Captains Courageous [1937]

The award-winning 1937 version of Kipling's classic Captains Courageous finds spoiled-rotten brat Harvey Cheyne (Freddie Bartholomew) well on the way to becoming a horrible adult, under the illusion that money can buy all happiness. The little monster falls off a cruise ship, and is fished out of the drink by Portuguese fisherman Manuel (Spencer Tracy) and brought back to his fishing boat. Though the overprivileged lad initially chafes at being put to work aboard the smelly vessel, he eventually learns the value of a day's work and learns lessons in life that make him a functional person and bring him several steps closer to manhood. Despite Tracy's indeterminate accent, he excels in his role as the boy's friend, and enthusiastic performances from the rest of the cast bring this coming-of-age tale to life. It's a film that has lost none of its sentimental appeal (or occasional hamminess) over the years and should have an all-ages appeal to fans of Hollywood classics. --Jerry Renshaw

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