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I saw this film as a child and the only things I remember were that it was very slow paced and that Orson Welles was completely unintelligible. He makes James Dean look like a linguist. A sad misstep for an often brilliant actor.
At first glance, Orson Welles did indeed seem to be woefully mis-cast in this bastardized [French, Italian, Spanish, British, West German and who knows what else] version of the Stevenson classic. Fortunately, by the second or third viewing you start to focus less on Welles articulation and more on the film itself. It is a menacing version. From the moment ships’ cook Silver opens the galley window with his crutch and demands ‘Three cheers for Cap’n Smollett!’ this version is dripping with evil. And Welles is just the actor [and his mumbling delivery is deliberately utilized] to bring that evil into sharp focus. Kim Burfield is superb as Jim Hawkins [a kid alternately scared-to-death and naively cocky] , and even when Silver asserts that ‘I thinks gold-dust of this here boy!’ you know the kid’s in trouble. That international crew of pirates brings an air of realism to the production [even if their lips aren’t always moving in synchronization with the spoken dialogue] which an all-En…
I find this to be the definitive version of Treasure Island. I thought that Orson Wells’s performance was exactly what it needed to be as a pirate. He was evil, but charming, violent but kind, he was as two sided as a coin. In my mind that is what a pirate is romantically. I saw this film first when I was 10 years old approximately and loved it then. I saw it again in the 1990’s and fell in love with it again. With all the bad, weird and annoying versions of this classic novel like treasure planet (lame!) It is nice to have a standard to base them upon in cinematic form. This is it. Not Orson Wells greatest film by far but an enjoyable treat yes!