Treasure Island (1950 film)

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Treasure Island
Treasure Island VideoCover.png
VHS Cover
Directed by Byron Haskin
Produced by Walt Disney
Perce Pearce
Written by Lawrence Edward Watkin
Starring Bobby Driscoll
Robert Newton
Basil Sydney
Finlay Currie
Music by Clifton Parker
Cinematography Freddie Young
Editing by Alan Jaggs
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • July 19, 1950 (1950-07-19)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Treasure Island is a 1950 adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions, adapted from the Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. It stars Bobby Driscoll as Jim Hawkins, and Robert Newton as Long John Silver. It is Disney's first completely live-action film and the first screen version of Treasure Island made in color.

Plot[edit]

Cornwall, England, 1750 - Young Jim Hawkins dreams of life at sea, but he's stuck with his mother in a tiny country inn. That changes when they take in Captain William Bones, a sickly sailor who can't pay his bills. When his old pirate shipmates turn up, Bones gives Jim a folded page for safe-keeping. It turns out to be the map to Captain Flint's lost treasure! Squire Trelawney bankrolls a voyage, with Livesey along as the ship's doctor and Jim as the cabin boy.

Trelawney frets because Captain Smollett's taking his time to find a crew for their ship, the Hispaniola. Jim meets Long John Silver, the sea-cook Trelawney's just hired. Silver offers to help them find a crew. "They ain't pretty, but they knows the sea." Trelawney's delighted, but Smollett's worried. Everyone knows about their secret voyage. Trelawney finds Smollett's caution "downright un-English."

Mr. Arrow catches one of Silver's men, George Merry, with a pistol. Merry vows revenge, but Silver stops him. "Mr. Arrow be a friend of Long John Silver, and I plans to take care of him." That night, Silver makes a dessert for Arrow - plum duff, made with the ship's rum - and leaves the bottle handy. Everyone knows that Arrow's an alcoholic. The next day, there's a service for the missing Mr. Arrow, lost overboard during the night.

Weeks later, Jim's crouched in a barrel, getting an apple. He overhears the crew's plans to mutiny. They're Captain Flint's men, out after his treasure, and Long John Silver's leading them! Silver barely persuades them not to strike before the treasure's on board. Then he wants an apple. He raises his knife to stab into Jim's hiding place. Jim is saved from discovery - and certain death - by the look-out's cry, "Land Ho!"

Smollett asks Jim to "stay friends with Silver," to learn more, but Silver notices that Jim's changed. "Cat got your tongue?" Silver offers to tow the ship to a safer anchorage, using the ship's boats. Smollett allows Jim to go along. Merry leads a mutiny on the ship, but Smollett's ready for him, and the mutineers wind up locked below decks. Silver heads for shore with the others, taking Jim as a hostage. Smollett goes ashore after them, leaving two guards on the ship. On the island, Jim escapes and meets weird old Ben Gunn, marooned by Flint five years ago. Gunn shows Jim the boat he's built, then leads him to Flint's stockade, where he meets up with Smollett and the others. In the meanwhile, Merry's managed to take the ship, but he's let his men get drunk on the ship's rum. Short of men, Silver bluffs. He'll let Smollett go, in exchange for the map. Smollett doesn't bite, and Silver snaps. "Them that die'll be the lucky ones!" The attack on the stockade fails, but Silver wounds Smollett. The risk now is that Silver will move the ship into cannon range. They can't stop him, because he has all the boats.

Jim takes Gunn's boat and cuts the Hispaniola's anchor rope. The pirate Israel Hands discovers Jim, and chases him up into the ship's rigging. Jim aims the pistol as Hands throws his knife, pinning Jim's arm to the mast. Jim flinches, pulling the trigger, and Hands falls back, dead. Jim strikes the Jolly Roger and hoists the Union Jack. Slowed by his wound, it takes him all night to get back to the stockade, which is strangely unguarded. Inside, Jim asks the doctor to tend his wound, but the man asleep under Livesey's coat is Long John Silver! Jim faints on the spot. Silver finds the map on him as his men wake up. Merry wants Jim dead, but Silver wants to trade Jim for the map, which he's pocketed. The men go outside to vote, pirate-style. From the stockade's lookout, Silver sees that the ship's aground, flying the Union Jack. The men give Silver the black spot, but he objects, "What fool's cut a Bible?" Rattled, they let him bargain for the map. Silver returns with Jim, flaunting the map. The pirates are overjoyed until they find out that the treasure - 700,000 pounds sterling - isn't there. In a final battle, Smollett's men save the day. Greeting Silver, Gunn reveals that he's the one who dug up Flint's treasure.

Captain Smollett still wants Silver taken back for trial in England. Jim, Trelawney and two others are taking him aboard when Silver snatches Jim's pistol and forces Trelawney and the others out of the ship's boat. He wants Jim to steer while he rows, but Jim beaches them instead. Silver orders Jim to push him off. Jim refuses and Silver threatens to shoot him. Finally, he drops the pistol into the drink and tries to push the boat off, but he can't. Seeing this, Jim helps him, waving a hesitant farewell as Silver rows away. "I almost hope he makes it," Livesey admits, watching Silver set sail.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The film was the sixth most popular movie at the British box office in 1950.[1]

In 1954, Newton reprised his role of Long John Silver in a non-Disney sequel, Long John Silver (this, incidentally, was the first CinemaScope film to be shot in Australia) and went on to play Silver again in a TV series, The Adventures of Long John Silver (made 1954–55), also shot at Pagewood Studios Sydney, made before Australia had television.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BOB HOPE BEST DRAW IN BRITISH THEATRES.". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) (Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia). 29 December 1950. p. 4. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 

External links[edit]