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Directed by  Norman Taurog
USA 1938

 

In this glorious adaptation of the Mark Twain classic, young Tom Sawyer (Tommy Kelly) is a big troublemaker. When he's not tricking others into doing his work, he's upsetting his aunt Polly (May Robson), or wooing his young love, Becky (Ann Gillis). But sometimes Tom's mischief gets him in over his head, and when he and his pal, Huckleberry Finn (Jackie Moran), witness a murder, they take a vow of silence and head down the river on a raft. The whole town believes they're dead, so when the boys return they're in a world of trouble. Norman Taurog (Boy's Town) directed this David O. Selznick (Duel in the Sun) production featuring Walter Brennan (Dakota), Victor Jory (Canadian Pacific) and Margaret Hamilton (Driftwood).

***

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.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 11th, 1938

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:30:42.979       1:17:03.619      
Video

Original Version:

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-rays

Disc Size: 39,043,525,947 bytes

Feature: 18,320,056,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Reissue:

1.33:1 1080P

Disc Size: 39,043,525,947 bytes

Feature: 18,786,269,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.28 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Original Bitrate Blu-ray:

Reissue Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit) 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1558 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1558 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles None None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino Lorber

 

Original Version:

1.33:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-rays

Disc Size: 39,043,525,947 bytes

Feature: 18,320,056,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Reissue:

1.33:1 1080P

Feature: 18,786,269,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.28 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Trailer (2:15)


Blu-ray Release Date: July 10th, 2018
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 8 / 8

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Kino special edition includes both the original, 1938, 91-minute cut and the, 1954, 77-minute reissue on the same Blu-ray. The HD quality is very similar between the original and 13-minute shortened version. Frankly, considering the age - the Technicolor losing brilliance is what I anticipated.  There are flashes of color depth (ex. the tomatoes) and the art direction maintains the film's adventuresque elements. The image has a thickness and inherent softness connoting the era and is consistent throughout the entire presentation. I expect this is pretty much how the existing source looks - heavy with no gloss. It gave a very pleasing presentation.

Kino Lorber provide DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel (16-bit) tracks in the original English language for both versions. There are modest effects but another supportive score by the iconic Max Steiner (Stingaree, Tomorrow is Forever, Sergeant York, Key Largo, Casablanca, The Caine Mutiny, Bird of Paradise, Beyond the Forest, Pursued etc. etc.) and Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean as sung by the schoolchildren at school and If I Ever See sung a cappella by children on the hayride and reprised, also a cappella, by Ann Gillis in the cave . Kino Lorber  do not offer subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

Supplements include only a trailer for the film and for 3 other films.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a warm boyhood adventure capturing some key elements of the Mark Twain novel. Tommy Kelly, Ann Gillis, and Jackie Moran do a wonderful job as Tom, Becky, and Huck. The Kino
Blu-ray adds the largely superfluous shorter version but perhaps it will better suit your video-game addicted son(s). Great film to have on Blu-ray. Absolutely recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Distribution Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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