Thursday, October 7, 2010

Captains Courageous (1937)

Based on the Rudyard Kipling novel, Captains Courageous tells the story of the viciously spoiled-rotten Harvey who finally gets the life lessons his teachers and father couldn't give him when he falls from an ocean liner and is picked up by a team of fishermen.

The kid is so horrible at the beginning he even calls the fishermen kidnappers for refusing to change course immediately and take him home. They are relatively patient with Harvey, who many of the crew label a "Jonah." Making him earn his keep, the ship's captain (Lionel Barrymore - It's a Wonderful Life's Mr. Potter) places him under the tutelage of Manuel (Spencer Tracy), the Portuguese fisherman who originally pulled Harvey from the water.

Manuel is a simple man, but one of great integrity whom Harvey grows to admire. Tracy's accent is horribly inconsistent, but he is still delightful and full of spirit in this Oscar winning role.

Harvey's transformation from wicked to hardworking over his three month journey is almost too drastic to be believable. However, he's still extremely stubborn, he has just found something he loves more than himself - a life at sea.

A very good, if mostly predictable, show with a surprisingly poignant end.

101 to go...

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