Tom Sawyer [VHS]
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Product Description

The 1973 version of Tom Sawyer features Mark Twain's young hero in a rousing musical adventure. Much to the exasperation of his Aunt Polly (Celeste Holm), Tom (Johnny Whitaker) likes nothing better than going fishing with Huck Finn (Jeff East, who reprised the role a year later in Huckleberry Finn), spinning a tall tale, or convincing the other boys to whitewash a fence for him. But life gets complicated when a pretty girl moves in to town (a 10-year-old Jodie Foster), and then a friend runs into serious trouble and only Tom can bail him out. It's not a letter-for-letter adaptation of Twain, but it's entertaining, and the music (songs by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, score by John Williams) is fun, with such songs as "Tom Sawyer," "Gratisfaction," and "Free Bootin'." It's less lavish than 1970's Oliver!, but should appeal to the same audience. Like Oliver!, however, some parental discretion is advised due to a sinister villain (Kunu Hank's Injun Joe), implied violence, and scary situations. --David Horiuchi

Customer Reviews:

  • Tom Sawyer
    Definitely not as described. No refund. No contact from the seller. DO NOT trust this item's description!...more info
  • Why no Widescreen?
    I would love to buy this movie as I have been to Hannibal Missouri and been to all the Mark Twain atractions.To buy this movie would be a real treat but if it's Pan&Scan forget it! I dont buy full screen movies! Unless it's made for TV.I think MGM should of included a widescreen version of the movie.What a joke!...more info
  • Shame on MGM - Waste of Panavision
    I agree with all of the others about the Pan and Scan travesty. One of the things I loved about this movie was the beautiful 70 mm cinematography. I couldn't wait for this to come to DVD and they ruined it. One of my favorite movies as a child. Make sure to go to [...]/dvd to let them know your displeasure. Maybe they will stop releasing poor quality versions of movies on DVD. I am giving the DVD 3 stars only so that others who have never seen it will realize that the movie itself is wonderful - 4 or 5 stars....more info
  • NOT PAN AND SCAN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Once again, the idiots in charge of DVD at MGM/UA give us a pan and scan version of this wonderful, FILMED IN PANAVISION film. Why is it the laserdisc version was not only letterbox, but had the Overture as well ????? What happened with the DVD ????? STAY AWAY FROM THIS ONE, unless you can track down an old Laserdisc copy. WAKE UP MGM/UA !!!!!!!! ...more info
  • Waste of a release!
    I remember seeing this movie when I was a kid at Radio City Music Hall in New York. I really loved it and as DVD's became more and more popular over the years I waited anxiously for the release of Tom Sawyer. All I can say is this.................
    IF A MOVIE IS FILMED IN WIDESCREEN FORMAT THEN PLEASE RELEASE IT IN WIDESCREEN ON DVD. Don't waste your money on this until the studios wise up....more info
  • A Jonny Whitaker Fan
    I have been waiting for this movie to come out on dvd. I think the movie is a good one. Jonny Whitaker was great as Tom Sawyer and Jeff East was good as Huck Fun. All the actors were great. I own the tape and the dvd. I would recommend this movie to every one who likes tom sawyer and musicals....more info
  • As a musical version - - - four stars
    Granted, this film diverts from Mark Twain's classic novel more often than it should.

    However, this is a musical.... and I hope will be judged as such.

    I was disappointed in the fact that the original story is quite diluted.... even to the point of having only two boys (Tom and Huck) run away to Jackson's Island, with no Joe Harper in sight.

    Yet I still enjoyed this film. The songs were fun and original, and admittedly, I'm a bit partial to musical productions anyway.

    Johnny Whitaker plays a believable "Tom", and Jeff East is well cast as the rugged "Huck". With a very young Jody Foster in the role of Tom's "Becky", the casting was above par.

    And although many aspects & elements of Twain's classic novel are missing from this rendition..... Tom is still that barefooted, mop-headed youngster - - full of mischief and quick to gain sympathy from even the most hard-hearted of souls... and this is the true character of a young Tom Sawyer.... whom even Samuel Clemens could not deny as an epitome of the semi-autobiographical boyhood novel he chose to create....more info
  • the kids love it
    For the parents out there - my 3 and 5 year olds love this movie. They sing the songs and pretend to be Huck and Tom. There is no violence or bad language. Note: my 3 year old doesn't get much of what is going on in the movie, so he probably enjoys watching it because of his big brother. He has learned the words to the song that Huck and Tom sing, though.
    You can also use this movie to discuss the value of honesty and doing the right thing even when it is the difficult thing to do....more info
    If You will buy this DVD you only see half of the film.

    IT IS PAN & SCAN not the original format.

    I do not understand how the Author's Artistic Rights permits an assassination like this.

    Jo?o Pereira Bastos
    ...more info
  • Tom Sawyer review
    Great movie.
    Just as I remembered kids loved it, even in this day and age.
    Came quickly and was a brand new movie.
    Enjoy!...more info
  • It was okay but some chapters boring
    It was okay but in some chapters it was boring ...more info
  • Take a Gander as Tom Sawyer Sings
    I hadn't heard of this 1973 movie version of the classic Mark Twain story until recently, but I absolutely had to see it. After all, it had music by the Sherman Brothers (best known for their work in Mary Poppins). And I love a good musical.

    The book stays very true to the novel. Tom Sawyer (Johnny Whitaker) is a young boy growing up in 1840's Hannibal, Missouri. An orphan, he's being raised by his Aunt Polly (Celeste Holm). And he is quite the handful. He regularly plays hooky to fish and swim with best pal Huckleberry Finn (Jeff East). He constantly lies to get out of trouble, too.

    Through this movie, we watch as Tom struggles with his conscience after witnessing a murder in the cemetery. He tricks the boys in town to white washing the fence for him. And he develops a crush on new girl Becky Thatcher (a young Jodie Foster). But will Injun Joe (Kunu Hank) get his sworn revenge on the boy?

    This movie is extremely faithful to the book, hitting all the highlights of the classic. Frankly, that was a problem for me since it took a little while to get going. Once I got into the story, I was hooked and really began to enjoy the tale. The scenery and costumes recreate the times well. And the acting was pretty good.

    Unfortunately, I found the songs disappointing. They weren't bad, but they weren't good either. They aren't especially memorable or singable, and they don't really advance the story. I would rather rewatch this movie for the characters and adventures then the songs.

    Despite that rather major flaw for a musical, I must admit to enjoying it. It has a sweetness and innocence that I enjoyed. And the songs are easy to overlook since they aren't a major part of the movie. So if you are looking for a fun version of the classic tale, you can do much worse than this one....more info
    According to a scan of the DVD's back, this film is NOT letterboxed, but Pan & Scan. SHame on MGM, what they did to "Hawaii" earlier this year, they are doing to this title....more info
  • Why only full screen?
    I, too, saw this wonderful movie when it first came out, and it was shown in the CinemaScope aspect ratio. I waited for years for the DVD to come out, and when it did, I ordered it immediately. It came today, and I am returning it tomorrow. I don't buy pan-and-scan versions of 'scope movies. I just assumed when I ordered it that it would be the widescreen version. Please beg MGM to issue a widescreen version! How could they ruin it like this?...more info
  • False advertising on this DVD
    The advertisment for this DVD on Amazon was incorrect. The ad stated that the DVD was in Wide Screen Anamorphic format. The DVD was not in this format, it was standard Pan and Scan, and it was a poor quality transfer from the film. I thought about returning it, but decided to give it as a gift. Motion Pictures that are filmed in anamorphic, or 2.35 to 1 format should only be transfered to a DVD in this format. The people that make the decision to use pan and scan to fill a standard television are ill advised, and poorly educated to artistic principles....more info
  • Wonderful film! Terrible DVD.
    This is a favorite from my childhood. I saw it in the theatre when it was first released, and I owned the album and the (widescreen) laser disc.

    I was so disappointed to see that this was a full frame transfer, and a lousy one at that! One of the biggest thrills of this movie was its wide open vistas of the Mississippi River and the wonderful cinematography. This DVD release from MGM/UA is grainy, dark and at times fuzzy. The sound is terrible too, and it was terrific on the laser disc in 5.1 surround. You're missing the wonderful, detailed orchestrations by John Williams of the tuneful Sherman Brothers score. I would only recommend this DVD to you if you HAVE to own a copy of it, even a bad one. I suppose it's better than nothing at all. But not by much.

    My hope is now that Fox owns the MGM/UA library they will properly restore and release this movie, with a remastered soundtrack and interviews with Whitaker, Foster and East. It was a hit, back in the day. Nominated for 3 Oscars, a favorite from my childhood, and I'd like to see it given the treatment it richly deserves....more info
    MGM issued this on laserdisc a few years back in letterbox format, and an audio commentary track with Johnny Whitaker. It takes them THIS long to get the movie out on DVD, and when they finally do they use a PAN & SCAN transfer, and don't include the commentary track! Thanks for nothing MGM, time to hunt down that laserdisc....more info
  • Very Please
    Very please with DVD.Arrived in record time.Excellent condition as brand new.Packaged great.Movie is great.Thanks.! Will order again.Thelma...more info
  • Energetic, sunny adaptation
    Made at a time when the inclusion of songs was all but compulsory for a family film, this musical adaptation nonetheless manages to translate the best aspects of Twain's book to the screen. The movie does an impressive job of creating a dramatic shape out of Twain's material. The book is a collection of episodes which form a composite portrait of Tom's character, and, for adult readers, offer a glimpse into a lost world; but there really is no narrative drive. The murder and Tom's subsequent dilemma about testifying in court are simply two episodes unconnected to the other events. In the book, the boys simply decide one day to form a gang of robbers and go live on the island. In the movie, the retreat to the island arises out of the boys' fear after having witnessed the murder, and it is only the guilt they feel while spying on their own funeral that makes them return home. The songs are not especially memorable, but harmless enough. The performances by the supporting adult cast are strong, particularly that of Celeste Holm as Aunt Polly. A splendid scene at the dinner table is a masterful fleshing-out of Twain's prose. Full of nice photography and beautiful scenery, this movie sparkles with joy and youthful optimism....more info