The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a 1938 American drama film produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Norman Taurog who had previously directed Huckleberry Finn (1931 film) (1931) with Jackie Coogan and Junior Durkin. The film starred Tommy Kelly in the title role, with Jackie Moran and Ann Gillis. The screenplay by John V. A. Weaver was based on the classic 1876 novel of the same name by Mark Twain. The movie was the first film version of the novel to be made in color.
The United Artists release includes most of the sequences familiar to readers of the book, including the fence-whitewashing episode; a wild raft ride down the Mississippi River; Tom and Huckleberry Finn's attendance at their own funeral, after the boys, who were enjoying an adventure on a remote island, are presumed dead; the murder trial of local drunkard Muff Potter; and Tom and Becky Thatcher's flight through a cave as they try to escape from Injun Joe, who is revealed to be the real killer.
H. C. Potter originally was signed to direct but was fired and replaced by Taurog after George Cukor declined the assignment. Cukor directed some scenes, but received no on-screen credit for his contributions.
Tommy Kelly, a Bronx fireman's son, was selected for the title role through a national campaign waged by producer David O. Selznick, who later would conduct a similar search for an actress to portray Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. According to a 1937 memo he sent to story editor Katharine Brown, he originally hoped to cast an orphan as Tom, feeling such a stunt would receive "tremendous attention and arouse such a warm public feeling that it would add enormously to the gross of the picture." Kelly failed to achieve the star status of fellow child actor Freddie Bartholomew, and after an inconsequential career he retired and later became a school teacher.
Source and more on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Tom_Sawyer_(1938_film)
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