Captains Courageous (1937 film)

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Captains Courageous
Captains Courageous poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Victor Fleming
Written by Rudyard Kipling (novel)
Starring Freddie Bartholomew
Spencer Tracy
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography Harold Rosson
Edited by Elmo Veron
Production
company
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • May 11, 1937 (1937-05-11)
Running time
115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,645,000[1]
Box office $3,133,000[1]

Captains Courageous is a 1937 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer adventure film. Based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling, it had its world premiere at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles. The movie was produced by Louis D. Lighton and directed by Victor Fleming. Filmed in black-and-white, Captains Courageous was advertised by MGM as a coming-of-age classic with exciting action sequences.

Plot[edit]

Harvey Cheyne (Freddie Bartholomew) is the spoiled son of business tycoon Frank Burton Cheyne (Melvyn Douglas). He is shunned by his classmates at a private boarding school, and eventually suspended for bad behavior. His father therefore takes his son with him on a business trip to Europe via a trans-Atlantic steamship. En route, Harvey falls overboard in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. He is rescued by a Portuguese-American fisherman, Manuel Fidello (Spencer Tracy), and taken aboard the fishing schooner We're Here. Harvey fails to persuade captain Disko Troop (Lionel Barrymore) to take him ashore, nor can he convince him of his wealth; but the captain offers him a temporary membership in the crew until they return to port, and Harvey eventually accepts. Befriended by Captain Troop's son, Dan (Mickey Rooney), he becomes acclimated to the fishing lifestyle. In the climactic race back to the Gloucester, Massachusetts port against a rival schooner, the Jennie Cushman, Manuel climbs to the top of the mast to furl the sail, but is mortally injured when the mast cracks and he is plunged into the water, caught irreversibly in the tangled rope and the topsail canvas, and drowns. Eventually, the schooner returns to port and Harvey is reunited with his father, whom he surprises by his own greater maturity. Harvey himself mourns Manuel's death, until later.

Tracy and Bartholomew as Manuel and Harvey

Cast[edit]

Box Office[edit]

According to MGM records the film earned $1,688,000 in the US and Canada and $1,445,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $355,000.[1]

Awards[edit]

Spencer Tracy won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his work in this film. The movie was also nominated for three other Academy Awards:

A New York Times review said it "brings vividly to life every page of Kipling's novel". A VHS version of the 1937 film was released by MGM Home Video in 1990 followed by Warner Home Video's DVD of the film on January 31, 2006.

In popular culture[edit]

Holden Caulfield, protagonist of the 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, is thought to look like Harvey Cheyne, as in the book a prostitute tells Caulfield that he looks like the boy who falls off a boat in a film starring Spencer Tracy, though the film is not mentioned by name.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .

External links[edit]