Huckleberry Finn

1974

Adventure / Family / Musical

0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 24%
IMDb Rating 5.6 10 591

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
September 24, 2021 at 09:17 PM

Cast

Arthur O'Connell as Col. Grangerford
Jeff East as Huckleberry Finn
Harvey Korman as The King
720p.BLU
1.06 GB
1280*544
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 57 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ceebeegee 7 / 10

Unexpectedly delightful

A forgotten relic from the early '70s, when shows like "Little House on the Prairie" and "The Waltons" all reflected our yearning for a so-called simpler, less complicated era. This adaptation, while not entirely faithful to the book, captures its essential themes and spirit rather well. There are some technical problems (the lighting always seem to be half in shadow, whether it's night or day!) and its kiddie-friendly tone seems at odds during the Grangerfords/Shepherdsons sequence, wherein we see men being shot and killed right on camera--and it's handled rather lightly. Parents should also be warned that this adaptation does have some strong language--it has not been sanitized, notwithstanding its G rating.

In addition, the musical format sits much more uneasily with this movie than with the superior "Tom Sawyer" (from the year before, with many of the same cast members and production staff). However, as oddly as some numbers come off, others are wonderful, such as the clever, dixie-ish "Cairo, Illinois," a duet between Huck and Jim that kicks off their great journey together. The jaunty title song and the lovely anthem "Freedom" also showcase the movie and its themes beautifully--especially during "Freedom"'s reprise, as Huck, the boy/man run away, gazes after Jim making his way downriver. Performances are generally strong--Jeff East could've been a better singer but his performance is so sincere and authentic, you hardly notice. Likewise his bond with Jim (well-portrayed by the late Paul Winfield) comes through nicely, most especially in their final, very moving scene together. Harvey Korman and David Wayne also deliver terrific turns as the King and the Duke, respectively.

Cinematography is *gorgeous*--the DP took full advantage of the location shoot, with some beautiful silhouette shots. Although its prequel is far better (you simply cannot top "Tom Sawyer"'s terrific score and thoroughbred cast), Mark Twain's quintessential Great American novel is reasonably well-served here, if not transcendently.

Reviewed by moonspinner55 2 / 10

A good director's worst film...

Talented filmmaker J. Lee Thompson stages this musical version of Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" with artificial verve, and nothing in it looks quite right or plays at the appropriate tempo. Stolen from his guardians by his delinquent father, Huckleberry Finn stages his own death and hits the Mississippi River with friend Jim the Slave (why the two don't return to the sisters whom Jim works for is never made clear--both he and Huckleberry would certainly benefit from their generosity). Songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman, who also adapted the screenplay, seemed to lose their way musically once their mentor, Walt Disney, died; here, their songs are like leaden chapter stops in the narrative, not that the actors have much musical range. Teen star Jeff East doesn't even have music in his speaking voice, and he crawls through the picture lethargically, talking through his nose as if he had a cold. Paul Winfield fares better as Jim, though this pictorial, phony journey must have seemed quite a comedown after his "Sounder". Cinematographer László Kovács gets some beautiful shots of the raft on the water, but the limp direction and editing makes nearly all of Kovács' compositions look poorly framed. The color schemes are gloppy, with day scenes appearing as dusk and vice-versa. Director Thompson, who makes the white folks look like doddering scoundrels and the black folks look like grinning simpletons, can't work up a cohesive pace for the picture, and it jostles about from one poor vignette to the next. This was a follow-up by financiers Reader's Digest to 1973's "Tom Sawyer"; as with that film, a TV-version was right on their heels, in this case 1975's "Huckleberry Finn" starring Ron Howard and Donny Most. * from ****

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 6 / 10

A little disappointing but very watchable as well

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is not a literary classic, a little slow and episodic, and Tom Sawyer and Prince and the Pauper are superior when it comes to Mark Twain. It is still a good read though and if you like Mark Twain there is little reason why you shouldn't like Huckleberry Finn. This musical version is watchable enough on its own terms but could have been better, the musical version of Tom Sawyer from a similar time frame was a better film from personal perspective. The Sherman Brothers' songs apart from Freedom and Cairo Illinois are disappointingly forgettable and some of them are either not very well placed(Royalty, though the number has some amusing moments) or pretty lifeless, most of their songs generally are timeless but Huckleberry Finn is one of their weakest overall scores. The story does lack sparkle sometimes and pacing-wise there are some dull stretches. There is some evidence of Twain's writing coming through, but with the political correctness treatment of Jim things can feel diluted, and some of the dark tone and strong language can have a tendency to be at odds with the rest of the film. Huckleberry Finn has great costumes and sets and is very handsomely filmed, especially in the ending and with the raft. There is some very funny comedy and heartfelt drama too, and the ending is very moving. J Lee Thompson directs and stages things very competently and with precision if on occasions a little too carefully. The performances are good, though the singing is not the best there is. Jeff East's Huckleberry is both spirited and sincere and even with the political correctness diluting Jim's character Paul Winfield is still very touchingly dignified. The chemistry between the two looks and feel really genuine. Harvey Korman and David Wayne were clever casting, and both are a lot of fun and they seem to be having a ball. All in all, disappointing but still watchable. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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