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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn



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#1 of 8 Herb Kane

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Posted August 20 2003 - 01:47 PM

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The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn



Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 1960
Rated: G
Film Length: 107 Mins.
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Enhanced Widescreen
Audio: DD Mono
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai & Korean.




The Feature:
There are very few author’s as famous as Mark Twain. Born Samuel L. Clemens, the legend has more than 70 films that have been based on his work. Very few (if any) other authors would be able to boast similar claims.

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn (from the novel written by Mark Twain), is the story of a young boy, Huckleberry Finn (played by Eddie Hodges) who wants to escape the world as he knows it. He sets out on a raft with a slave, Jim (Archie Moore – former boxing light heavyweight champ) fleeing from his current owner knowing he is soon to be sold.

The story is a simple chronicle of the friendship and bond that is formed during their journey along the Mississippi River. This friendship between a young red headed boy and an older black man seems an unlikely one to develop at first. However, during their travels, the bond that forms makes these two inseparable. Along the way they are confronted by scoundrels, The King (Tony Randall), The Duke (Mickey Shaunghnessy), and all the while managing to stay one step ahead of slave hunters. Another interesting cameo is a solemn looking Buster Keaton as the circus lion tamer.

It was my first experience with Huck Finn since high school (merely a few years back…..) and it reaffirmed this is a timeless classic that everyone should read. This screen adaptation is brilliant with a touch of humor added to the version not to mention the excellent casting. Directed by the legendary Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Mildred Pierce among many others), I found this version to be a highly entertaining family film that everyone should enjoy.



Video:
Filmed in Cinema Scope and Metrocolor, this transfer is amazing. I watched Kim (a Technicolor film) last night and reported in my review that I thought the colors were absolutely gorgeous although the reds may have been a tad on the vivid side. The colors on this disc are every bit as impressive, and then some. Skin tone looked extremely accurate. I must confess, as a huge fan of Technicolor films, I almost prefer the color a tad on the vivid side. Not overly, just slightly. That is not the case with Huck Finn. They are exceptional.

Black levels were satisfactory. The level of image detail was amazing. There were several close ups and the amount of facial detail was most impressive. Grain level was very minimal and I could detect no film dirt or scratches.

A very impressive offering.



Audio:
While the audio presentation (DD Mono) wasn’t overly aggressive, I have very few complaints. Much of the movie is accompanied by a very soothing “deep south” stringed score. It came across very nice and sounded quite full. Many of the old mono soundtracks are accompanied by a non requested hiss… This is crystal clear – no hiss or noise whatsoever. It seems as though much of what I have reviewed in the past couple of weeks are mono soundtracks, and most of which have been hiss free.

My only negative comment would be at the 26 minute mark when the volume seemed slightly muted for a few seconds and then stabilized. Hardly noticeable.



Special Features:
Unfortunately not much to report on the special features front. First up:

Mark Twain – On The Screen – This is a 7 page text listing of many of the various versions of Twain’s novels adapted to film. Listed is the appearance that Twain, himself made on the 1909 silent version of The Prince And The Pauper. Also discussed is the 1938 David O. Selznick version of Tom Sawyer, the 1939 version of Huck Finn starring Mickey Rooney up to and including the recent 1993 version of Huck Finn starring Elijah Wood.

Theatrical Trailers – Included are four trailers for various Twain works. They are:

The Prince And The Pauper – 1937 version starring Errol Flynn.

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn – 1939 version starring Mickey Rooney.

The Adventures Of Mark Twain – Fredric March version.

And finally, the feature version…

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn – 1960 version.

All of the trailers are in excellent condition.



Final Thoughts:
I found this version of Huck Finn to be most enjoyable. The chemistry between Hodges and Moore is quite likeable and believable. To be honest, after seeing the 1939 Rooney version trailer, I’d be interested in seeing it to make a comparison. In fact, I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has seen them both to offer up a comparison of the two.

Unfortunately, with the exception of the four trailers included, the special features are rather scarce. With the name “Twain” attached, this is a title that could have been littered with extras, with little or no effort.

Although the audio is average, the video presentation was extremely impressive.

Anyone looking for an awe inspiring story of friendship and unbreakable bond might want to experience this version of Huck Finn.




Release Date: August 26th, 2003
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#2 of 8 Andy_G

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Posted August 20 2003 - 03:05 PM

The fact that this film was in color and shot in 1960 coupled with Herb's description of the (very good) image suggests that this transfer has benefited from the work of Lowry Digital Images. Does anyone have any information that would shed any light on this?

This sounds like the "North by Northwest" look.

#3 of 8 streeter

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Posted August 20 2003 - 03:54 PM

This is the Huck Finn film adaptation that I grew up with on tape, and I recently re-watched it. Good to know that it's now on DVD. I'd also like to see the beautiful 1938 color Tom Sawyer on DVD.
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#4 of 8 Jeff Kleist

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Posted August 21 2003 - 02:42 AM

Quote:
back…..) and it reaffirmed this is a timeless classic that everyone should read. This screen adaptation is brilliant with a touch of humor added


I haven't seen this version, so cannot comment on its accuracy, but...umm..the whole book was supposed to be funny(and it is)........

#5 of 8 Herb Kane

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Posted August 21 2003 - 03:00 AM

Quote:
whole book was supposed to be funny(and it is)........


And to think, all these years I thought Twain wrote serious literature....
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#6 of 8 Jeff Kleist

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Posted August 21 2003 - 03:08 AM

Quote:
This screen adaptation is brilliant with a touch of humor added to the version


When I read a line like that, this says to me "now with funny parts". I apologize if that was not your intention

#7 of 8 Matthew_Millheiser

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Posted August 21 2003 - 03:48 PM

Huck Finn is loaded with humor, but it's very different from the laughs found in, say, Tom Sawyer. Very dark, dry, caustic stuff.

If you want to read some REALLY FUNNY Mark Twain, check out "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses", reprinted online here. Brilliant, brilliant stuff. And as someone who has loathed Cooper for decades (The Last of the Mohicans was a great movie, but horrifically boring novel), I find Twain's essay to be Holy Writ.

Lastly, a fine review, Herb. I've always enjoyed this film, and your review has pushed it onto my purchase queue. Please contact Warners for your commission. Posted Image

Whenever the laws of any state are broken, a duly authorized organization swings into action. It may be the called the State Police, State Troopers, Militia, the Rangers, or the Highway Patrol THE CITIZENS AUXILIARY POLICE!!! These are the stories of the men whose training, skill, and courage,...

#8 of 8 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted August 21 2003 - 04:38 PM

Quote:
I find Twain's essay to be Holy Writ.


Wait until you read The Letters From The Earth. It's Twain's take on "Holy Writ".
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