Treasure Island (1950)
Release year: 1950
Director: Byron Haskin
Screenwriter: Lawrence Edward, Robert Louis Stevenson (based on the story by)
Starring: Bobby Driscoll, Robert Newton, Basil Sydney, Walter Fitzgerald, Denis O’Dea, Finlay Currie, Ralp Truman, Geoffrey Keen
After getting his hands on a treasure map, young Jim Hawkins (Driscoll) sets out on a treasure hunting adventure with Captain Smollett (Sydney), Squire Trelwaney (FItzgerald) and Dr. Livesy (O’Dea). Little do they know the infamous pirate Long John Silver (Newton) is not only on board but has made sure his men is too.
The very first live-action Disney movie without any animation, Treasure Island is not just a great adventurous movie it is also a very fine adaptation of Stevenson’s famous classic story of Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver which perfectly captures the tone of its origin. Young Driscoll (Song of the South, 1946) is one of those child actors to whom acting seem to fall natural and watching him as Hawkins is pure joy. Whether happily smiling, in dreadful danger or cleverly outsmarting the pirates, his performance rings true in every scene. Treasure Island is a movie that relies heavily on two characters being fleshed out well. Jim Hawkins and off course, the pirate Long John Silver. The second is here played by Newton (Around the World in 80 Days, 1956) whose Silver is one of the most iconic movie pirates ever created. With a combination of irresistible charm and an intimidating danger, he makes you fall completely for the character while feeling a little bit bad for cheering for the villain. He could easily have stolen the show, instead he helps creating this wonderful adventurous classic with vibrant colours, great sets and glorious entertainment value. A grand treasure chest of charming adventure!
Robert Newton’s performance as Long John Silver has since become the standard for most screen portrayals of pirates. The exaggeration of his West Country accent is credited with popularising the stereotypical pirate voice.
Walt Disney made the movie Bobby Driscoll only had a 3 month work permit in the UK so all his scenes were filmed first, a long way out of continuity, in order to complete his role in time.when postwar restrictions stopped him from transferring profits from his cartoons out of the United Kingdom. Rather than set up a new animation studio, he used the profits and existing facilities to produce a conventional film. The movie was filmed in England, not in the West Indies, using Disney’s frozen U.K. profits.
Bobby Driscoll is the only American in the movie and only had a 3 month work permit in the UK so all his scenes were filmed first, a long way out of continuity, in order to complete his role in time.
Feel like checking out Robert Newton’s iconic Long John Silver yourself? Click the image below:
You can also chose to combine it with reading the story it is based on: