Huckleberry Finn (TV Movie 1975) Poster

(1975 TV Movie)

User Reviews

Review this title
5 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
My LEAST fav film version of this story
BadWebDiver1 October 2004
This is my least favorite film adaptation of this classic story (except for some very cheesy family TV series which had nothing in connection with the story except the title and the names of some of the characters!)

I think it is way stodgy, and over-patronizing. It's almost like a high-school English essay version of the novel written by a B-grade student who doesn't follow the language very well. Either that or an early reader version written for lower grade-school kids. Either way, the pacing is very slow and self-conscious. It is almost too obvious that this is a famous story, even the characters know it! And much as I like and respect Ron Howard as a child actor, he is way too old, gushy and patronizing in this.

My only real favorite moments were with Jack Elam as the "King", but that character virtually plays itself in nearly every version. (It's hard to imagine anyone not being fun in that - except for a very lame production indeed!) Ron's father Rance does moderately well as Pa, if a bit too quiet and self-consciously "literary" in the role.

OK, this is not supposed to be a docudrama, and most people (or at least most film reviewers) seem to prefer versions of classic stories that sound "classical" and have themes that stick out like a sore thumb. But even so, I still like both the previous Sherman Brothers' musical version; and both the Elijah Wood Disney version and the Patrick Day tele-series that came afterward a whole heap better than this.

(There are a few other versions I haven't seen yet, and would **really** like to. The Mickey Rooney version in particular.)
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I was a stand-in and action estra for this film when i was a a kid at 24yrs
Well it was a 10 to me.It was my first film id ever worked in. I was never interested in film and didn't even know anyone in school plays much less. Then out of left field.... I got the job as a fluke when i answered an add in the local paper. I stood in for Royal Dano and jack Ilam. I got to do an extra scene a couple times. I was at the lead of city folks that chased the king and the other dufas along the seen throwing my hat down at the end of the chase when the two rascals we chased ,shoved off in a boat and escaped. The filming was in the winter of 74 lightly swollen Sacramento River near colusa Ca. Ron howards family was there and they were so nice to us peons . One thing that surprised me was the water lines they even painted on the buildings about 6 ft or so off the ground to simulate the mississippi standing flood levels before there were levees high enough to contain the river. I had been staring at them from a distance wondering how the water level got that high on farm land here. It would have been big news if a levee had broke to cause those high marks. When I asked the script person about it,he laughed and told me they had been painted on for realism. i don't think you could even see it on film,but is was real and on every building on the vacant farm we were shooting at. They were very exacting about details like that. i rarely notice that level of authenticity anymore. It rained lightly off and on the entire shoot and i recal seeing merle haggard and others sitting in the chowhouse gambling the time away until they could resume shooting. The big production companies always had good food too.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Even the Mississippi river isn't this soggy!
TheLittleSongbird16 October 2013
One of the weakest, perhaps the weakest, adaptations of a good if not great book(Prince and the Pauper and Tom Sawyer, also by Mark Twain, thrill me much more though and are more accessible). And that is when judged on its own. The charming costumes and sets, Royal Dano's credibly delivered Mark Twain- though his presence wasn't really needed-and especially Jack Elam's lively performance are the only things that redeem Huckleberry Finn just a little. Everything else is a bit of an embarrassment to be honest with you. Rance Howard does his best but is far too restrained for a character that requires the opposite and the supporting characters are just dull and suffer from underwritten characters and non-existent development to them. Even worse were the performances of Ron Howard and Donny Most, that they are too old for their roles is one thing but the energy, innocence and resourcefulness that shape the characters of Huck and Tom are completely lost, instead they are rather lumbering and patronising. The relationship between Huck and Jim is even more interesting in the book and other adaptations, but bad characterisation and atmosphere made it nowhere near believable enough, there is not the sense that they care for one another and at no point can you relate to them or their friendship. But the worst part about this adaptation of Huckleberry Finn was that it never came to life. The direction is soggy, while the pacing is so ponderous it severely dilutes the adventure, nostalgia and thrills that makes Huckleberry Finn worth the read. The story is also over-simplified to the extent that it is not very easy to completely comprehend and everything, including the clumsily adapted dialogue, just feels banal when the characterisation and atmosphere is so diluted. The presence of the narrating of Mark Twain wasn't necessary, it didn't allow the story to speak for itself and it distracted rather than added to anything. The photography is not necessarily amateurish, but it looks as though little energy or enthusiasm was put into it, reminiscent of very simplistic TV quality. All in all, soggy, dull and banality of of the quite bad kind. A few decent things here and there but much of it is disappointingly poor, the 1974 musical and 1993 Elijah Wood adaptations were not perfect but they are much better than this. 3/10 Bethany Cox
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
They should have made this sooner!
katesgram7 August 2005
This movie was a good one to share with kids- no fears of bad language- sex -etc as in todays movies. The one thing I truly wish is that they would have made this version 10 years sooner when Ron Howard and Donny Most were the right ages to play Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Even with "babyish" faces they look at least 20 and not the 14 or 15 that they should have been. Ron was about the perfect guy to play the part when he was the right age. I am thinking about the time The Andy Griffith Show ended would have been the right time to do it. The fight scene with Pap made this even more clear. Granted a boy in that era might not have wanted to fight with his father but Ron was actually as big or bigger than his dad. Made the scene too unbelievable. And Donny was even bigger. I would have absolutely loved it had it been made with the same characters earlier. That said I give it an 8 - and earlier version would have gotten a 10.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"Happy Days" kids play dress-up.
mark.waltz10 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
After the end of "The Andy Griffith Show", Ron Howard would have made a perfect Tom Sawyer, but instead ended up miscast as Huck instead. While an attempted edge is there, Howard lacks it, too tame and conforming to truly ever be Mark Twain's free and independent, untied to anything hero. Even worse, "Happy Days" costar Donny Most is cast as Tom Sawyer, true miscasting if there ever was. Fortunately, his screen time is very limited. This is also a cliff notes version of the often controversial novel, toned down for TV and only tackling a tiny bit of the anti- slavery/anti-racism message that still stirs debate over Twain's intentions/attitudes. Coming at a turbulent time in American history, it's a shame that this doesn't show the brutality of what runaway slave Jim (an excellent Antonio Fargas) would go through.

One shining moment is a brief musical interlude praising the Mississippi, a preview of things to come a decade later with the Roger Miller musical version of the novel, "Big River". Genuine looking illustrations end acts between commercial breaks. Several members of Howard's real family have small roles, but it's Royal Dano as Twain acting as narrator/on-looker, along with Jack Elam and Merle Haggard as the two con-artists who steer Huck's raft into a heap of trouble. The way this is presented never fully grabs me, proving that even in professional hands, great novels can be misrepresented. This is one film that I highly recommend that teachers of American literature avoid when they use visual aides to promote reading. Even cliff notes would provide a better aide than this.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed