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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938)

Tom Sawyer and his pal Huckleberry Finn have great adventures on the Mississippi River, pretending to be pirates, attending their own funeral and witnessing a murder.

Director:

Norman Taurog

Writers:

Mark Twain (the beloved classic by), John V.A. Weaver (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tommy Kelly ... Tom Sawyer
May Robson ... Aunt Polly
Walter Brennan ... Muff Potter
Victor Jory ... Injun Joe
David Holt ... Sid Sawyer
Jackie Moran ... Huckleberry Finn
Nana Bryant ... Mrs. Thatcher
Olin Howland ... Mr. Dobbins - Schoolmaster
Donald Meek ... Sunday School Superintendent
Charles Richman ... Judge Thatcher
Victor Kilian ... Sheriff
Marcia Mae Jones ... Mary Sawyer
Mickey Rentschler ... Joe Harper
Cora Sue Collins ... Amy Lawrence
Philip Hurlic Philip Hurlic ... Little Jim
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Everybody knows him! Everybody loves him! He's everybody's favorite boy! Mark Twain's most beloved story See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 February 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Las aventuras de Tom Sawyer See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Walter Brennan (Muff Potter) and Victor Jory (Injun Joe) met while filming this movie and became lifelong friends. See more »

Goofs

When Tom is wooing Becky by the river, the frog makes his hat jerk up and down. In the next shot, the string attached to the hat is clearly visible (at 25:40 in 91 minutes). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Aunt Polly: Tom! You, Tom!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits read "A Picturization in Technicolor of the Beloved Classic by Mark Twain 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer'". See more »

Alternate Versions

Selznick International made a separate print for release in Great Britain, eliminating American colloquialisms and dialog which may not have been understood by a British audience. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean
(1843) (uncredited)
Written by David T. Shaw
Arranged by Thomas A. Beckett
Sung by the schoolchildren at school
See more »

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User Reviews

 
From The Heart Of Mark Twain, Into The Hearts Of The World
7 June 2001 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER keep the small town of St. Petersburg, Missouri in constant turmoil, circa 1850...

This is a splendid family film, one of producer David O. Selznick's very best. Presented in wonderful Technicolor, it is like looking through the pages of an illustrated copy of the classic novel. All the favorite episodes are here. All of the performers are perfect in their roles. It is difficult to imagine a better transition from book to screen.

Elderly May Robson has one of her finest roles as harried, temperamental, lovable Aunt Polly. She easily steals every scene she's in & provides the sentimental heart of the movie. However, breaking out a bit, her last scene at the film's conclusion is hilarious. A small cluster of veteran character actors - Walter Brennan, Victor Jory, Donald Meek & Margaret Hamilton - are also exceptional in their roles.

12-year-old Tommy Kelly IS Tom Sawyer - he will instantly gain the respect & admiration of every prepubescent male in the audience. Beguiling & mischievous, with an infectious grin & sad eyes, he admirably fills the bare feet of America's most famous literary kid. The movie's other child actors - David Holt, Marcia Mae Jones, Ann Gillis & Jackie Moran - give excellent support. (Legend has it that Selznick found young Master Kelly in an orphanage. True or not, this was his best role. Very soon he was playing only bit parts and eventually left films around the age of 25.)

The cave sequence is especially noteworthy, thanks to the art design of William Cameron Menzies, the flickering camera work of James Wong Howe, and the moody music of Max Steiner. Spooky & claustrophobic, these scenes are the embodiment of every viewer's nightmares, and, thus, are tremendously entertaining.

It should be noted that while the character of Jim is correctly depicted as a slave, the film itself is blessedly free of the racism that blights so many Hollywood films of the 1930's.


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