Help identifying Disney live-action film...

Discussion in 'Movies' started by MarcoBiscotti, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    I'm not 100% sure whether this was a theatrical or made-for-tv production, though I assume it was a theatrical film from what I recall of the production values.

    I remember seeing this on television on the Disney Channel broadcast in the early 80's. It looked to have been from the mid-50's I'd guess though it's been more than a decade since I've seen it. If memory serves, it had vivid Technicolor shot stock.

    All that I really remember from this film, was that it was a period piece and I only recall one brief segment from a video recording that I used to have - It was actually a recording of 'Donald Duck Presents' but the tape cut off halfway through a commercial and picked up on this feature for 10 min. before cutting off again...

    Anyways, from what i remember, the setting was an old Colonial town or village by the sea and there were people dressed as pirates and soldiers I believe. There was a loty of action, cannonballs flying, rifles blasting back and forth from aboard ships in this harbor and behind stone walls in the town. Lots of explosion and cannon fire, short building walls collapsing, etc. It might have been a swashbuckler flick.

    I remember an Errol Flynn like personality with a moustache and dressed in sort of pirate costume, getting tossed in a prison cell with another man. The set almost looks like a cave dungeon from the Pirates Of The Caribean ride in Disneyland. Both men are behind bars (I think!) and draw swords and go at it.

    I also remember a sequence where this same character is walking in town or maybe on a horse and a woman in a horse and carriage rolls by (maybe they were on it together?) and they exchange glances in a sappy romantic 50's Disney tv production style.

    There's also a scene in which two armies or groups of men are fighting in this Colonial village, they have pirate guns and those musket style rifles where you need to drop the round bullets in and shove a pole down the barrel like youre cleaning a chimney to reload. Two of the people, possibly the same two that were in the prison get into a fistfight and role around all over the place.

    That's all I remember really. I doubt anyone will be able to help me, but I'd really like to figure out what movie or television serial this was?

    Can anyone help?
     
  2. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    For some reason, the Swamp Fox comes to mind. It's probably not the right thing, but I remember him being in a jail like that in one episode. It was Leslie Nielsen and it was set during the American Revolution.

    Too bad Ernest isn't still around. He knows more about Disney than the rest of us, I think.
     
  3. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Thanks Greg, what happened to Ernest?

    I noticed he hadn't posted in a while...
     
  4. Eric Vedowski

    Eric Vedowski Second Unit

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    Could be "Johnny Tremain" (1957) set during the American Revolution. He goes to jail at one point and later there is a battle in the town between American and English soldiers. Also scenes on boats-i.e. Boston tea party. Originally made as a two episode story for the Disney show but was good enough that they released it as a feature.
     
  5. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    There were no made-for-TV movies in the 1950s (the form wouldn't be introduced until the 70s), so that leaves theatrical films and TV shows shot on film. The studios at the time rarely bothered to shoot TV material on color film (since TV broadcasts were strictly black and white0, but Disney was one of the exceptions. So a TV series is a possibility.

    Disney did a number of projects featuring muzzle-loading black-powder and red-coated British soldiersl, not all of them specifically "Colonial" or even American. (The Brown Bess musket and red uniform were both in use, with few changes, for the better part of a hundred years. [​IMG])

    Unfortunately I don't recall many details of most of the films of the period. The Swamp Fox TV series (shot in Technicolor) seems a possibility, although I don't know if it would have featured ships very much. The 1957 feature Johnny Tremaine, set largely in and around Boston, certainly featured ships, but not pirates that I recall. The Swiss Family Robinson is in the right period and all the actors were American, even if the characters weren't. It had pirates, too, but no attack on a defended town. I have a feeling you may be remembering Disney's version of Kidnapped!, the Robert Louis Stevenson novel. (Written and directred, oddly enough, by Robert Stevenson. [​IMG]) If I recall it has pirates, shipwrecks, redcoats and probably the bombardment of at least one town by a ship's guns. But it is set in Scotland.

    But probably the best candidate is Disney's first-ever live action film, 1950's Treasure Island, also based on a Stevenson novel. The tale of Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver has most of the elments you mention, if memory serves.

    Hope this helps. Seems like all of these films would be fun to see again.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  6. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Thanks a lot Joe, I was thinking it could've been Treasure Island as well!

    It would've had to have been a production worthy of broadcast on the Disney Channel in the mid 80's so I assume, though without much basis as to what sort of live-action productions were airing at the time, that it wouldn't have been too obscure.

    I've been trying with great effort to locate a decent copy of the Vault Disney boxset from a few years back in retail, (I've come accross one or two discarded sets on shelf in pretty decrepit and sorry looking condition), so if and when I do pick up a copy, that'll narrow the list of possibilities.

    I've been meaning to pick up 'Treasure Island' as well and am hoping and expecting this to be the main candidate. From what I recall, the production values and acting that went into this film far surpassed anything that would've been produced on a TV budget... but than again this was Disney and 1950's television productions are a far cry from what's seen today.

    I've also after a little hesitation, talked myself into picking up ALL four WD Treasure releases this coming December, including the Swamp Fox and Johnny Tremaine set which should help to solve this once and for all! My only concern with these two series, is the fact that we will only reallt be getting a teaser with the upcoming releases.

    Thanks again for the help!!

    Glad to know that of the possible list of film candidates, all will soon be available to own on DVD!
     
  7. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I didn't know that. Thanks for the news. Will it be the entire run of each show? Also, I remember Davy Crockett coming out a while back. Being as it's Disney, does that mean it's no longer available?

    Ernest said something about getting a new job in the industry and not wanting his opinions to be on display in a forum. Something like that.
     
  8. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Well, the upcoming Disney Treasure "Legendary Heroes" will collect a couple of episodes from both 'The Swamp Fox' and 'Johnny Tremaine'. I'm not sure the exact context and how many shows/episodes will be featured nor the running time or format of each but I'm willing to bet that at least 2-3 episodes will be featured accross both discs.

    The 1950 'Treasure Island' film has been available since 2004 in beautifully remastered format on DVD and 'The Swiss Family Robinson' is part of Disney's since terminated Vault Disney Collection series in an incredible 2-disc set with tons of extra features, making-of's, documentaries, intorductions and interviews, short subjects, etc.

    As for 'Davy Crockett', there are currently two seperate releases. The significantly better "Walt Disney Treasure: The Complete Televised Series" collection which presents all 5 individual episodes (in original 1:33:1 aspect ratio) seperately accross both discs in production order, along with some insightful extra features and interviews. The episodes are complete and uncut with Disneyland opening segments, original titles and credits and switch between color and b&w in a few shots where existing materials could be located. There is also the "50th Anniversary Double-Feature" which is simply an edited theatrical version of the original 3-part mini series cut down to a much shorter 88min. running time and featuring some short animated intersectionals of a map with correlating theme music to bridge the story segments.

    All are available with the exception of the Davy Crockett Treasure set which has been out of print for some time but can still be found with relative ease I'd assume through the internet. As for the Legendary Heroes set, it will be available to purchase in December with the next wave of WD Treasure releases.
     

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