Victor Flemings "Captains Courageous" (1937)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tino, Jul 11, 2002.

  1. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    "My little fish..."
    Certain films stand the test of time no matter what and Victor Fleming's Captains Courageous is one such film. By chance I caught it this morning on TCM (My favorite new channel).
    Based on Rudyard Kiplings story of a spoiled rich boy Harvey (Freddy Bartholemew) who falls overboard and is rescued by Portugese fisherman Manuel (Spencer Tracy..who won a much deserved Best Actor Oscar) and learns some important life lessons aboard Captain Lionel Barrymore's fishing vessel 'We're Here'.
    A wonderfully moving film that still holds up today. Spencer Tracy's performance as Manuel is a wonder to behold. Richly detailed full of humor and incredibly moving, it is amazing.
    Freddy Bartholemew as Harvey also gives a great performance, and his transformation from spoiled rich boy to an able young fisherman is completely believable.
    The excellent supporting cast includes Mickey Rooney, John Carradine and Melvyn Douglas.
    Victor Fleming's (Gone With The Wind, The Wizard Of Oz) direction never falters. From beginning to end, Captains Courageous commands attention.
    Unfortunately, this film is not yet available on DVD but is available on VHS from Warner Bros. I believe.
    A timeless classic. Seek it out if you haven't seen it. Highly recommended! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. Mark Philp

    Mark Philp Second Unit

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    Tino, you're so right about "Captains Courageous" it's a true classic from an era we'll never see again. It's sad however that many kids (and adults, for that matter) will never see it because it's in black & white. How much they miss because they won't watch a movie if it's not in color.
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    What a great film that still leaves me teary eye after each viewing. Highly recommended the film has some great dialogue with humor and sadness.





    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    Mark
    The sad thing is that there is a computerized color version of this classic film also. I have never understood the reluctance of some people to avoid watching a film simply because it is in black and white.[​IMG]
    The term "glorious black and white" certainly applies to this film.
     
  5. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    This movie made such an impact on me as a young boy. I loved it. I still feel it holds up (for me anyways), because I still get that boyish wonder every time I see it. Very few films still can do that. This is one of them, Kipling's stories still have that magic with a close second being Twain.
     
  6. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Thanks for the heads up. This goes on my "to watch" list.

    ~Edwin
     
  7. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Am I the only one who has a problem with Spencer Tracy's performance? The one thing that bothered me about Captain's Courageous (as well as Fleming's Tortilla Flat) is that I just can't see Tracy as a Hispanic. IMO, it just didn't work - it seems as if he was aping the accents more than trying to get them right. I remember watching Tortilla Flat for the first time only to be annoyed by his performance (at least John Garfield looked the part). I know this kind of casting was common back then, but why pick someone who is not even close to resembling the ethnic type that is to be portrayed? Keep in mind that I like Tracy; it's just that I think in these two films he was miscast. Of course, being part Hispanic, I may be more sensitive to the issue. I wasn't offended by his performances in Captain's Courageous and Tortilla Flat, just annoyed. Was no one else bothered?
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Nope, I thought his performance was one of his best which is probably why he won an AA for it.




    Crawdaddy
     
  9. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    As I noted above, I thought his performance as Manuel was extraordinary and completely believable. I never once doubted that he was indeed a Portugese fisherman.
    You may actually be the only one Steve.[​IMG]
    BTW, does anyone know if TCM plans on showing Captains Courageous again soon?
     
  10. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    I thought I might be the only one. Oh well...
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Portugese people are not "Hispanic". [​IMG]
     
  12. Evan Case

    Evan Case Screenwriter

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    One of the things I've always loved about this film (besides obvious things like "plot" or "performances" or "direction") was that despite the use of a soundstage, the film always feels like it's taking place on an actual fishing boat in the Atlantic. It's a hard sensation to explain but one of the things I cherish most about it.

    Oh, and I too love Tracy's work in the movie. Also, FWIW, Robert Osborne mentioned during one of the TCM broadcasts that Tracy actually spent a few months perfecting his Portuguese (not Hispanic) accent as he was concerned with being as authentic as possible.

    Evan
     
  13. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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