The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Overview

The 1938 version of Adventures of Tom Sawyer appears to be producer David O. Selznick's dry run for Gone with the Wind, what with its similarities in period, costumes, color scheme and production design both films shared the services of the great Hollywood art director William Cameron Menzies. Selected from hundreds of applicants a precursor to Selznick's upcoming search for Wind's Scarlet O'Hara, Tommy Kelly is visually perfect as Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer though his acting varies from scene to scene. Better cast ...
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Overview

The 1938 version of Adventures of Tom Sawyer appears to be producer David O. Selznick's dry run for Gone with the Wind, what with its similarities in period, costumes, color scheme and production design both films shared the services of the great Hollywood art director William Cameron Menzies. Selected from hundreds of applicants a precursor to Selznick's upcoming search for Wind's Scarlet O'Hara, Tommy Kelly is visually perfect as Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer though his acting varies from scene to scene. Better cast is Jackie Moran as the laconic, pipe-smoking Huck Finn Moran would show up in Wind as Dr. Meade's son. Never forcing its pace, the film manages to include most of Twain's classic sequences, including the fence-whitewashing episode, Tom's rescue of Becky Thatcher Anne Gillis from the wrath of their schoolmaster Olin Howlin, Tom and Huck's "death and resurrection" after the boys briefly skipped town for an idyll on a remote island, the murder trial of town drunk Muff Potter Walter Brennan and ultimately unmasking of the vicious Injun Joe Victor Jory as the real killer, and of course the chilling climax in the cave, wherein Tom protects Becky from the fugitive Injun Joe. Originally released at 93 minutes, Adventures of Tom Sawyer was trimmed to 77 minutes for a 1959 reissue; it has since been restored to its full length on videotape. In 1960, Tom Sawyer was syndicated to television by Selznick, with accompanying commentary by the film's now-grown-up "Becky Thatcher," Anne Gillis.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A remarkably faithful -- perhaps TOO faithful -- adaptation of the Mark Twain classic, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is visually stunning. William Cameron Menzies and Casey Roberts have created gorgeous settings that are beautifully captured by James Wong Howes's delicious camerawork; the climactic sequence inside the cave is especially noteworthy; the clammy, claustrophic sets work together with Howes' spot-on photography to create a harrowing effect. Aside from the visuals, Tom Sawyer runs into a few problems, although none of them seriously damage the film. The screenplay keeps all of the most famous episodes from the book, but does so in such a manner as to make the film seem a little too episodic. In the title role, Tommy Kelly is good but inconsistent; director Norman Taurog can't always pull out of him all that is required, although he has better luck with Anne Gillis and Jackie Moran. May Robson shines as Aunt Polly, allowing us to feel sympathetic for the character while still feeling free to laugh at the troubles Tom gives her. If Tom Sawyer is not perfect, it's still a fine production that leaves the audience with a warm, happy glow.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/4/2012
  • UPC: 096009082949
  • Original Release: 1938
  • Rating:

  • Source: Platinum Disc
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Time: 4:32:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 5,689

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tommy Kelly Tom Sawyer
Jackie Moran Huckleberry Finn
Ann Gillis Becky Thatcher
May Robson Aunt Polly
Walter Brennan Muff Potter
Victor Jory Injun Joe
David Holt Sid Sawyer
Nana Bryant Mrs. Thatcher
Olin Howland Schoolmaster
Donald Meek Sunday School Superintendent
Charles Richman Judge Thatcher
Margaret Hamilton Mrs. Harper
Marcia Mae Jones Mary Sawyer
Mickey Rentschler Joe Harper
Cora Sue Collins Amy Lawrence
Philip Hurlic Little Jim
Clara Blandick
Spring Byington Widow Douglas
Victor Kilian Sheriff
Harry Myers Churchgoer
Elizabeth Patterson
Elizabeth Risdon
Technical Credits
Norman Taurog Director
Margaret Clancey Editor
Wilfrid M. Cline Cinematographer
Jack Cosgrove Special Effects
Louis Forbes Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
James Wong Howe Cinematographer
Hal Kern Editor
William Cameron Menzies Art Director
Casey Roberts Art Director
David O. Selznick Producer
Max Steiner Score Composer
John V.A. Weaver Screenwriter
Lyle Wheeler Production Designer
William H. Wright Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
1. Chapter 1 [10:00]
2. Chapter 2 [10:00]
3. Chapter 3 [10:00]
4. Chapter 4 [10:00]
5. Chapter 5 [10:00]
6. Chapter 6 [10:00]
7. Chapter 7 [10:00]
8. Chapter 8 [10:00]
9. Chapter 9 [10:00]
10. Chapter 10 [5:54]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
   Play
   Chapter Selection
   Bonus Movies
      Devil's Hill
      Lil' Treasure Hunters
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