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A mischievous orphan with a knack for tall tales, Tom lives with his exasperated aunt in the riverfront town of Hannibal, Missouri. Along with his ragtag best friend Huckleberry Finn (Jeff East) and his fetching sweetheart Becky Thatcher, Tom's life is a series of clever and irrepressible adventures. But when he and Huck witness a crime, Tom must decide if he will risk his life to exonerate town bum Muff Potter (Warren Oates).
The 1973 version of Tom Sawyer features Mark Twain's young hero in a rousing musical adventure. Much to the exasperation of his Aunt Polly (Celeste Holm), Tom (Johnny Whitaker) likes nothing better than going fishing with Huck Finn (Jeff East, who reprised the role a year later in Huckleberry Finn), spinning a tall tale, or convincing the other boys to whitewash a fence for him. But life gets complicated when a pretty girl moves in to town (a 10-year-old Jodie Foster), and then a friend runs into serious trouble and only Tom can bail him out. It's not a letter-for-letter adaptation of Twain, but it's entertaining, and the music (songs by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, score by John Williams) is fun, with such songs as "Tom Sawyer," "Gratisfaction," and "Free Bootin'." It's less lavish than 1970's Oliver!, but should appeal to the same audience. Like Oliver!, however, some parental discretion is advised due to a sinister villain (Kunu Hank's Injun Joe), implied violence, and scary situations. --David HoriuchiSee all Editorial Reviews
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With that said, this DVD is mediocre and in need some a new release. This film represents kid's musicals of the time, along with Oliver!, etc, and should get more respect than MGM has done here. That's not to say the VHS is better, not by a long shot. Many shots are just fine, others have a graininess that was probably always there, but with some work this could be a cleaned up widescreen print that would make us fans happy. Probably won't ever get it...but if it ever comes (blu ray would be nice!) then they will sell at least one copy of it to me. Never can tell, what with all the PC nonsense that made the news recently about Twain's writings. Seems there are those who don't understand Twain in the least. Maybe they need to read the darn books!