The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a U.S. movie from 1938, based on the novel of the same name by Mark Twain, directed by Norman Taurog starring Tommy Kelly in the title role. It was the first film version of the novel to be made in color (Technicolor).
Tommy Kelly (born in 1925) was 12 when the film was produced. It was his first film role.
The United Artists release includes most of the sequences familiar to readers of the book, including the fence-whitewashing episode; a wild raft ride down the Mississippi River; Tom and Huckleberry Finn's attendance at their own funeral, after the boys, who were enjoying an adventure on a remote island, are presumed dead; the murder trial of local drunkard Muff Potter; and Tom and Becky Thatcher's flight through a cave as they try to escape from Injun Joe, who is revealed to be the real killer.
The spanking scenes
The film starts with a scene in which Aunt Polly discoveres that Tom has been playing hookey. Tom is sent to his room, but climbs out of the window. As he climbs down the downspout, Aunt Polly already stand there awaiting him. She gives him a whack with a shingle on his bottom (F/m), upon which he immediately climbs up again to evade further trouble. The scene is humorous because in a slapstick comedy style, no words are spoken and the viewers understand that both Tom and Aunt Polly are very used to this kind of "paddle whack communication".
The shingle is put to use again in the fence whitewashing scene.
Later is the classic schoolroom scene in which Becky Thatcher draws a caricature of their teacher on her slate. The teacher finds the slate and is furious. He asks the pupils who did it. When he comes to Becky, she does not answer. The teacher walks to where he has a collection of switches in different sizes hanging on the wall. He selects the thinnest and calls Becky to him. At this moment, Tom stands up and says that he was the one who did it. The teacher then orders Tom to him and bends him over for a switching on his (clothed) bottom. Just before the first stroke, he exchanges the switch for the biggest one he has. Tom receives eight strokes (M/m). After he is returned to the class, Becky writes the message "How could you be so noble?" on her slate and smiles at Tom.
When Aunt Sally boxes Tom's ears for breaking a sugar jar, which in fact not he but his half-brother Sid had done, and when she, on learning who it really was, does not even apologize to Tom, he is hurt so deeply that he runs away from home. Two friends join him and the three boys spend some days hiding by the river, playing pirates. Their families search for them in vain and come to believe they must have drowned. The boys return in the middle of their own funeral service, to everyone's great surprise and relief. When asked who saved them, Tom truthfully replies "Nobody, we were just playing pirates." Aunt Polly: "Just wait till I get you home." The scene fades into black, and fades into the next scene with a close-up zooming out of Tom rubbing his hurting bottom.
At the end of the film, Tom is celebrated as a hero. In the middle of the party he throws a pie into Sid's face. Sid cries out his catch line, "Aunt Polly!", and runs to his aunt to be comforted. But this time the unexpected happens: it is not Tom but Sid whose face is being slapped.
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