Do They Have to Wreck ‘Treasure Island’?

Wallace Beery as Long John Silver in 1934–still the best!

One of our favorite movies is Treasure Island, the 1934 version with Wallace Beery as Long John Silver and Jackie Cooper as Jim Hawkins.

But there are many movie versions of this story, and I thought Patty might enjoy receiving one for Christmas. So I looked at all the versions that have been filmed since 1950.

Not even classic films and stories are safe from knuckleheads who want to fundamentally transform them.

In one version, Dr. Livesey is portrayed as a coward. In another, Squire Trelawney is a treacherous rogue. In yet another, the doctor and the squire get together to cut Jim out of his share of the treasure, forcing him to side with Long John and the pirates. In a fourth, everybody’s rotten.

I don’t propose to add any of these to our movie collection.

Well, it raises a question, doesn’t it?

Has our culture been so debauched, so corrupted, that no one can even tell a story anymore? Not even a story that has already been written? Are they unable to face themselves in the mirror unless they’ve taken a wonderful, straight, adventure story and transformed it into a post-modern gaggle of nasty characters who all belong in jail? Is this what convinces them that they’re sophisticated?

This age is no longer able to tell the difference between sophisticated and sophomoric.

Wallace Beery, you still da man.

2 comments on “Do They Have to Wreck ‘Treasure Island’?

  1. It’s like a radio signal that comes in loud and clear with Wallace Berry’s famous voice. Then culture becomes corrupt and all new attempts to duplicate Berry’s success in “Treasure Island” only distorts the radio signal to the point it is unlistenable.

    I love Robert Louis Stevenson’s writings. He ended up retiring in Samoa and did much to help those island people. They have erected a shrine where he is buried, and his home there is now a museum.

  2. I’ve noticed that virtually all movies, these days, try to outdo what ever came before. The bad guys are no longer believable, the good guys frequently are portrayed as seriously flawed individuals. It seems that the notion of moderation has become all but obsolete these days.

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