The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993)

PG | 108 mins | Adventure, Epic, Children's works | 2 April 1993

Director:

Stephen Sommers

Writer:

Stephen Sommers

Producer:

Laurence Mark

Cinematographer:

Janusz Kaminski

Editor:

Bob Ducsay

Production Designer:

Richard Sherman

Production Companies:

Walt Disney Pictures , Steve White Productions
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HISTORY

The film opens with voice-over narration from Elijah Wood’s character, “Huck Finn.”
       End credits include the following statement: “The producers wish to thank Spirit of Paducah Line; Jubilee One; City of Paducah, Kentucky; City of Natchez, Mississippi; State of Mississippi; Mississippi Film Commission, Ward Emling; Natchez Film Commission, Connie Taunton.”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that screenwriter-director Stephen Sommers decided to write a motion picture adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) that uniquely “capitalized on the adventure” of the story. The 26 Mar 1992 DV announced that Triad Artists negotiated a $200,000 option deal to acquire Sommer’s screenplay for Walt Disney Pictures, beating out Universal Pictures’ $400,000 bid to develop the project with director Joe Dante. Mike Stenson, production Vice President at Disney subsidiary, Hollywood Pictures, made the deal based on his existing relationship with Sommers, and felt that the material was best suited for Disney’s “children’s and family-oriented” audience. According to the 29 Mar 1993 edition of Newsweek, The Adventures of Huck Finn was one of many family films to be released that year, since studio executives had recently recognized the profitability of PG-rated films over those with an “R” label.
       Disney hoped to begin production by summer 1992, edging out another “Huckleberry Finn” project at TriStar Pictures. According to the 25 Jun 1992 DV, the TriStar project from a script by Matthew Jacobs had been in development with producers Marsha Nasatir and Steve Haft since 1991. TriStar studio chairman Mike Medavoy criticized Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg for initiating a rival “Huckleberry Finn” project even though the source material was in the ... More Less

The film opens with voice-over narration from Elijah Wood’s character, “Huck Finn.”
       End credits include the following statement: “The producers wish to thank Spirit of Paducah Line; Jubilee One; City of Paducah, Kentucky; City of Natchez, Mississippi; State of Mississippi; Mississippi Film Commission, Ward Emling; Natchez Film Commission, Connie Taunton.”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that screenwriter-director Stephen Sommers decided to write a motion picture adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) that uniquely “capitalized on the adventure” of the story. The 26 Mar 1992 DV announced that Triad Artists negotiated a $200,000 option deal to acquire Sommer’s screenplay for Walt Disney Pictures, beating out Universal Pictures’ $400,000 bid to develop the project with director Joe Dante. Mike Stenson, production Vice President at Disney subsidiary, Hollywood Pictures, made the deal based on his existing relationship with Sommers, and felt that the material was best suited for Disney’s “children’s and family-oriented” audience. According to the 29 Mar 1993 edition of Newsweek, The Adventures of Huck Finn was one of many family films to be released that year, since studio executives had recently recognized the profitability of PG-rated films over those with an “R” label.
       Disney hoped to begin production by summer 1992, edging out another “Huckleberry Finn” project at TriStar Pictures. According to the 25 Jun 1992 DV, the TriStar project from a script by Matthew Jacobs had been in development with producers Marsha Nasatir and Steve Haft since 1991. TriStar studio chairman Mike Medavoy criticized Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg for initiating a rival “Huckleberry Finn” project even though the source material was in the public domain. In addition, John Hughes was concurrently writing a “modern-day” retelling for Twentieth Century-Fox, titled, Black Cat Bone. As Disney moved ahead with The Adventures of Huck Finn, the TriStar and Hughes’ projects were shelved.
       Although 16 Jun 1992 HR production charts listed a scheduled start date of Oct 1992, under Bitterroot Productions, Inc., production notes stated that principal photography took place between 26 Aug 1992, and 23 Oct 1992. Location scouts considered La Crosse, WI; Hannibal, MO; and Columbus, MS; before selecting Natchez, MS. The first day of filming coincided with the arrival of Hurricane Andrew, forcing the crew to shoot interiors at the Twin Oaks mansion. Once the storm passed, production moved to the Dunleith Historic Inn, which served as the “Grangerford” estate. Additional filming took place at the Rosalie Mansion, Santon Hall, Under the Hill Saloon, and the Natchez Garden Pilgrimage Club. The 16 Nov 1992 issue of People magazine mentioned an onscreen kiss between Elijah Wood and actress Laura Bundy, which is not included in the final film. A 1 Sep 1992 HR story listed the budget at $11 million.
       The Adventures of Huck Finn received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the concision of Sommer’s screenplay and the performances of Wood and Courtney B. Vance. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Mar 1992
p. 1, 10.
Daily Variety
25 Jun 1992
p. 1, 17.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Sep 1992
p. 4, 58.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 1993
p. 12, 108.
Los Angeles Times
2 Apr 1993
Section F, p. 1, 16.
New York Times
2 Apr 1993
p. 15.
Newsweek
29 Mar 1993.
---
People
16 Nov 1992.
---
Variety
5 Apr 1993
p. 175.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Walt Disney Pictures Presents
A Laurence Mark Production
Produced in association with Steve White Productions
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Best boy elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Lead scenic artist
Set des
On-set dresser
Key swing
Const coord
Const foreman
Prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Set costumer
Set costumer
Set costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Supv sd ed
Mus scoring mixer
Orch
Mus preparation
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
ADR mixer
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
ADR voice
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Title des
Title des
Title illustrations by
Titles & opticals
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Key hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
ADR voice casting
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst to Mr. Bernardi & Mr. Wells
Asst to Mr. Sommers
Asst to Mr. Mark
Asst to Mr. Mark
Asst to Mr. Baldecchi
Key set prod asst
Prod asst
Asst loc mgr
Unit pub
Casting assoc
Extras casting
Studio teacher
Dialect coach
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Marine boat coord
Marine boat coord
Marine boat coord
Marine res
Animal wrangler
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts/Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (London, 1884).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Mozart String Quartet," written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, arranged by Dante Progliese, courtesy of Hollywood Film Music Library.
DETAILS
Release Date:
2 April 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 2 April 1993
New York opening: week of 2 April 1993
Production Date:
26 August--23 October 1992 in Natchez, MS
Copyright Claimant:
Walt Disney Company
Copyright Date:
13 April 1993
Copyright Number:
PA607540
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®; Produced and distributed on Eastman Film
Duration(in mins):
108
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32358
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On the banks of the Mississippi River, a rambunctious young boy named Huckleberry “Huck” Finn is in the midst of a fistfight when he notices a boat docked along the shore. Realizing that his abusive, drunkard father, “Pap” Finn, has returned, Huck seeks help from his friend Jim, an African American slave, who advises the boy to run away. Huck returns to the plantation house of Jim’s owner, Miss Watson, and her sister, the Widow Douglas, who have attempted to civilize the orphan since his father’s disappearance. That night, Huck begins to pack for his escape, but is distracted by his friends’ calls to come outside and play. When he returns, Pap abducts him and reveals that he came to collect the inheritance left for Huck by his late mother. Because the money cannot be accessed at the bank until Huck reaches legal age, he attempts to kill the boy with a knife, but eventually passes out from intoxication. The next morning, Pap awakens with no recollection of the night before, and decides to visit town. While alone, Huck uses boar’s blood to stage his own death and escapes to Jackson’s Island, where he encounters Jim, recently escaped from being sold to a slave trader from New Orleans, Louisiana. Equipped with a map, Jim plans to float downriver to Cairo, Missouri, before turning up the Ohio River toward the free states, where he can earn enough money to buy his family’s freedom. Dressed as a girl, Huck attempts to steal food and supplies from a baker, who reveals that Jim is wanted for Huck’s murder. To avoid being caught, Jim and Huck choose to only travel at night and ... +


On the banks of the Mississippi River, a rambunctious young boy named Huckleberry “Huck” Finn is in the midst of a fistfight when he notices a boat docked along the shore. Realizing that his abusive, drunkard father, “Pap” Finn, has returned, Huck seeks help from his friend Jim, an African American slave, who advises the boy to run away. Huck returns to the plantation house of Jim’s owner, Miss Watson, and her sister, the Widow Douglas, who have attempted to civilize the orphan since his father’s disappearance. That night, Huck begins to pack for his escape, but is distracted by his friends’ calls to come outside and play. When he returns, Pap abducts him and reveals that he came to collect the inheritance left for Huck by his late mother. Because the money cannot be accessed at the bank until Huck reaches legal age, he attempts to kill the boy with a knife, but eventually passes out from intoxication. The next morning, Pap awakens with no recollection of the night before, and decides to visit town. While alone, Huck uses boar’s blood to stage his own death and escapes to Jackson’s Island, where he encounters Jim, recently escaped from being sold to a slave trader from New Orleans, Louisiana. Equipped with a map, Jim plans to float downriver to Cairo, Missouri, before turning up the Ohio River toward the free states, where he can earn enough money to buy his family’s freedom. Dressed as a girl, Huck attempts to steal food and supplies from a baker, who reveals that Jim is wanted for Huck’s murder. To avoid being caught, Jim and Huck choose to only travel at night and begin their adventure downriver after dusk. During a heavy storm, they encounter a quickly-sinking barge, which Jim discovers contains Pap’s corpse. When their canoe capsizes, the travelers board a raft, and Jim decides to keep Pap’s death a secret from Huck, concerned that the boy would force them to return home. As they near Cairo, Huck grows uncomfortable with Jim’s abolitionism and decides to turn him in, but at the last moment, he does not follow through. Later, a steamboat destroys their raft, separating the travelers and forcing Huck to swim ashore. He is captured by the wealthy Grangerford family and pretends to be an orphan named George Jackson. During his stay at their estate, he befriends the Grangerford son, Billy, and learns that Jim was captured and chained inside their barn. Once he is put to work picking cotton, Jim pleads with Huck to leave as soon as possible, but Huck accuses him of selfishness, and announces his intent to stay with the Grangerfords. Over time, however, he realizes that he feels guilty and apologizes to Jim for forcing him back into slavery. When he returns to the house for dinner, Huck discovers the Grangerfords have left to retrieve the eldest daughter, Sophie, who has eloped with a member of the Shepherdson family, their long-hated rivals. The feud culminates in a bloody shootout that leaves most of the Grangerfords dead, but enables Huck and Jim to escape on their repaired raft. One night, they realize they overshot Cairo by forty miles and plan to buy return passage on a steamboat. The next morning, two conmen known as the “King” and “Duke” of Bilgewater, force their way onto the raft. When they recognize Jim as a wanted murderer, they blackmail the duo into assisting with their scheme to pose as the English brothers of a recently deceased man named Peter Wilks. Welcomed by Peter’s unwitting daughters, Julia, Mary Jane, and Susan, the King and the Duke inherit Peter’s chest of gold coins, but greedily plot for a way to steal more of Wilks’s property. Meanwhile, Huck sneaks away from the house and learns that Jim was arrested. At the prison, Huck promises to help free Jim in time to catch the next steamboat, but feels deceived when Jim finally admits to knowing about Pap’s death. Upon the boy’s return to the Wilks home, the King falsely promises to take the daughters back to England, allowing the thieves to auction their belongings and steal the profits. Feeling bad for swindling the kind-hearted ladies, Huck hides the gold in Peter’s coffin before it is buried, and reveals the deception to Mary Jane. As Huck sets off to break Jim out of prison, the real Wilks brothers arrive from England, prompting each pair of men to argue their identity before the ignorant townspeople. To verify the Wilks’ claim that their brother had a tattoo, the now riotous mob exhumes Peter’s corpse and tar the King and the Duke. In the commotion, Huck steals the deputy’s keyring and frees Jim from his cell. As they run, Huck is shot in the back and collapses just meters from the departing steamboat. Jim sacrifices his freedom to carry Huck back toward town, where the mob immediately places a noose around his neck. Moments before he is lynched, Mary Jane arrives with a shotgun and forces them to release Jim, as Huck falls unconscious. A week later, he awakens in Mary Jane’s bed and is greeted by the Widow Douglas, who is proud of Huck for rejecting society’s attitudes about slavery and helping Jim escape. Just then, Jim walks in dressed in a waistcoat and cravat to inform Huck that Miss Watson recently died. Wracked with the guilt of selling Jim away from his family, she reneged the transaction and granted him his freedom in her will. Once Huck is healed, the Wilks daughters gratefully award him $500, which he gives to Jim. Although the Widow Douglas intends to take Huck home to continue his education, the boy tears off his suit jacket and runs free through the meadows, back toward the Mississippi River. +

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

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