ⓘ Huckleberry Finn (1974 film)

Huckleberry Finn (1974 film)

ⓘ Huckleberry Finn (1974 film)

Huckleberry Finn is a 1974 musical film version of Mark Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The movie was produced by Readers Digest and Arthur P. Jacobs known for his role in the production of the Planet of the Apes films and directed by J. Lee Thompson. It stars Jeff East as Huckleberry Finn and Paul Winfield as Jim. The film contains original music and songs, such as "Freedom" and "Cairo, Illinois", by the Sherman Brothers: Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

This film followed the previous years highly successful Tom Sawyer, based on Twains novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, also produced and written by the same team and starring East in the role of Huckleberry Finn.


1. Synopsis

Huckleberry Finn Jeff East is a boy from Missouri living with a kindly widow and her sister who has taken him in. One day his father Gary Merrill, previously thought dead, shows up because he heard of treasure Huck had found. Hucks father essentially kidnaps the boy, wanting $1.000 for his safe return. Staging his own death, Huck escapes and meets up with the kindly slave Jim Paul Winfield. Together they travel downriver, in search of Jims freedom.


2. Cast

  • Jean Fay as Susan Wilks
  • Lucille Benson as Widow Douglas
  • Harvey Korman as The King
  • Odessa Cleveland as Jims wife
  • Kim OBrien as Maryjane Wilks
  • Paul Winfield as Jim
  • David Wayne as The Duke
  • Gary Merrill as Pap
  • Natalie Trundy as Mrs. Loftus
  • Arthur OConnell as Col. Grangerford
  • Ruby Leftwich as Miss Watson
  • Jeff East as Huckleberry Finn

3. Setbacks in the films production

The 1974 movie faced numerous setbacks in production. There was the sudden death of producer Arthur Jacobs halfway through the shoot. Director J. Lee Thompson had problems with the synchronized musical direction. The third major problem was the unfortunate timing of writer Robert B. Shermans knee operation.

Without a producer, the film crew had difficulties managing the actors. Roberta Flack sang "Freedom" but insisted on having a guitar backing to her recording. She later threatened to sue if the original cast album was released with a dominant orchestral backing, and so although the album was recorded and printed, it was never released.

Despite these setbacks, the film still achieved some success and some of the films songs, including "Freedom", are still considered classics.


4. Songs

The songs and score were written by the Sherman Brothers.

  • Freedom ". Sung by Roberta Flack who did not approve of the musical arrangement and threatened a lawsuit if the original cast album were not remixed to her liking.
  • Into His Hands ". Sung by Harvey Korman.
  • Whats Right, Whats Wrong? Sung by Jeff East.
  • Someday, Honey Darlin ". Sung by Paul Winfield.
  • A Rose In A Bible ".
  • Rotten Luck ". Sung by Gary Merrill the entire song was filmed sans-sync except for the final line of the song in which we see Merrill look back at the cabin and say, "And now my luck. It aint so bad!".
  • The Royal Nonesuch ". Sung by Harvey Korman.
  • Royalty! ". Sung by Harvey Korman and David Wayne.
  • Cairo, Illinois ". Sung by Jeff East and Paul Winfield.
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