Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tom Sawyer

Mark Twain's indefatigably mischievous and timeless hero (played by a well cast Johnny Whitaker) receives musical treatment in this film where he tricks his fellow schoolmates into whitewashing Aunt Polly's (Celeste Holm) picket fence, romances Becky Thatcher (Jodie Foster), saves a kindly drunk (Warren Oates) from the gallows, and traverses the Mississippi and nearby Jackson Island with his good friend, and scourge of the community, Huck Finn (Jeff East). "Tom Sawyer" is a pretty good rendition of Twain's classic children's novel, which isn't faithful so much to the plotting as it is to the spirit of the story. The songs are unmemorable, but the child actors are well cast, and the adults are superb (esp. Oates and Holm) which is the key for these kinds of film. The result is a diverting film which will please Twain fans (though not purists) and which, if nothing else, captures the essence of his tale.