Treasure Island (1950)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Costume Adventure, Family-Oriented Adventure, Sea Adventure  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Michael Betzold

The most popular and often-filmed of all pirate adventure stories is this Robert Louis Stevenson classic. It was filmed by MGM in 1934 and remade several times, but no version was more memorable than the 1950 Walt Disney effort. As Disney pictures go, Treasure Island was rather daring, with so much spectacle and violence that some of the battle sequences had to be edited out in some versions. At the heart of the film's appeal was the unique performance of Robert Newton as villain Long John Silver. Newton's combination of swagger, cruelty, and foppishness gives the film needed weight, since so much of the suspense depends on the young protagonist's fear and loathing of his nemesis. Many a young child's nightmares were filled with Newton's characterization of Silver, and Treasure Island was a prime example of the criticism that Disney's successful pictures depend as much on instilling fear as on providing comfort.