Why don't "THEY" make movies like this one any longer?
Lawrence Rapchak | Whiting, IN United States | 12/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Captain's Courageous" is IT...the real thing....a truly great, heartfelt, classic film....arguably THE most emotionally compelling film of Hollywod's Golden Age.
Victor Fleming was known as a "MAN"S" director; so how did he produce one of the most perfectly paced, sensitive and outright BEAUTIFULLY loving "relationship" films of all time.....a story of a profound bond between a boy and a man who becomes his surrogate father? It's simply amazing.
OK...you have to overcome your initial reaction to Spencer Tracy's pseudo-"Portegoosie" (as John Carradine says) accent; after that...sit back and prepare to lose yourself in moviemaking at its finest.
Freddie Bartholomew....incredible performance! The growing bond between him and Spence....superbly wrought! The heaviness, the heartbreak of the film's final 15 minutes.....I experience it as if it were actually happening to me every time I watch it! This is one of those films that I am happy to know simply EXISTS...it's sitting there on the shelf, ready to be experienced any time, and that gives me great satisfaction.
The scene of conflict with Tracy and John Carradine....then the uncomfortable but caring bond that develops bewteen Carradine and Freddie Bartholomew near the end.....the reuniting of Freddie with Melvin Douglas....has there ever been a more revealing encounter? The final ceremony scene.....I've never been particularly moved by the hymn "Rock of Ages"; now the emotions well up when I even THINK about it.
Why Don't THEY make movies like this any longer????....BECAUSE THEY CAN'T! The world has changed..our values, our ways of viewing and expressing ourselves have become too "sophisticated" and cynical. Oh sure, Spielberg and others desperately TRY to go back to the sincerity and innocence of the age which produced "Captain's Courageous"....they do a decent job of conjuring, of IMITATING films of the Golden Age...but ...well, you simply CANNOT GO BACK.
If you want to experience the REAL THING----the sincere, honest, heartfelt emotional experience of a great story...GET THIS FILM.
AND FOR GOD"S SAKE (MGM, Turner...whoever..) GET IT OUT ON DVD! It's your RESPONSIBILITY to preserve these great films using the newest state-of-the-art technology. Believe me, when every last "BIG MOMMA's HOUSE" has been dead and buried as the CRAP that it is, "Captain's Courageous" will live on....and hopefully NOT only as a memory!"
I Urge You To See This Film!
djonn | Toronto, On | 12/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a marvelous movie about a spoiled, insecure child who brags, manipulates, and uses his wealth & positon to feel strong & good about himself (sound like anyone you know?). After being suspended from school for his antics he is dragged to Europe to accompany his father on a business trip. En route, he accidentenly falls overboard from the oceanliner (that's how they travelled in those days - - airplane travel was new, rare and horribly expensive) and is rescued by a fisherman. He learns his lesson, matures and acquires integrity through his association with the crew of fisherman & in particular Spencer Tracy's character.
This fine cast consists of legends who give wonderful performances: John Carradine, Lionel Barrymore, Mickey Rooney, Melvyn Douglas and of course, Spencer Tracy.
The film also gives you a rare glimpse into a way of life past. Today we have huge fishing ships that net miles of fish and have the canneneries right on board. Without it being intentional, the movie shows one what life was like when people still cared about the work they did and had pride in the honest work they had accomplished. And how many of us still entertain ourselves and family by singing together and/or playing a musical instrument rather than turning to solitary pursuits with electronic machinery? I am not waxing nostalgic for the days before the advent of universal elecricity! However, the movie is a snapshot in time of a not so distant past that inspires much food for thought.
You may show this movie to your children without fear;not only is there nothing unseemly in it, it has a valuable lesson to teach us all. And it is of much better quality than any of the so-called "family films" that have been produced in the last two decades. Moreover, it opens up many interesting topics for discussion.
HOLLYWOOD TAKE NOTE: you don't need punchy soundtracks, death defying stunts and high tech wizardry to make a good movie - - just an honest story, a good script and a fine cast. This movie proves that. It was made 70 yrs ago and we're still buying it.
My only complaint with this film is that it's not available on DVD.
MARCH 2006: Thank goodness, this wonderful film has been released on DVD. There are no real 'special features' to speak of but after having not seen the movie for a long time (I gave up my VCR years ago) I was just so glad to have the movie and share it with my family."
Best Seafaring Movie Ever
Michael N. Cantwell | 12/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I for one believe this is the best movie about men who go down to the sea in ships ever made. Spencer Tracy is magnificent as the Portugese cod fisherman, Manuel, and deserved his Oscar for this powerful and heartwarming (and heartbreaking) role. He more or less repeated the performance, accent and all, many years later in The Old Man and the Sea, a less successful film. The sailing and fishing scenes are true to life. You can almost smell the salt air and feel the swells on the old Grand Bank fishing ground. Excellent supporting performances by John Carradine, Lionel Barrymore and Mickey Rooney. Freddie Bartholomew is perfectly type cast as a spoiled rich kid, but Melvyn Douglas wasted in a minor part as his spoiled rich dad.A great film for the family!"
"Yo Ho Little Fish Don't Cry Don't Cry, Don't Cry" ~ Right
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 07/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Who could ever forget the image of happy-go-lucky Manuel Fidello (Spencer Tracy) turning the handle on his little accordion box singing in that gentle, infectious Portuguese accent, "Yo ho little fish don't cry don't cry". If you're a fan of classic films you know this is a scene from Spencer Tracy's signature movie, `Captains Courageous' released in '37.
Plot: Harvey (Freddie Bartholomew), an Ill-mannered rich kid falls overboard off a luxury vessel and finds himself adrift until a passing merchant fishing ship pulls him out of the sea. He is taken under the tutorage of his rescuer, a friendly Portuguese fisherman named Manuel. Harvey is initially hostile to the thought of having to obey orders and work for his room and board until the ship returns to dock, but eventually comes to understand the important lessons in life being imparted by Manuel. Before his adventure at sea is over he'll learn what it means to be a man.
This is without a doubt my favorite Spencer Tracy film and a story the entire family will enjoy. It's beautifully filmed with a tremendous cast which includes along with Spencer Tracy and Freddie Bartholomew the legendary Lionel Barrymore as Disko and John Carradine as Long Jack."