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Treasure Island (1950)
Topic Started: Jul 4 2018, 05:52 PM (349 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Walt Disney's Treasure Island (1950) Dir. Byron Haskins
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Produced by Perce Pierce
96 min. / Technicolor / 1.33:1
Blu-ray: Disney

Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel comes to the screen; young Jim Hawkins inherits a pirate's treasure map from his friend Mr. Bones and joins a helpful doctor and a loud-mouthed squire on a voyage to recover 700,000 pieces of gold, little knowing that their colorful one-legged cook, Long John Silver, is preparing a rawther nawsty surprise for them once the treasure is recovered.

British law froze the lion's share of American film profits; the money had to be spent in England, so Uncle Walt duly hired a British cast and crew and assigned Americans Byron Haskins to direct and Bobby Driscoll to play young Jim. Robert Newton is so good all other pirates in all other movies are held up against him; he went on to a non-Disney Australian sequel and TV series as the character before his 1956 death. Disney visited the set but mostly kept a hands-off approach, kind of surprising considering the budget was pretty high ($1.8 million) for his first ever all-live-action film. I'd seen the film before, of course, and always admired it (it has a lushness one doesn't find in a lot of kids' live-action pictures) and it's the first "Exclusive Disney Movie Club" Blu-ray I watched. I was delighted to find that it is a gorgeous offering, the colors pop off the screen and the film looks and sounds amazing. Best of all, the film holds up very well for kids and so-called grown-ups; there's some surprising violence for a Disney film (nearly ten minutes were cut to give the film a G rating when it was reissued in 1975; this is the uncut version) and I didn't notice until the final credits that there isn't a woman to be found in the film. Mostly, though, it's simply a flat-out fun movie to watch, highlighted by the wonderful Mr. Newton. Highly enjoyable.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Inn-keeper Silver, describing the crew he could gather for the ship: "They wouldn't be pretty enough for the modern taste. Nowadays, they pick the younger man by the cut o' their jib, not the old ones for their experience."

Cap'n Silver, ending a prayer for a man for whose death he was responsible: "AHHHHRmen."

Disney went on to make several other period-set British films over the next few years, adaptations of classic characters and novels, including Robin Hood, Rob Roy, and When Knighthood was in Flower.

ALSO ON THE PROGRAM

For the kiddies, a trio of classic Disney cartoons, including The Haunted House (1929), with Mickey Mouse doing an impersonation of Al Jolson and battling with some music-loving skeletons (the same ones from Silly Symphonies, mayhaps). Then, the Three Little Pigs help Little Red Riding Hood deal with The Big Bad Wolf, a Silly Symphonies from 1934; and finally, Donald Duck and Goofy take part in The Fox Hunt (1938), with a quick cameo from Mickey. All three were fun, but I especially liked the first one.

"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Sgt Saturn
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Laughing Gravy
Jul 4 2018, 05:52 PM
I didn't notice until the final credits that there isn't a woman to be found in the film.
If you had asked, I should have sworn that Jim's mother appeared in the early part of the film. Perhaps, I was remembering the Wallace Beery version.
The Ol' Sarge
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Laughing Gravy
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They allude to his mother, but do not show her.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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CliffClaven
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In the Beery version I believe we see both Jim's parents, but in other adaptations they usually dispense with his father (and occasionally his mother as well) to make Long John Silver not just a pal but a longed-for father figure. That makes his betrayal all the more painful for the boy.

In Disney's "Treasure Planet" -- which I still say is mostly great fun -- this is pushed into the foreground. Jim, now a reckless adolescent, still hurts from the memory of his father walking out on the family. Silver is a fantasy dad: helpful, encouraging, proud, and incredibly cool. Jim being almost an adult makes his later confrontations with Silver angrier and more complicated.

"Treasure Planet" is worth seeing after "Treasure Island", if only to note how much of the earlier film's plot is preserved in its fantasy / scifi world. I believe it would have done better if it hadn't followed "Atlantis", a lavish epic that managed to feel like one more anime.
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Laughing Gravy
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I saw both Atlantis and Treasure Planet when they came out and didn't care for either of them. The Black Cauldron was somewhat better.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Sgt Saturn
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CliffClaven
Jul 5 2018, 08:13 PM
In the Beery version I believe we see both Jim's parents, but in other adaptations they usually dispense with his father (and occasionally his mother as well) to make Long John Silver not just a pal but a longed-for father figure.
IMDB does not list any "Hawkins" beyond Jim and his mother for that movie. In the book, Jim's father is dead. He died shortly before the book opens. Make's it easy to see how Long John could become a father-substitute for the newly bereaved Jim.
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Frank Hale
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Those pesky women keep showing up everywhere, but it does appear they were totally absent from the Disney "Treasure Island", at least according to the AFI catalogue cast list.

I wouldnít have guessed it without a re-watch, and I find it somewhat surprising, actually, given my assumption that Walt would have gone for the widest audience. But maybe he thought it was just a young boy's thing. Anyway, a good film.

The MGM version had Dorothy Peterson as Mrs. Hawkins, a child actress (Cora Sue Collins), and various streetwalkers and ""women in inn".

Other no-dames movie candidates might be Twelve Angry Men, The Great Escape, The Lost Patrol, and no doubt a lot of war films.

Canít think of any pix without men, other than "The Women", but they must be out there, given our changing times.
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The Batman
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Frank Hale
Jul 6 2018, 02:48 PM
Those pesky women keep showing up everywhere, but it does appear they were totally absent from the Disney "Treasure Island", at least according to the AFI catalogue cast list.


The cast list on IMDb confirms the lack of a female presence, however, there is the possibility a background extra or two pops up. Don't know, myself, never seen the film.

Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman...then always be Batman!
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Frank Hale
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It's not half bad, actually.

And I don't know if you have "speak-like-a-pirate" day up there in Canada, but this is pretty much where "A-h-h-h-h-r-r-r" all started.

(I think we had a thread here once with some members claiming that Wallace Beery should get the credit, but I didnít buy into it.)
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The Batman
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I'd be willing to give it a shot, it's just not high on the priority list. And money and time also have their limits.

Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman...then always be Batman!
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Frank Hale
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That's not what you said when you took me to task for hesitating over a contribution to a kickstarter for some silent film Iíd never heard of.

Just kidding. I'm sure the kickstarter guy needed the money a lot more than the Disney corporation, and I am, after all, not a Disney stockholder.

Anyway, the film is somewhat iconic, and it's out there if you ever get the chance to see it.
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The Batman
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Point taken, and the jest, too.

But, you answered for me. Disney don't need my money, and the silent film guy did.

Plus, I can probably find TREASURE ISLAND on Netflix or some other streaming service. That's good enough for a film I don't feel the need to own.

And, hey, if it does blow me away, you did say it's out there.

Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman...then always be Batman!
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CliffClaven
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On reflection, there weren't a lot of employment opportunities for actresses in most serials. Those were mainly boys' adventures as well.

Aside from extras, walk-ons ("I'll tell the doctor you're here."), and the occasional villainess, you often found a single female character:
-- Somebody's daughter or niece ("Before he vanished, he said he hid the formula / map / deed to the ranch.")
-- The official helpmate ("I called the Committee of Eminent Citizens like you asked. Do you really think one of them is The Phantom Mask?")
-- The ruler ("Why should we trust a man from your country / planet?")
-- When the hero's a juvenile, the not-yet-a-girlfriend ("Come on, Billy! I'm not afraid, and you'll need somebody to drive the motorboat!")

Nyoka the Jungle Girl may have been the star, but she had no BFFs to dish the dirt with. The Flash Gordon serials were major exceptions. Dale was one of the few serial heroines who had to worry about rivals for the hero's attention.
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Frank Hale
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I'm trying to remember if Queens Azura and Tika thawed for Flash / Gene before their unfortunate respective demises, or remained bitter to the end.

In general, I remember their takes more as "Why should I trust ANY man???!!!"

Hmm. Probably still good advice these days if you work in Hollywood.

And remember, kids, a cowboy's best friend is still his horse.
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