The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960)

107 or 109 mins | Comedy-drama | May 1960

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writer:

James Lee

Producer:

Samuel Goldwyn Jr.

Cinematographer:

Ted McCord

Production Designers:

George W. Davis, McClure Capps

Production Companies:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp., Formosa Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

In the onscreen credits, the film's title reads "Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ." While most sources list the running time as 107 minutes, Var and Filmfacts list it as 90 minutes. According to 1951 HR news items, M-G-M originally planned this picture as a musical to be produced by Arthur Freed. A 28 Oct 1958 DV news item states that by 1953 Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane had written the score for the film, which was to star Gene Kelly and Danny Kaye, but the production was later shelved because of casting difficulties. According to a 19 Aug 1959 HR news item, David Ladd was considered for the title role in the film, but was later replaced. 1959 HR news items add Al Wyatt and Andy Buck to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       According to the pressbook materials contained in the film's production files at the AMPAS Library, the picture was shot on location on the Mississippi River and along the Sacramento River Delta. The boat that served as the Natchez Queen was the same boat used in the 1951 version of Showboat .
       Archie Moore, a light heavyweight boxing champion, made his acting debut in the film. According to an Oct 1958 DV news item, although the rights to Twain's story had passed into the public domain, M-G-M claimed it owned the world copyright and sole international rights to the film under a deal the company made with the Twain estate in 1952, which was renewed in ... More Less

In the onscreen credits, the film's title reads "Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ." While most sources list the running time as 107 minutes, Var and Filmfacts list it as 90 minutes. According to 1951 HR news items, M-G-M originally planned this picture as a musical to be produced by Arthur Freed. A 28 Oct 1958 DV news item states that by 1953 Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane had written the score for the film, which was to star Gene Kelly and Danny Kaye, but the production was later shelved because of casting difficulties. According to a 19 Aug 1959 HR news item, David Ladd was considered for the title role in the film, but was later replaced. 1959 HR news items add Al Wyatt and Andy Buck to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       According to the pressbook materials contained in the film's production files at the AMPAS Library, the picture was shot on location on the Mississippi River and along the Sacramento River Delta. The boat that served as the Natchez Queen was the same boat used in the 1951 version of Showboat .
       Archie Moore, a light heavyweight boxing champion, made his acting debut in the film. According to an Oct 1958 DV news item, although the rights to Twain's story had passed into the public domain, M-G-M claimed it owned the world copyright and sole international rights to the film under a deal the company made with the Twain estate in 1952, which was renewed in 1956. The fact that the property was in the public domain in the United States led several companies, including Warner Bros., to plan productions in 1958 based on Twain's story. One version was to be shot in Mexico using unknowns. Only M-G-M's version made it to the screen, however, released in 1960 on the fiftieth anniversary of Twain's death.
       Twain's novel has been the basis of many films. Among the versions are a 1920 Famous Players-Lasky release, Huckleberry Finn , directed by William Desmond Taylor and starring Lewis Sergeant and Katherine Griffith (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ); a 1939 M-G-M version entitled The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , starring Mickey Rooney and Walter Connolly and directed by Richard Thorpe; a 1939 Paramount version titled Huckleberry Finn , starring Jackie Coogan and Junior Durkin and directed by Norman Taurog (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ); a 1974 United Artists release under the same title starring Jeff East and directed by F. Lee Thompson; and a 1995 Walt Disney Company release entitled Tom and Huck , directed by Peter Hewitt and starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Brad Renfro. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 May 1960.
---
Daily Variety
28 Oct 1958.
---
Daily Variety
30 Jan 1959.
---
Daily Variety
3 May 60
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 May 60
p. 6.
Filmfacts
1960
pp. 171-72.
Harrison's Reports
7 May 60
p. 74.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 1951.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Aug 1951
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 1951
p. 1-2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 1951
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 1958.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 1959.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 1959
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 1959.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1959.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 59
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 1959
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Nov 1959
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 59
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Nov 1959
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 60
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
14 Oct 1958.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 May 1960.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 May 60
p. 684.
New York Times
4 Aug 60
p. 17.
Newsweek
20 Jun 1960.
---
The Exhibitor
11 May 60
p. 4701.
Time
13 Jun 1960.
---
Variety
11 May 60
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Samuel Goldwyn Jr.'s Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Stills
Gaffer
Best boy
Grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Props
Greensman
COSTUMES
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus score comp and cond
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr girl
Unit mgr
Scr supv
Casting
Craft services
Dial coach
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Archie Moore
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (New York, 1884).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Release Date:
May 1960
Production Date:
early October--23 November 1959
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc. & Formosa Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 March 1960
Copyright Number:
LP15872
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Metrocolor
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
Photographic lenses by Panavision
Duration(in mins):
107 or 109
Length(in feet):
9,617
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19461
SYNOPSIS

In the summer of 1851, young Huckleberry Finn watches excitedly as a huge steamboat docks in his town of Hannibal, Missouri. Huck's daydream of continuing down the Mississippi to New Orleans, and from there to South America, is interrupted by Jim, a slave whose master, the kindly Widow Douglas, has looked after Huck since the disappearance of his widowed, alcoholic father. Jim worriedly reports that Huck's father, a brutal man whom Huck calls "Pap," has come looking for his son, and sure enough, Pap appears in Huck's room that night and drags the child to his shack near the river. Pap declares that if the widow gives him $5,000, he will return Huck to her care, and when she considers selling Jim in order to secure the money, the slave runs away. After Pap nearly kills Huck in a drunken rage, the boy makes it appear that he has been murdered and then paddles away in a stolen canoe. The townspeople assume that it is Jim, the runaway slave, who has killed Huck, and this prompts the boy to join forces with Jim in an attempt to reach the free state of Illinois. The two use Jim's raft to put some distance between them and Hannibal, but eventually, they go ashore in search of food. There they meet with two grifters, who introduce themselves as the King of France and the Duke of Bilgewater. The swindlers want Huck to join them in a scheme to impersonate the long-lost English relatives of the recently deceased Peter Wilkes, a wealthy businessman whose daughters live in nearby Packsville. Jim is against the plan, but Huck is intrigued, ... +


In the summer of 1851, young Huckleberry Finn watches excitedly as a huge steamboat docks in his town of Hannibal, Missouri. Huck's daydream of continuing down the Mississippi to New Orleans, and from there to South America, is interrupted by Jim, a slave whose master, the kindly Widow Douglas, has looked after Huck since the disappearance of his widowed, alcoholic father. Jim worriedly reports that Huck's father, a brutal man whom Huck calls "Pap," has come looking for his son, and sure enough, Pap appears in Huck's room that night and drags the child to his shack near the river. Pap declares that if the widow gives him $5,000, he will return Huck to her care, and when she considers selling Jim in order to secure the money, the slave runs away. After Pap nearly kills Huck in a drunken rage, the boy makes it appear that he has been murdered and then paddles away in a stolen canoe. The townspeople assume that it is Jim, the runaway slave, who has killed Huck, and this prompts the boy to join forces with Jim in an attempt to reach the free state of Illinois. The two use Jim's raft to put some distance between them and Hannibal, but eventually, they go ashore in search of food. There they meet with two grifters, who introduce themselves as the King of France and the Duke of Bilgewater. The swindlers want Huck to join them in a scheme to impersonate the long-lost English relatives of the recently deceased Peter Wilkes, a wealthy businessman whose daughters live in nearby Packsville. Jim is against the plan, but Huck is intrigued, and soon the King, impersonating "Uncle Harvey" Wilkes, is introducing his little nephew "Percy" to the grieving Wilkes daughters, Mary Jane and Joanna. The younger girl immediately suspects that her visitors are impostors, but the gullible Mary Jane offers the King $3,000 as his part of the Wilkes inheritance. Huck finally tells the Wilkes sisters the truth, or something close to the truth, and the sheriff arrests the two con men. Huck then returns to the river with Jim, whose dreams of life as a free man include finding a job, saving his money, and someday buying the freedom of his wife and children. After seeing Pap's drowned corpse in a wrecked houseboat, a fact Jim hides from Huck, Jim is nearly caught by slave hunters. He and Huck are taken aboard a steamboat, but because the King and the Duke are also on board, they are forced to escape into the river as the boat approaches Cairo. Once on shore, Huck and Jim try to masquerade as performers in the Carmody circus, but the King appears and has Jim arrested. As he awaits the $200 reward for Jim's capture, however, Huck, impersonating a young girl, manages to obtain the keys and free Jim, even though Jim has revealed that Pap is dead. Jim swims to freedom, and after the two friends bid each other a heartfelt goodbye, the now former slave heads north while Huck paddles toward a New Orleans-bound steamboat. +

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

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