CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS (1937)

Dir. Victor Fleming

One of MGM's most popular films of the 1930s continues to move and inspire audiences, thanks largely to the performances of Spencer Tracy and Freddie Bartholomew. In this adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's novel, Bartholomew is the spoiled rich kid who grows up fast when he falls off an ocean liner and is rescued by a fishing ship. In a rare departure from his usual all-American roles, Tracy is the Portuguese fisherman Manuel who takes Bartholomew under his wing, with the help of captain Lionel Barrymore and his son, Mickey Rooney. Tracy almost turned the role down, concerned about mastering the accent and looking ridiculous in curly hair and dark makeup. He accepted because MGM production chief Irving G. Thalberg had helped make him a star. When Thalberg died a few days before shooting started, Tracy dedicated the performance to him and won his first Best Actor Oscar. Unhappy with his work and surprised at the critical praise it brought him, he always credited his success in the film to director Victor Fleming and Bartholomew's honest performance.

In attendance: Illeana Douglas.

CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
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