“We’ll always be mates, won’t we?”
When an alcoholic sea captain (Lionel Barrymore) visits and then dies at an inn run by a widow (Dorothy Peterson) and her son (Jackie Cooper), he leaves behind a coveted treasure map. Cooper sets sail on an adventure with Captain Smollet (Lewis Stone), Dr. Livesey (Otto Kruger), and Squire Trelawney (Nigel Bruce), also befriending a one-legged pirate known as Long John Silver (Wallace Beery).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- At Sea
- Gold Seekers
- Hidden Treasure
- Lionel Barrymore Films
- Victor Fleming Films
- Wallace Beery Films
This first sound adaptation of Robert Louis Stephenson’s classic adventure tale re-paired MGM stars Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper — who first appeared together in The Champ (1931), then The Bowery (1933) — in a hokey retread of their “paternal bonding” from these earlier films. The cinematography and sets are appropriately atmospheric, but Beery’s over-acting and Cooper’s limited range severely hamper our ability to believe in this tale as anything other than a young boy’s fantasy writ large. (Why in the world was it considered appealing to have loutish, lying Beery take advantage of gullible Cooper time and again?) Film fanatics should check out Disney’s live action version instead.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Atmospheric cinematography
No, though fans of the book may be curious to check it out.