Tom Sawyer: Movie Version

Tom Sawyer: Movie Version

ISBN 978-1-937714-21-5

Study Guide compares the novel Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain to the movie version The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938) Even though the movie omits 15 chapters of the book, this old colorized film follows the book with a few exceptions. The main plot lines and characters are fairly accurate, and a lot of the dialogue in the book is used in the movie. The ending of the movie does not match what happens in the book, and the subplot involving Huckleberry Finn and Widow Douglas is left out. Despite these flaws, the film is still the best movie version of the book.


THE MOVIE VERSION OF TOM SAWYER 
IS NOT LIKE THE BOOK by Mark Twain

RECOMMENDED MOVIE:  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938) starring Tommy Kelly, May Robson, Walter Brennan, Victor Jory and Philip Hurlic. Directed by Norman Taurog. Produced by David O. Selznick.

WHAT’S IN THE BOOK THAT’S NOT IN THE MOVIE?
Playing Robin Hood, turtle eggs, storm, anatomy book, Alfred Temple, Mr. Dobbins’ toupee, haunted house, the Spaniard, den Number Two, the Welshman, Temperance Tavern, plot to disfigure Widow Douglas, Huck’s illness, investment of the gold, Huck’s adoption by Widow Douglas.

WHAT’S IN THE MOVIE THAT’S NOT IN THE BOOK?
Amy’s peppermint, “Adam and Eve,” Becky’s drawing of Mr. Dobbins, Aunt Polly’s thimble, Injun Joe’s throwing a knife at Tom, hayride to the picnic, king’s throne, Tom’s killing Injun Joe, tomatoes thrown at Sid, strawberry shortcake

WHAT’S THE SAME?
Whitewashing the fence, Painkiller, Huck and Tom witness a murder, Jackson Island, the funeral for Tom, Huck, and Joe, Muff Potter’s trial, Injun Joe’s escape, Tom and Becky lost in the cave, Tom and Huck recovering the gold

THE MOVIE: SUMMARY
The following is a scene-by-scene comparison of the movie to the corresponding chapters in the book.

THE MOVIE: CHAPTER 1

OPENING SCENE: Tom and Jim ride on the back of a wagon through the streets of St. Petersburg. (ERROR: Not in the book) Tom and Jim go swimming in the river. (ERROR: In the book Tom does not go swimming with Jim) Tom Sawyer’s Aunt Polly is looking for him. (ACCURATE) Jim distracts Aunt Polly with a discussion of which wood he should chop while Tom sneaks in the house. (ERROR: Not in the book)

At the dinner table Aunt Polly suspects that Tom has skipped school to go swimming. (ACCURATE) Aunt Polly feels Tom’s wet hair. (ERROR: Not in the book) Tom dodges Aunt Polly’s close questioning. (ACCURATE) Sid says Tom should read the Bible more. (ERROR: Not in the book) Aunt Polly examines Tom’s collar which is sewn on. (ACCURATE) Sid points out that Tom’s collar is sewn with black thread, not the white thread used by Aunt Polly. (ACCURATE) Tom threatens Sid for telling on him and runs out the door. (ACCURATE)

OMISSIONS: Aunt Polly catches Tom as he comes out of the pantry with jam on his face. Aunt Polly has told him not to eat the jam. She prepares to punish Tom with a switch. Tom escapes, climbs over a fence and disappears. Aunt Polly laughs to herself. She does not have the heart to whip her dead sister’s child whom she is trying to raise. She observes that Tom does not like work, but she will continue to do her duty to raise him right.

Tom skips school. He helps Jim, an African-American boy, chop wood before supper. Jim chops while Tom entertains him with stories of his adventures. Tom’s younger half-brother Sid picks up the wood chips. Sid is quiet and does not have adventurous ways.

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  • Tom Sawyer: Movie Version 2