The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960)

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Movie Info

This all-star filmization of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn surgically removes the sociological subtext of Mark Twain's novel. The emphasis is on the adventuresome escapades of Huck and fugitive slave Jim, and on the comic elements inherent in the characters of the King and the Duke.
Rating:
G
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Classics , Comedy , Drama , Kids & Family
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Warner Home Video

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Cast

Eddie Hodges
as Huckleberry Finn
Tony Randall
as The King of France
Patty McCormack
as Joanna Wilkes
Andy Devine
as Mr. Carmody
Sherry Jackson
as Mary Jane
Buster Keaton
as Lion tamer
Finlay Currie
as Capt. Sellers
Josephine Hutchinson
as Widow Douglas
Judy Canova
as Sheriff's wife
Parley Baer
as Grangerford Man
John Carradine
as Slave catcher
Royal Dano
as Sheriff
Dolores Hawkins
as River boat singer
Harry Dean Stanton
as Slave catcher
Minerva Urecal
as Miss Watson
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Critic Reviews for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

All Critics (3)

Colorful family adventure based on Twain's classic

October 24, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Audience Reviews for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

½

Not Exactly Twain's Mighty Mississippi There is an episode of [i]Friends[/i] wherein Rachel has been allowed to make Thanksgiving dessert. All by herself. There won't even be backup pie, which seems inexplicable. My family always had at least two types of pie for holiday desserts, and that assuming no one brought anything else. Anyway. Rachel has gotten a recipe for traditional English trifle out of a magazine and has concocted it. She's very proud of herself. Only as she starts detailing the cooking process, we find out there's something very, very wrong. The pages stuck together, you see, and what she has served for dinner is half trifle and half shepherd's pie. Each considered fine by themselves, but together, there's something not right. Joey liked it anyway, because he liked its ingredients and didn't see a problem with their unorthodox combination, but it still did, as Ross said, taste like feet. This is relevant because somebody got started reading [i]Huck Finn[/i] in order to write this screenplay and clearly got the pages stuck together, finishing the screenplay with a different story entirely. Huck (Eddie Hodges) starts out the story as the lovable rapscallion, America's riverfront waif. In order to convince his pappy (Neville Brand) that Pappy ought to leave the Widow Douglas (Josephine Hutchinson) alone, Huck fakes his own death. Jim (Archie Moore), the widow's slave, gets left as a primary suspect, and the two run away together. Huck wants to go to New Orleans and thence South America; Jim wants to go to Cairo and thence freedom. They encounter the edges of the Grangerford/Shepherdson feud, and that seems to be where the screenwriter realized that the book was longer and more complicated than he'd budgeted for. We meet the King of France (Tony Randall) and the Duke of Bilgewater (Mickey Shaughnessy), and we see them try to con Mary Jane (Sherry Jackson) and Joanna (Patty McCormack) Wilkes, and then we go into a tangent Twain never imagined. The first clue that this wasn't the world's most faithful adaptation comes on the Netflix envelope, in fact, where we are told that Buster Keaton will be in it as a lion-tamer. I read that a couple of times, then went to clarify with Gwen that, no, there isn't a lion-tamer in [i]Huck Finn[/i]. Instead of the lengthy sequence the book gives us of Tom and Huck on Tom's aunt and uncle's place, Huck comes up with the idea that he can hire Jim on as a circus performer claiming to be the Emperor of Patagonia, and the circus will go north, and Jim will be free, and it really doesn't make any sense. It's a real lion, though not much of one, but the "zebra" is a donkey painted with stripes. Basically, the whole thing is Andy Devine and Buster Keaton showing the same sort of half-hearted con-artistry the movie thinks is how show business works, I guess. At that, they put more effort into their crappy circus than the King and the Duke do into their impersonations. And that's another thing. The King and the Duke are lovable rogues in the book. Oh, sure, they're still bad people. However, in this version, the King decides the Duke is a duke, whereas in the book, he just mispronounces "Bridgewater," the Duke's real supposed duchy. Neither are fools; they're just not as smart as they think they are. Twain seems to have been quite fond of pricking the egos of that sort, and here, the Duke's an idiot and the King never really seems to get a comeuppance. If he does, I missed it. They're able to be caught up in so simple a thing as that England has abolished slavery, yet "Percy" speaks so warmly of his slave's loyalty. Oh, Huck wouldn't have known that sort of thing, but it's hard to believe the Duke and the King from the book would be caught by a little thing like that. It also delights me that the only reference to the feud, really, is enough for someone to tell Huck what a feud is and get him and Jim off the raft long enough for the King and Duke to climb on. I would imagine [i]Huck[/i] would present a challenge to anyone going to make a movie, not a miniseries, based on it. After all, when we think of Huckleberry the character, we almost always think of him as connected to Tom, and Tom simply isn't in the most emotionally and artistically satisfying part of the book. The part with Tom is dreadful, really; I never really have liked Tom Sawyer the character much. Twain himself once said that the classics were like wine, and his books were like water--but everyone drinks water. This is high on the list of reasons I think he might be dismayed by the fact that, yes, his books now are classics. The image of Huck and Jim on that river is an iconic one in the American imagination. The image of Tom getting those boys to whitewash that fence for him. The idea that Tom and Huck were close. However, I don't think most people can string those three concepts together into the narrative Twain wrote them into.

Edith Nelson
Edith Nelson

68/100. Although it takes quite a few liberties with the Mark Twain novel, the appearances of many well known guest stars and an exceptional quality in its production make it a very entertaining movie. It appears they were trying to make it more of a movie geared more towards family viewing. Fine cinematography and art direction. I was never bored, it wisely is not too long. Eddie Hodges is a little weak as Huckleberry Finn, and since it is such a pivotal role, that does hurt the effectiveness of the film somewhat. Tony Randall is very good, Buster Keaton has a nice bit as well, as does Andy Devine, Sterling Holloway and Neville Brand.

James Higgins
James Higgins

68/100. Although it takes quite a few liberties with the Mark Twain novel, the appearances of many well known guest stars and an exceptional quality in its production make it a very entertaining movie. It appears they were trying to make it more of a movie geared more towards family viewing. Fine cinematography and art direction. I was never bored, it wisely is not too long. Eddie Hodges is a little weak as Huckleberry Finn, and since it is such a pivotal role, that does hurt the effectiveness of the film somewhat. Tony Randall is very good, Buster Keaton has a nice bit as well, as does Andy Devine, Sterling Holloway and Neville Brand.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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