Thursday, June 14, 2018

Treasure Island: The Stockade Fight (1934 vs. 1990)

Let's compare two different versions of a scene from two different adaptations of Treasure Island.

This is the Stockade fight from Chapter 21 of the novel. The two versions were made 54 years apart. There have been countless other adaptations of various quality made over the years, but these two are my personal favorites.

Though I normally prefer older, back-and-white movies, I have to give the 1990 version the win here. Adding a cannon to the fight increases the tension dramatically (though this is a departure from the book in an otherwise very faithful adaptation.)

Also, the background music helps a lot. The 1934 movie was made early in the Sound Era and having a musical score for an entire movie was not yet common. King Kong, made a year earlier, was an important innovator in adding music to a movie, but the practice hadn't caught on completely. The lack of music in the 1934 scene is a notable deficiency when compared to the 1990 scene, which features excellent music by the Chieftains at key moments.

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