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HISTORY

Although the onscreen credits state only that the picture was "based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson," it was loosely based on Stevenson's novel Treasure Island . A 10 Sep 1973 New York article commented that the reason Paramount, the picture’s distribution company, had insisted on the vague credit was because studio executives feared moviegoers would not want to see “that old story.” Although studio publicity and reviews listed the film’s time period as 1840, within the picture gravestones for “Lucy-Ann” and “Jamie’s” parents are shown, recording their death date as 1842. The onscreen credits contain a 1973 copyright statement for The Bryna Company, but the picture was not copyrighted until 2 Mar 1988 under the number PA-383-813.
       Contemporary news items reveal that Kirk Douglas first became interested in the project in 1966. A 29 Jun 1966 Var article also reported that Douglas’ co-producer would be Malcolm Stuart, and that the picture would be made through their personal companies, Joel Productions and Coldwater Productions, respectively. On 4 Nov 1966, HR noted that Irv Kirschner was to direct the Stuart-Douglas production of The Scalawag , which was to star Douglas as “a white Southerner who acts as a Republican during the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War.” A 15 Dec 1966 DV news item reported that the title had been changed to Bar Silver . It is possible that the project envisioned at that time was completely different from the released film, and the extent of Stuart’s contribution to the completed film, if any, has not been determined. A Jan ... More Less

Although the onscreen credits state only that the picture was "based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson," it was loosely based on Stevenson's novel Treasure Island . A 10 Sep 1973 New York article commented that the reason Paramount, the picture’s distribution company, had insisted on the vague credit was because studio executives feared moviegoers would not want to see “that old story.” Although studio publicity and reviews listed the film’s time period as 1840, within the picture gravestones for “Lucy-Ann” and “Jamie’s” parents are shown, recording their death date as 1842. The onscreen credits contain a 1973 copyright statement for The Bryna Company, but the picture was not copyrighted until 2 Mar 1988 under the number PA-383-813.
       Contemporary news items reveal that Kirk Douglas first became interested in the project in 1966. A 29 Jun 1966 Var article also reported that Douglas’ co-producer would be Malcolm Stuart, and that the picture would be made through their personal companies, Joel Productions and Coldwater Productions, respectively. On 4 Nov 1966, HR noted that Irv Kirschner was to direct the Stuart-Douglas production of The Scalawag , which was to star Douglas as “a white Southerner who acts as a Republican during the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War.” A 15 Dec 1966 DV news item reported that the title had been changed to Bar Silver . It is possible that the project envisioned at that time was completely different from the released film, and the extent of Stuart’s contribution to the completed film, if any, has not been determined. A Jan 1967 HR item stated that Stefan Arngrim would co-star with Douglas in Scalawag , which was referred to as an “up-dated version of Treasure Island .”
       A 29 Jun 1966 Var article announced that Scalawag would mark Albert Maltz's first onscreen credit under his own name since the 1948 movie Naked City (see above). However, because Scalawag did not go into production until 1972, Maltz first was able to complete the screenplay for the 1970 Western Two Mules for Sister Sara (see below). Maltz, who was one of the "Hollywood Ten," had been blacklisted for more than twenty years. For more information about Maltz, see the entries above for Broken Arrow and Crossfire . In Douglas’ autobiography, he asserted that he was disappointed with Maltz’s work on the script for Scalawag and thus brought in writer Sid Fleischman, with whom Douglas rewrote the screenplay. Because Maltz was unhappy with the result, he demanded that his name be removed. By the time the picture was ready for release, however, he asked that his credit be reinstated, and after Douglas took the matter to the WGA for arbitration, Maltz was awarded screen credit.
       Contemporary sources report that the picture’s funding was organized by Douglas’ production company, Bryna, with some monies obtained from the Italian company Oceania, and the majority coming from the Yugoslavian company Inex Film. In a Dec 1972 Var article, it was disclosed that the “percentages and quotas in the co-prod agreement” were being disputed by the Yugoslavian and Italian partners. A 31 Jul 1972 Box item announced that the film’s budget was $1,500,000, and the Var review noted that Paramount had acquired distribution rights to the picture after it had been completed, without putting up any initial funding. In his autobiography, Douglas stated that financial manager Dan Lufkin supplied $500,000 of the budget. The MPHPD review incorrectly lists Avco-Embassy as the distribution company.
       The picture was shot entirely on location in Yugoslavia, including the city of Starigrad, the Paklenica National Park and the nearby Zrmanja River. As noted by reviews, popular voice artist Mel Blanc supplied the voice of the parrot “Barfly,” although Blanc is never seen on screen. In his autobiography, Douglas noted that makeup artist Robert J. Schiffer made the cast that covered his bent leg, making it appear as if he was indeed walking on a peg leg, and adds the following crew members: Zvonko Bunjak ( Double for Kirk Douglas ), Fabrizio Castellani ( Asst dir ) and Cyril Collick ( Sd ).
       Scalawag marked the first of only two feature films directed by Douglas. The other, Posse , was released in 1975. As noted by contemporary sources, producer Anne Douglas was Kirk’s wife, and Scalawag marked her only outing as a motion picture producer. According to a 27 Dec 1972 Var article, Anne took over producing duties on the film when Kirk became overwhelmed with directing, co-writing and starring in it. Their teenage sons, Peter and Eric, served as production assistant and still photographer, respectively, and the family pet, a Labrador retriever named Shaft, played “Beau.”
       The picture’s Los Angeles premiere was a benefit for Big Brothers of America, as were other openings in selected “key cities,” according to news items and the LAT review. An 11 Oct 1973 DV item reported that in addition to opening in Chicago on 16 Oct, Scalawag would open in other cities, including Louisville, KY, and Waterloo, IA, and that on 18 Oct 1973, the film would open in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, in addition to New Orleans.
       Scalawag received mediocre reviews, with many critics complaining that, even though it was being billed as family entertainment, the picture contained a high level of violence. The HR reviewer commented: “The movie attempts to make violence comic but the endless series of slapstick deaths doesn’t dilute the moral recklessness.” Critics also complained that the picture’s G rating was too lenient, and as recounted by a 22 Mar 1973 DV news item, Scalawag was originally rated PG, but was re-rated after Douglas complained to the ratings board. The film’s pressbook relayed that Frankie Valli released a single of the song “Silver Fishes” under the title “Scalawag Song (And I Will Love You).”
       In 1975, the picture was re-released theatrically as Jamie’s Treasure Hunt , as part of Paramount’s family matinee series. For information on other films based on Stevenson’s novel, see the entry below for the 1950 Disney version of Treasure Island . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
31 Jul 1972.
---
Box Office
5 Nov 1973
p. 4638.
Daily Variety
15 Dec 1966.
---
Daily Variety
22 Mar 1973.
---
Daily Variety
11 Oct 1973.
---
Daily Variety
19 Oct 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 1966.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Nov 1966.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 1966.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 1967.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jul 1972
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 1972
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 1973.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
24 Oct 1973.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 Jul 1972.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1973.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
31 Oct 1973.
---
New York
10 Sep 1973.
---
New York Times
15 Nov 1973
p. 58.
Variety
29 Jun 1966.
---
Variety
29 Mar 1972.
---
Variety
27 Dec 1972
p. 2, 49.
Variety
24 Oct 1973
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Screen story and scr
Screen story and scr
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
Mus scoring facility
SOUND
Sd eff editing
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod's asst
Prod mgr
Attorney
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (London, 1883).
SONGS
"When Your Number's Up You Go," words and music by Lionel Bart and John Cameron
"Silver Fishes," words and music by John Cameron.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Jamie's Treasure Hunt
Bar Silver
Release Date:
October 1973
Premiere Information:
Chicago opening: 16 October 1973
New Orleans opening: 18 October 1973
Los Angeles opening: 24 October 1973
Production Date:
mid June--late September 1972 in Yugoslavia
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
G
Countries:
Yugoslavia, Italy, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
23610
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the 1840s, pirate captain John Pettibone Stewart, known as Peg because of his wooden leg, waits with his beached crew in Baja, Mexico for a vessel to hijack. After sighting The Painted Lady , they capture the ship, which carries gold coins and bolts of silks. That night, as the men drunkenly celebrate on the beach, the ship, which is also loaded with dynamite, accidentally blows up and the pirates retreat before the Mexican dragoons arrive. The next morning, as they are being pursued by the authorities, Peg orders some of the men, led by Brimstone, to bury the treasure while he and the others divert the soldiers. To insure Brimstone’s loyalty, Peg take's Brimstone's twin brother, Mudhook, with him. Soon after, Brimstone finds an abandoned mine shaft that leads to a box canyon. While the men bury the silks, Brimstone tosses the saddlebags containing the gold into a creek, although he is annoyed that when he mutters the directions to himself, his chatty parrot, Barfly, repeats them. Brimstone exits through the shaft, then dynamites it in order to bury his compatriots and the entrance to the canyon. When Brimstone is late to meet the other pirates, Peg orders Mudhook to duel for his life with Velvet, Peg’s right-hand man. Velvet kills Mudhook, and the pirates leave his corpse behind as they go in search of the gold. When Brimstone arrives, he is grief-stricken to find his dead brother and vows revenge. Exhausted and wounded, Brimstone later staggers to the Sea ... +


In the 1840s, pirate captain John Pettibone Stewart, known as Peg because of his wooden leg, waits with his beached crew in Baja, Mexico for a vessel to hijack. After sighting The Painted Lady , they capture the ship, which carries gold coins and bolts of silks. That night, as the men drunkenly celebrate on the beach, the ship, which is also loaded with dynamite, accidentally blows up and the pirates retreat before the Mexican dragoons arrive. The next morning, as they are being pursued by the authorities, Peg orders some of the men, led by Brimstone, to bury the treasure while he and the others divert the soldiers. To insure Brimstone’s loyalty, Peg take's Brimstone's twin brother, Mudhook, with him. Soon after, Brimstone finds an abandoned mine shaft that leads to a box canyon. While the men bury the silks, Brimstone tosses the saddlebags containing the gold into a creek, although he is annoyed that when he mutters the directions to himself, his chatty parrot, Barfly, repeats them. Brimstone exits through the shaft, then dynamites it in order to bury his compatriots and the entrance to the canyon. When Brimstone is late to meet the other pirates, Peg orders Mudhook to duel for his life with Velvet, Peg’s right-hand man. Velvet kills Mudhook, and the pirates leave his corpse behind as they go in search of the gold. When Brimstone arrives, he is grief-stricken to find his dead brother and vows revenge. Exhausted and wounded, Brimstone later staggers to the Sea Road Inn at San Juan, California, which is run by Lucy-Ann Hardy and her twelve-year-old brother, Jamie. The boy is frightened but, seeing that Brimstone is ill, helps him inside, where Lucy-Ann tends to him. Jamie quickly becomes devoted to the pirate and his addled parrot, and the feverish Brimstone warns him about a treacherous, one-legged sea captain. As Brimstone’s condition worsens, Lucy-Ann leaves to fetch their neighbor, landowner Don Aragon to help, while Jamie watches Brimstone. Leaning out the window, Brimstone sees Peg riding up and screams that he will never get the gold. When Barfly immediately repeats the directions, however, Brimstone chases him and falls to his death from the upper landing. Jamie is wary of Peg, who questions him about Brimstone, but when Lucy-Ann and Aragon arrive, Peg states he is a wandering preacher who only wants to give Brimstone a decent burial. Jamie, who had found a gold coin belonging to Brimstone, believes that he was carrying a secret treasure map, and when Barfly again recites the directions to the canyon, Lucy-Ann and Aragon finally believe the boy. Meanwhile, Peg plots with his men, who have followed him but are staying hidden. When Aragon suggests that he and ranchhands Sandy and Benjamin go to Baja to look for the treasure, Peg brags about what a good “Indian fighter” he is, and Aragon hires him to protect them. Aragon refuses to let Jamie go with them, however, and in the morning, Peg tries to comfort the disappointed boy by giving him a necklace bearing a grizzly bear tooth. That night, however, Jamie sneaks into the men’s camp, infuriating both Aragon and Peg. The pirate, who feels genuine affection for Jamie, treats him coldly to squelch his growing hero worship. The next morning, Lucy-Ann, determined to follow Aragon, whom she loves, arrives in a wagon and insists that both she and Jamie will be allowed to accompany the group. Soon after, Peg, as a ruse to get his men into the camp, pretends to have been attacked by Indians and saved by the pirates. Aragon hires the men and the journey continues, with the bond between Peg and Jamie growing deeper. Peg is touched when Sandy and Benjamin carve a new leg for him, and even Lucy-Ann is charmed by Peg’s garrulousness. Feeling protective of his new friends, Peg banishes the pirates when one of them attempts to rape Lucy-Ann, although he instructs them to trail the group quietly. Soon after, they find the box canyon and Aragon instructs his men to build a rope ladder to reach the area, which they will search in the morning. Jamie, too excited to sleep, climbs down during the night, and Peg, unaware of Jamie’s actions, orders his men to get the gold before the others awaken. When Peg descends the ladder into the canyon, Jamie levels a pistol at him. Although the bemused Peg is proud of Jamie for his bravery, Jamie is crushed that his hero is a thief and a liar. Peg stops one of his men from shooting Jamie and the boy escapes, hiding in the rocks. While the pirates remain below, Peg climbs up the ladder to force Aragon, Lucy-Ann and the others down into the canyon. Fly Speck, a diminutive pirate, then hoists up the ladder. After the gold and silks are found, a gun battle erupts to determine who will claim the treasure. The battle ends when Velvet takes Jamie hostage and demands the gold which Aragon now has. After Aragon turns over the gold, Velvet frees Jamie. Peg then challenges Velvet to a duel, but after Peg is victorious, Jamie once again gains the upper hand. Meanwhile, Fly Speck, wondering what happened below, leans over the edge of the canyon and is butted by a ram, propelling him into the canyon. Trapped without the ladder, the group ponders their options. Seeing the silks, Aragon realizes that they can escape via a hot-air balloon, and Lucy-Ann spends the night sewing the fabric together. Powered by a roaring fire, the balloon, bearing Jamie in an improvised sling, rises to the top of the canyon, but when it threatens to carry Jamie away, Peg grabs a gun and shoots the balloon, lowering Jamie to the ground above them. Jamie then tosses down the ladder, and soon everyone clambers up. That night, as Jamie guards Peg, the pirate muses that he deserves to be hanged, but the tearful Jamie offers to free him. When Jamie states that he wants to be like Peg when he grows up, Peg refuses to flee, preferring to die rather than set a bad example. After Jamie promises not to follow him, Peg agrees to escape and takes a pocketful of gold, which he will use to settle in New Orleans. Jamie promises to visit when he is grown up, and Peg gives him another necklace, this one bearing a shark’s tooth, before riding away. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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