcia Mae Jones, cast as Tom's cousin Mary after a growth spurt cost her the role of Becky. Meanwhile a well-chosen roster of reliable character actors perfectly encapsulate Twain's well-drawn supporting players. The heart of the film remains Tom's strained yet ultimately loving relationship with Aunt Polly whom veteran actress May Robson imbues with just the right balance of tenderness and exasperation.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3524 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: