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4.6 out of 5 stars38
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: VHS Tape|Change
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on 5 January 2012
David O. Selznick's THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER was always a holiday favorite in New York -- one local station used to air it every Thanksgiving and Christmas (obviously two holidays where lots of kids are home . . . ), and so you sort of grew up with it in New York City; and later, one national syndicator did the same thing. But on video it's never had much of an existence -- there was a dark, faded edition on VHS tape from CBS/Fox, and later a laserdisc that was no better; and even when the Selznick library started showing up on DVD, this was one title that never got issued in America. I was delighted to see that it was out as a Region 2 disc (I have an all-region player), and was equally happy with the way said disc looked -- oh, if someone were to commit the kind of resources to restoration that had been devoted to Selznick's GONE WITH THE WIND (for which this movie was sort of a run-up, in terms of preparation) it could look and sound better; but that's not going to happen, and in the meantime this edition stands head and shoulders above the CBS/Fox laserdisc or its VHS predecessor. There aren't any extras, but none are really needed -- this is just a fun, handsome movie, without being over-cute as subsequent renditions of the story tended to be, and with none of the creakiness of the earlier Jackie Coogan version (done early in the sound era). It ought to be available on this side of the Atlantic, but I'm glad it's available at all.
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on 2 January 2012
Hi
Bought this for use with my students who have learning difficulties. They were interested in the Mark Twain reference when it came up on Google recently. I could not find anything other than this rather old film that looked like it would have any authenticity. My main worry was the language which I thought would be somewhat stilted for modern students.
I was surprised at how little this bothered them. In fact, I think it opened up a whole new window. For its age it is produced in a surprisingly good colour format (there may be a more technical way of putting that, I'm sure). The stories resonate with any group of youngsters and maybe this is what held their attention.
As a DVD for general viewing I suppose it's age is against it unless films from that era are your interest. I would be unsure of its value for less compliant students than ours but I enjoyed it !
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on 30 September 2014
I second the review by noted cinema authority Bruce Eder below. This is probably the best movie ever made from a Mark Twain story -- it's certainly head and shoulders above any other version of this particular story. The cast is wonderful, right down the line; Tommy Kelly, who plays Tom, had never been in a movie before, and he simply IS Tom Sawyer. Period.

This DVD transfer from Fremantle Media could hardly be improved upon. It was clearly taken from a genuine Technicolor print, and heaven only knows where they found it -- true Technicolor prints of Selznick pictures (other than GONE WITH THE WIND) are mighty hard to come by. This adaptation of THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER, and THIS video transfer of it -- in both cases, accept no substitutes.

I only wish it were available here in the States (Region 1) as well. (How about it, Fremantle?)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 September 2015
There have been several film adaptions of Mark Twain's classic children's novel 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' from 1876, but this delightful 1938 movie, the first to be made in glorious technicolor, still ranks as the very best. Remaining so very true to the book, thanks to it's screen player David O.Selznick, and the remarkable cinematography by James Wong Howe makes it almost like looking at an illustrated version of the text.

Set in the 1850s, little Tom Sawyer (played here by child actor Tommy Kelly) is a troublemaking orphan, a cheeky chappy who is always on the right side of loveable despite his naughty antics. He lives with his stern Aunt Polly (May Robson) in the small town of St. Petersburg, and spends his days skipping school and wandering along the Mississippi River with his pal Huckleberry Finn (Jackie Moran) and girlfriend Becky Thatcher (Ann Gillis). Their lives are carefree and relatively innocent, until Tom and Huck witness a murder, the boys then decide to take an oath of silence, and Tommy and Becky's adventures become matters of life and death.

A genuine masterpiece of great storytelling and Americana cinema, 'The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer' is an old-fashioned, but in so many ways timeless family film which never fails to enchant me. The story runs at a quick pace, riding high on an equal helping of charm and wit, and the acting is superb, especially from the children.

This most welcome DVD release offers a clean transfer of 'The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer'.
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on 2 January 2010
To whomever might consider buying this movie. We first saw this movie five years ago and have waited for it to be introduced onto dvd in Australia AS HAS OCCURRED MANY times after we have bought a movie from Amazon. we could not wait any longer and decided to buy it for Christmas. We have no regrets even if it appears here next week. The movie is fabul;ous: the best version of Tom Sawyer we have ever seen. I see myself in Aunt Polly ; too quick to smack and too slow to apologise. It helped me to form my New year's Resolutions. Time can be a best friend. Act in haste and repent at leisure. As a mother of many boys, I can't recommend this movie highly enough.
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on 29 January 2008
"The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," with Tommy Kelly as the lead, has to our family, been a wonderful source of enjoyment from the period in which Mark Twain lived his life. One can label it as funny, cute, dramatic, suspenseful; especially in the courtroom, and the fight in the cave. It brings happy emotions and sad emotions to the surface. He is mischievous: always picking on his brother Sid, "in your face" if you like. He gets in trouble for things he didn't do, just as any living child would.
He lives with his Aunt Polly, a sister, and a brother. They have a young servant, Jim, who helps out.
This takes place at a time when slavery was still in use in the "south" of the United States. However, it does not treat it as an issue.

I whole-heartedly recommend it to all who would like "Truly Clean, Wholesome Family Entertainment." Absolutely a 5-star film!
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on 24 June 2016
I sat down and watched this as I have recently started having a "film night" on Friday nights with my boys and husband. They are ready for a little more adventure than animation or the usual digital animations of today. I started to look for "classics" that even I may have missed as I was growing up. I was not disappointed. Remember films in the 1930's were aimed at family entertainment so these kind of films are catering for all genres. The humour is fantastic and at every new adventure Tom got himself into, there were a few laughs to be had.
Tom lives with his Aunt Polly and is constantly in trouble compared to his "perfect annoying little brother". One of my sons commented that the way she treated Tom was so bad she should have gone to prison! It was a real gem and all of us felt the storyline was very gripping compared to the weak imagination of today. Fabulous watch.
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on 2 April 2016
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYERS (1938) ENHANCED DVD COPY FROM THE OLD VHS TAPES.
THIS COPY IS IN 95% BETTER, and CLEARER COPY THAT I HAVE EVER SEEING AROUND THE INTERNET.
THERE ARE OTHER COPIES GOING AROUND THE NET WITH DIFFERENT COVERS IN THE DVD CASES,
THOSE ARE VERY POOR QUALITY COPIES. IF YOU ARE GOING TO GET THIS MOVIE?, THEN GET ONE
WITH THE RED & YELLOW COVER, BUT REMEMBER THIS DVD IS REGION FOR EUROPE, and NOT FOR
THE USA. MOST COMPUTERS MADE TODAY, CAN PLAY ANY DVDs, FROM AMY WHERE OF THE WORLD.
IF THIS MOVIE WAS PUT INTO A BLU-RAY....THEN IT WILL BE MUCH, MUCH BETTER, and PERFECT CHOICE,
BUT THIS GOOD QUALITY DVD WILL DO FOR NOW.
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYERS (1938) IS A GREAT FILM FOR EVER ONE IN THE FAMILY.
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on 10 December 2014
I saw this film at christmas time when I was a kid. A superb family film. I don't know why TV channels do not show it anymore, especially at christmas
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on 29 January 2012
This is a classic film made in the thirties made for adults and children a must see. They don`t make them like this anymore.
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