Shiver me timbers if it isn't Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island for the fifth time and with a cast that only grand old M-G-M could provide. It is also perhaps the most brutal version of all, what with poor Blind Pew (William V. Mong mercilessly run over by Dr. Livesey's (Otto Kruger) coach, and in medium close-up to boot. Director Victor Fleming pulls no punches and the bodies soon litter both the top deck of the Hispanola and that blasted island itself. Stevenson's lusty tale is of course created with the likes of Jackie Cooper, Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, et al. in mind and in comparison to the featured stars such a seasoned ham as Nigel Bruce, as the squire, remains the very picture of modesty and restraint. So what if the screenwriters tinkered a bit with the text in order to play up Wallace Beery's lovable idiosyncrasies? And what does it matter if little Jackie Cooper is more suggestive of the hills of Beverly than the windswept coast of Wales? Treasure Island, by way of Culver City and Catalina, is still rousing good entertainment for children of all ages.
by Hans J. Wollstein review