Treasure Island (1950)

DailyView: Day 144, Movie 222

To wrap up the International Talk Like a Pirate Day DailyView, I decided to watch the Disney classic Treasure Island, an adaptation of one of the greatest of all pirate novels ever written. Treasure Island, written in 1883, by Robert Louis Stevenson, has been adapted plenty of times over the years, but this 1950 version is perhaps the best ever (outside of Muppet Treasure Island, of course).

Captain Billy Bones (Finlay Currie), drunk on rum and in fear for his life, brought Captain Flint’s treasure map to Jim Hawkins (Bobby Driscoll). a young boy who worked at his mother’s inn. Before his death, Billy Bones passed the map on to Jim, but not before warning Jim to beware of the one-legged man. Jim gave the map to Squire Trelawney (Walter Fitzgerald). Trelawney organized a secret trip to go find the treasure. He hired Captain Smollett (Basil Sydney) to take charge of the vessel, but his cautiousness of crew selection made Trelawney anxious. Trelawney hired the ship’s cook, Long John Silver (Robert Newton) and asked for his help to fill out the crew.

As the ship sailed toward the island, Silver showed himself to be the mutinous traitor, a part of Flint’s original crew, and in it for the treasure himself.

This is a great adaptation. There is a ton of drama and exciting moments and Robert Newton as Long John Silver was fantastic. He brought the energy to the entire movie and it was successful because of his performance. The performance of Bobby Driscoll was solid too, and his connection with Silver was true and worked well. You have to believe in the connection between them if the story is to work.

There is no better example of the pirate life in cinema than Treasure Island. Everything after this came because of the Stevenson novel, and the fact that there is at least this excellent adaptation, is a great thing.

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