Captains Courageous is a lighthearted tale about a snobbish young boy from a well brought up family forced to work in a lower class situation by circumstances beyond his control. It is a humbling and iconoclastic film, one that teaches a lesson to the boy and to all of us as well.
Freddie Bartholomew is a perfect child star in this film; he is young and fresh-faced, and plays his role very well. I’ve said it before; the young and the old have that magic something that makes them spectacular actors given the situations. Spencer Tracy does an excellent job backing up the young lad as the one major friend he makes on his journey through the lower class life. The director is none other than Victor Fleming, who would go on to become widely known and regarded as the director of Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Here, he makes a much more subdued and smaller-scaled film, but one with just as much interest and teaching power as his later works (well, almost).
This is a fine film to enjoy on a night of movie watching, a real popcorn flick of the 1930s; one that spares no expense in its moral lessons. This is definitely an enjoyable flick that can appeal to just about anyone, mostly thanks to Bartholomew, and will satisfy the appetite of any movie lover.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10