By Using this site, you agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer(1938)

Quality and publicity were the hallmarks of David O. Selznick’s productions, and this fourth film adaptation of Mark Twain’s first novel, released 80 years ago, was no exception. The publicity came from a nationwide talent search that led to the casting of Bronx native Tommy Kelly as Sawyer, marking his film debut. The quality was evident throughout the film. Researchers worked for months, combing through hundreds of sources to insure an accurate picture of life along the Mississippi in the mid-1800s. James Wong Howe fought the Technicolor Corporation in order to shoot in the earth tones he thought best fit the setting. As a result, he was banned from working in Technicolor for a number of years due to using only a fourth of the recommended lighting in the climactic cave sequence. William Cameron Menzies did such a good job designing this scene, he was signed to supervise the overall look of Gone With the Wind (1939). After firing director H.C. Potter, Selznick hired Norman Taurog, an expert on working with children, who got simple, unaffected performances out of the many child actors in the film. Selznick enlisted great character actors like May Robson, Walter Brennan and Victor Jory to bring depth to the story. Even with George Cukor and William A. Wellman assisting with retakes, Selznick was the one true auteur, delivering a polished, literate and supremely entertaining picture. (d. Norman Taurog, 91m, 35mm)

Download Now!