Treasure Island: A Classic Tale of Mutiny, Treasure, and Friendship
In the West Coast of England in 1765, a young boy called Jim Hawkins lives with his mother in a tiny country inn which they run. Captain William Bones, a sickly lodger, gives Jim a treasure map after being visited by two pirates, the second of whom gives the captain a note marked with the black spot, and sends him for help with a mysterious promise to share. Jim returns with Squire Trelawney and Dr. Livesey, only to find Bones dead at the inn, and Jim shows Trelawney the map. Trelawney recognizes the map as belonging to the buccaneer Captain Flint and bankrolls a voyage to discover the pirate's lost treasure. Trelawney hires Captain Smollett and his ship, the Hispaniola, bringing along Dr Livesey as the ship's doctor and Jim as the cabin boy.
On the island, Jim escapes and meets Ben Gunn, marooned by Flint five years ago. Gunn shows Jim the boat he's built, then leads him to Flint's stockade, where he meets up with Smollett and the others. Meanwhile, Merry escapes, takes the ship and raises the Jolly Roger. Silver returns to the Hispaniola, arms his men with muskets and makes plans to take the stockade. Short of men, Silver attempts to parlay with Smollett, but when he is rebuffed, Silver calls his men to attack. The assault on the stockade fails, but Silver wounds Smollett. Although seemingly protected by the stockade, Smollett surmises that, with the morning tide, Silver could move the Hispaniola into cannon range and level the fort.
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Despite keeping his end of the bargain, Captain Smollett still wants Silver taken back for trial in England for his mutiny. Hawkins, Trelawney and two others take Silver to the Hispaniola aboard a rowboat loaded with a few chests of treasure. Silver snatches Jim's pistol and forces Trelawney and the others out of the boat but makes Jim stay to steer him out of the cove. Jim instead beaches him on a sandbar, and Silver orders him to push him off at pistol point, though Jim bravely refuses. Silver is unable to carry out his threat to shoot and drops the pistol in the water, attempting to push the boat off on his own. Seeing Silver struggle, Jim helps him, waving a hesitant farewell as Silver rows away with the treasure and bids him farewell in return.
Reviews from critics were mostly positive. Thomas M. Pryor of The New York Times called the film "a grand and glorious entertainment" that "captures the true spirit of the novel." Variety praised the film for its "sumptuous" set pieces and "a virtual tour de force" performance by Newton. Sonia Stein of The Washington Post wrote that the film was "like a treasure chest of precious stones," with "some of the most beautiful color photography ever shot." Harrison's Reports called it a "first-rate adventure melodrama that should thrill young and old alike," while Philip Hamburger of The New Yorker called it "absolutely first-class ... mounted in Technicolor with such meticulous and imaginative care that I had the feeling throughout that I was watching a handsome illustrated edition of the book come to life." The Monthly Film Bulletin was less positive, however, calling the production values "serviceable rather than imaginative" and finding Driscoll to be "unmistakably 20th century-American in this context," and "insufficiently an actor to have much of a shot at Jim."
The film was the sixth most popular movie at the British box office in 1950. According to Kinematograph Weekly the 'biggest winners' at the box office in 1950 Britain were The Blue Lamp, The Happiest Days of Your Life, Annie Get Your Gun, The Wooden Horse, Treasure Island and Odette, with "runners up" being Stage Fright, White Heat, They Were Not Divided, Trio, Morning Departure, Destination Moon, Sands of Iwo Jima, Little Women, The Forsythe Saga, Father of the Bride, Neptune's Daughter, The Dancing Years, The Red Light, Rogues of Sherwood Forest, Fancy Pants, Copper Canyon, State Secret, The Cure for Love, My Foolish Heart, Stromboli, Cheaper by the Dozen, Pinky, Three Came Home, Broken Arrow and Black Rose.
The fact is, Stevenson is a splendid writer of stories for adults, and he should be put on the same shelf with Joseph Conrad and Jack London instead of in between Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan. The Stevenson books have been pretty well swamped by the countless movie, TV and stage adaptations.
Basically, it can't. "Muppet Treasure Island," directed by Brian Henson, son of the late Muppet genius, will entertain you more or less in proportion to your affection for the Muppets. If you like them, you'll probably like this. In the democratic tradition that has distinguished Muppet movies from the start, the credits list Muppets and humans interchangeably, in the order of the size of their roles, and so we note that the movie stars Tim Curry as Long John Silver, Kermit the Frog as Captain Smollett, Kevin Bishop as young Jim Hawkins and Miss Piggy as Benjamina Gunn.
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The story: An old salt named Flint buries untold treasure on an island. Young Jim is given a map to the treasure, and sets sail (with the Great Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat) to find it. Kermit's character captains the ship, and also on board is Curry, as Long John Silver. Once on the island, they find, as in most film versions of the story, that Flint has left someone behind.
Silver is determined to have the treasure, and is backed by fellow mutineers. Jim Hawkins feels betrayed and cheated of what's rightfully his. And Miss Piggy is the wild card, describing herself in the press book as ". . . a beautiful -- correction -- devastatingly beautiful pig," observing, "Although moi's screen time is far below that of your average superstar, moi makes every minute count."
As I suggested, you're likely to enjoy the movie in proportion to how much you enjoy the Muppets. Moi, I sort of like them, sometimes. And I enjoyed the "Christmas Carol" movie, but this one seems less cleverly written, and for moi it's a near miss.
Looking back, it could be said that Treasure Island marked the beginning of a swashbuckling new era of adventure and expansion for Walt and his eponymous company. An era that would take them into live-action movies, television, a theme park, and more!
There are many movies based on Treasure Island. There were two silent movies, a 1934 ''talkie,'' a 1950 Disney version, a 1990 version, and a plethora of tv movies, television shows, and creative adaptations.
Treasure Island is a novel that has been adapted for film on multiple occasions. Each Treasure Island movie has its own approach to the story, including or omitting certain details in service of the broader narrative. Typically, film adaptations of this novel tend to be quite accurate to the source material, sometimes even including dialogue directly from the text of the book. Several of the film adaptations of Treasure Island are now considered genre-defining classics, though others have somewhat fallen under the radar.
Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, Treasure Island (1883), inspired several film adaptations. Many film adaptations of the novel play on the title in some way, but Treasure Island inspired more films besides the direct adaptations. Tales of the black spot, skeleton island, and a whole genre of high seas adventures starring pirates and buccaneers descend from Stevenson's original novel. From Jim Henson's Muppet Treasure Island (1996) to Jerry Bruckheimer's blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean (2003), the impact of Stevenson's caper can be felt across a number of media adaptations.
Treasure Island is about a young boy named Jim Hawkins who helps his parents run the Admiral Benbow inn in England. A sailor named Billy Bones arrives at the inn and gives Hawkins a cryptic message about a one-legged man and buried treasure before dying. Jim finds Billy Bones's treasure map and soon ends up on a maritime voyage to find the treasure, which is said to have belonged to the fearsome Captain Flint. The ship on which Jim is working as a cabin boy picks up a new cook called Long John Silver, who has one leg. Jim and Silver have a turbulent relationship, with Silver sometimes acting as a father figure for Jim and sometimes seeming untrustworthy.
There have been four direct Treasure Island film adaptations over the years, as well as several other pieces of media based on the book. It is impossible to determine which is the best Treasure Island movie, as each one is a product of its time and of a variety of filming conventions. As far as adaptations go, all four of these films are reasonably faithful to the source material, with only minor deviations in plot and characterization.
The first Treasure Island movie (1934) was directed by Victor Fleming and starred Wallace Beery as Long John Silver and Jackie Cooper as Jim Hawkins. The film is in black and white and was a fairly early example of a ''talkie'' rather than a silent movie. The plot of the film is fairly close to the book, though Long John Silver is perhaps a more obvious villain than he is in the book. Silver's fate is also changed slightly: he is taken prisoner for the return journey and is set to be hanged, but Jim Hawkins frees him and allows him to make his escape.
In addition to the four major adaptations of the book, there is also a Treasure Island animated movie adaptation called Treasure Planet. It sets Treasure Island in a fantasy outer space world where many characters are aliens, cyborgs, and other strange creatures. The film was released in 2002 and starred Brian Murray as Long John Silver and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jim Hawkins. It was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker and is remarkably similar to the plot of the book, given its major deviations.