Good old Golden Rule days (?)
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 08/11/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"TOM BROWN'S SCHOOLDAYS is a British remake of the 1940 Jimmy Lydon picture (both are based on the 1857 Thomas Hughes novel), which was itself a remake of a sient film. In it, Tom is a student at venerable Rugby boarding school (founded 1567). A long-standing legend, similar to American Abner Doubleday's formal creation of baseball, says that a Rugby student named William Webb Ellis set down the rules of a rugged field game that has since taken the school's name. Neither stories are likely true.
The star of this movie, John Howard Davies, is closer in age to Hughes' Tom (11) than Lydon (who's best known for the Henry Aldrich series), however the earlier version adheres more closely to the book.
As a new arrival at Rugby, Tom like all before him must endure forms of hazing. His ordeals are worse than most other boys experience, as Flashman the school bully makes him a target. Tom undergoes various humiliations and tortures (including having his legs singed by a roaring fire) but eventually gets revenge on Flashman with the help of his friend, 'Scud' East.
Robert Newton plays the school's most renowned headmaster, Dr. Thomas Arnold, a reformer whose many innovations helped forged the modern British public school system. Newton is best known for his flamboyant portrayal in film and on TV of peglegged pirate Long John Silver.
Although this movie has a higher imdb rating, I prefer the '40 version for its superior cast (Jimmy, Freddie, Billy Halop and Cedric Hardwicke, plus Polly Moran and Gale Storm).
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 imdb viewer poll rating.
(7.2) Tom Brown's Schooldays (UK-1951) - John Howard Davies/Robert Newton/John Charlesworth/John Forrest/Max Bygraves/Diana Wynyard/Hermione Badderley/Kathleen Byron"