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(Review originally written at 18 June 2008)

The movie has a great story about a rich spoiled brat who falls overboard on an ocean liner and gets picked up by a crew member of a fishing vessel. They can't take him back home immediately and he has to remain aboard the vessel for three months. The spoiled brat needs to adapt himself to the crew and hard life aboard the vessel, while the crew members in return also have a hard time exception the kid as one of them. But of course aboard the ship he learns far more than fishing. He learns about life and its values and about the 'real' world. The movie has a dramatic story with several themes weaved in to it, such as most notably the father son relationship. It's however not a sappy over-the-top type of drama, as you would perhaps expect from a '30's movie. It's such a well layered story.

It's even more interesting since its being told from the viewpoint of the young character. Quite unusual for a drama, especially for one made in 1937, which makes this movie basically very good to watch for both adults as more younger people, even though it would be of course hard now days to interest them in an '30's movie. Despite being dramatic it also is above all really an adventurous movie to watch, especially for youngster of the same age as the movie its main character. It aren't really two genres that are commonly being mixed, which makes this an unique and great movie because of that reason already.

The movie has a great cast. Of course the '30's were the golden age of child actors and Freddie Bartholomew is one of those great child actors of the '30's. Other and better known child actor Mickey Rooney also plays a role in this movie, although his role is actually quite small. Second main lead of the movie is being played by Spencer Tracy. If you didn't knew it was Spencer Tracy, you would had a hard time recognizing him in his role. I think this is also the foremost reason why he won an Oscar for his role in this movie. He completely becomes a different character, of Portugese heritage. The supporting cast is surprisingly filled with lots of big names such as Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas and John Carradine. All are well cast and play their parts great.

The movie is importantly also a great looking one and most of the story is of course set aboard the boat. If there is one movie that could ever get you seasick it's this movie. The movie gives a good and realistic portrayal of life on the open sea. And despite the fact that the movie is mostly set aboard a boat, it isn't a movie that ever bores and there is always something happening in this movie, mostly thanks to its characters and actors that are portraying them.

It might very well be the best adventure drama you will ever see!

8/10

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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