Long John Silver (AU/US, 1954): A Retrospective

Discussion in 'THE AIGBURTH ARMS' started by hubbard, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. hubbard

    hubbard Deck Sergeant

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    (aka Long John Silver's Return to Treasure Island)

    Back in 1950 Disney Pictures adapted the classic 1883 Robert Louis Stevenson novel Treasure Island. In that now classic (but long forgotten) movie the titular pirate of Long John Silver was played by British actor Robert Newton. Now even though Newton was a well known and respected actor throughout the 40's and 50's (actually more of a tough guy role model for young men), it was this Disney movie that really catapulted him to worldwide stardom. Newton became famous for his pirate performance which he continued in 1952 with 'Blackbeard' and then with this sequel to 'Treasure Island'.

    So as mentioned this is indeed a sequel to the 1950 movie 'Treasure Island' but I am unsure if this is actually based on any novels. I have to admit I never knew until a few years back that there were actually more stories in the Treasure Island universe, so to speak. I have since discovered that Stevenson did write some other stories with various characters from the original book, but most actual sequels and prequels seem to have been written by other people. So whether this is accurate to any other books I don't know.

    The plot follows John Silver (Newton) as he is recruited by Governor Strong (Governor of somewhere in the Caribbean I believe) to retrieve his daughter and Jim Hawkins from a Spanish pirate by the name of Captain Mendoza (Lloyd Berrell) and deliver a ransom. At the same time, Silver discovers the whereabouts of a second treasure cache on Treasure Island. Of course this being a pirate movie there is much double cross. Silver tries to set up Mendoza, I think for the ransom along with the Governor's daughter and Hawkins, but then Mendoza was planning to double-cross Silver all along. In the end Silver manages to win the battle.

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    During this time Silver has discovered that Hawkins has a medallion which locates the second treasure cache. So Silver wastes no time in chartering a ship from Captain MacDougall. But again Silver is planning to double-cross MacDougall. Alas MacDougall finds out and maroons Silver and his men on an island which just happens to be Mendoza's hideout. Silver steals Mendoza's ship and sets sail for Treasure Island. Upon reaching the island Silver and his men find the treasure but again Mendoza is hot on their trail. A fight ensues, Silver wins and it's a happy ending all round, hurrah!

    As with the previous Disney movie the overall look of this film is still pretty good, although not as good. All the costumes and sets generally appear to be of high quality and do look both believable and authentic. Naturally the sets do look like sets but that's to be expected. As I've said before many times it's those little elements that all add to the overall charm. The scenery and location work is also pretty good here but not as good in scope as the original movie. The rugged coastal scenes normally look the best.

    Unfortunately in this film the ship sequences appear to be models. They are all very nice models mind you, very detailed, flapping sails etc...But they are obviously models which is a shame. In the original film they did actually use a real replica ship at sea which was amazing looking. Again the on-ship sequences are sets, clearly so, but again they are delightful and really quite amazingly detailed. It really is obvious that a lot of time, effort, and money went into getting the overall appearance of the ships decks, interior cabins etc...all historically accurate as possible. Something of a surprise to be honest considering the smaller production.

    [​IMG]

    I guess one downside to all this would be the fact it all feels a bit too similar to the original Disney film. For starters we have Robert Newton doing the exact same thing all over again in the exact same attire, almost. I mean surely they could of changed his outfit a bit? Newton also appears to rehash some of his old lines from the original Disney film. I'm not sure if this was just the writers being lazy or maybe wanting to hark back to the popular first picture. I get the impression they wanted to mirror some of the same classic moments from the first film to make theirs look and feel closer to the original Disney production. Riding the old coattails a bit methinks. This becomes more obvious with some scenes such as Hawkins overhearing Silver planning a mutiny and then informing the captain (same thing happened in 'Treasure Island').

    Another issue would be the near constant mutines and double-crossing that goes on. I mean it happens so damn much it almost becomes a parody. You just know that whenever someone decides to do something, or some people agree on something, one of them will double cross the other. And when one character turns up with one objective, another character on his side will suddenly double cross him! Was also surprised to see the pirate Israel Hands pop up in this, especially after he got shot in the face and fell from the top of the rigging in the previous movie (not the same actor).

    But back on the plus side, I was impressed with the visual continuity of the old fort on Treasure Island. I'm not sure if they used the same sets or not but it looked spot on to me, as did the surrounding jungle overgrowth. Add to that the overall acting of all involved was solid and pleasant to watch. There's something hypnotically relaxing about listening to these old classic actors speaking proper English and olde worlde pirate English...for me at least. Connie Gilchrist adds some comedic relief as Silver's wife-to-be Purity Pinker. I especially liked how she kept nagging him and giving him milk instead of Rum, much to Silver's chagrin. And then of course we have the man himself Newton who gives us yet another perfect rendition of how to be a British pirate. Still to this day I think about how he accomplished this quintessential pirate performance; especially when he spoke with a pitch-perfect posh neutral British accent in reality.

    [​IMG]

    So overall this film does not better the first Disney picture, I don't think that was ever possible. But overall this is a perfectly enjoyable rollicking 19th century set adventure. It's certainly no classic of the silver screen. It is a bit hokey at times and it certainly aims for more swashbuckling rather than overall historical accuracy that's for sure (although the accuracy is still good). This film came about mainly because of the popularity of Robert Newton as Long John Silver. That is the main reason why anyone now (who's seen the first film) would probably be interested in this; for Newton's over the top pirate.

    That aside, I wholeheartedly recommend this for anyone of any age with an interest in swashbuckling adventures, dastardly villains, and enduring one-legged rogues. Definitely worth showing your kids, but show them the original Disney film first.

    7/10
     
  2. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

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    I always enjoy reading your stuff Hubbs. Why don't you hang around here more? you are much missed. The pirate voice that everybody impersonates comes from Robert Newton in these movies. That's why it has a Cornish twang to it. It's interesting to know that tony Hancock was a Robert newton impersonator before he come famous. He does it very well to, as he does it in a few Hancock episodes
     
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  3. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

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    no-one seems to reply to hubbs but me. Don't you like hubbs or something? If the answer is no, then I can quite categorically state that you are all gits
     
  4. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    For me it's usually a case of TL;DR.
     
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  5. Ant E

    Ant E Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Yeah you’re such a fan of his, you used to refer to him as “super mario” because you couldn’t remember his name!!!
     
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  6. Nikki the Great

    Nikki the Great Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Well he never interacts with anyone on here anymore. He just appears occasionally to post a long-ass review of some film nobody gives a crap about, then sods off for months.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
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  7. Ant E

    Ant E Flight Co-Ordinator

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  8. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

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    That confirms it, you are gits
     
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  9. Pembers

    Pembers Console Officer

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    Long John Silver should just go back where he came from.
     
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  10. Nikki the Great

    Nikki the Great Flight Co-Ordinator

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    :lol::lol::lol::lol:
     
  11. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    Yes, that's why I can't be bothered spending time reading all the way through such a long post. And I'd like to point out that I do like Hubbs' reviews normally, but this is a film that I don't have any interest in and I'm never going to watch it so I'm not going to sit here wasting time reading about it.
     
  12. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Well I still like him
     
  13. Asclepius

    Asclepius Deck Sergeant

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    Why don't you post on imdb or something similar? Why here?
     
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  14. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

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    If your talking to me, I used to post on IMDb, then they stopped doing the film boards, which was by far the best thing on there. I will never know why they stopped doing the best thing on that site by miles
     
  15. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

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    If you're talking to Hubbs, then I dunno
     
  16. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    I'm pretty sure he means Hubbs.
     
  17. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Then I dunno
     
  18. Ant E

    Ant E Flight Co-Ordinator

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    I think that’s the quickest @neilold has ever answered a question :roll:

    Try this one: who bullied @BigOleDummy off the forum ?
     
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  19. Asclepius

    Asclepius Deck Sergeant

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    No, I'm not.
     
  20. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

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    Hubbs is going to be excited to see his thread has got loads of replies. He'll be crushed when he reads them.
     
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