The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Synopsis of Movie

The second screen version of Mark Twain’s classic The Adventures of Tom Sawyer starred newcomer Tommy Kelly as the mischievous little scamp with a heart of gold. The film followed Twain’s story closely, playing up some of the comedy and danger elements.

Tom Sawyer lives with his Aunt Polly in 1850’s Missouri, getting into trouble and avoiding work whenever possible. The movie (like the novel) follows Tom from one escapade to another—some amusing, others thrilling. The famous fence whitewashing scene is included, as are Tom’s flirtations with schoolmate Becky Thatcher. Tom and pal Huckleberry Finn skip town for an adventure on an island in the middle of the Mississippi, returning to find that the town believes they’re dead. The two boys can’t resist showing up at their own funeral, and the hilarious consequences are worth any trouble Tom gets into with Aunt Polly.

Danger comes when Tom witnesses scary Injun Joe murdering another man. When town drunk Muff Potter gets put on trial for the murder, Tom comes clean, leading to a heart-stopping climax in which Injun Joe chases Tom and Becky through a series of underground tunnels and caves.

David O. Selznick produced this film a year before Gone With the Wind, and he hired the same art director for both films, William Cameron Menzies. The result was a breathtaking view of mid-19th-century Missouri that pleased the eye, quickened the pulse and warmed the heart.

Movie Release History

1938 - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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Selznick Intl. Pics.


Tom Sawyer Tommy Kelly
Huckleberry Finn Jackie Moran
Aunt Polly May Robson
Muff Potter Walter Brennan
Injun Joe Victor Jory
Sid Sawyer David Holt
Sheriff Victor Kilian
Mrs. Thatcher Nana Bryant
Mr. Dobbins, Schoolmaster Olin Howlin
Sunday School Superintendent Donald Meek
Judge Thatcher Charles Richman
Mrs. Harper Margaret Hamilton
Mary Sawyer Marcia Mae Jones
Joe Harper Mickey Rentschler
Amy Lawrence Cora Sue Collins
Little Jim Philip Hurlic
Becky Thatcher Ann Gillis

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