Adventure · Don't Bother

Treasure Island (1934)

Yo ho ho - we'll have a bottle o`rum
These blokes can't wait for the movie to end.

Many things in this movie disturb us.

People being run over by carriages or falling from a ship’s mast are one thing, but who told Lionel Barrymore to sing? Is Wallace Beery‘s hair real? Why does Jackie Cooper talk like Shirley Temple?

And why is this movie so boring?

We know, we know. Treasure Island is considered one of the greatest adventure movies of the 1930s. You probably know hundreds of people who say to you, “Dude, seriously, you gotta see it.”

Never mind the fact that we fell asleep (twice) during this movie. Part of our annoyance is this whole pirates-finding-buried-treasure scenario. Who in their right mind hides valuables in the dirt on the other side of the world? Why not just keep it and live it up? Surely there were people in 18th-century England who could fence hot property!

Okay, we’ll admit there are some interesting things about this film. The sets, for one thing, are terrific. But this is not a surprise considering the famously talented Cedric Gibbons was drafted as art director.

Also, Wallace Beery is superb as the growly-but-not-without-charm Long John Silver. The way he races through the movie on that wooden leg is something to behold. It looks like it could be painful but, if it is, Beery doesn’t let on. Plus, the parrot he schleps around is so utterly cool it makes you want to get one of your own.

Well, you might as well watch it. Just don’t put it on right at bed-time. Or after a glass of warm milk. Or, heaven forbid, both.

Starring Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper and Lionel Barrymore. Written by John Lee Mahin. Directed by Victor Fleming. MGM, 1934, 110 mins.

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