Tom Brown’s School Days was one of child actor Bartholomew’s finest performances. Tom Brown arrives at Rugby School and encounters the hazing of the school bullies in an institution where discipline has been nearly replaced by anarchy. While a stern new headmaster (Cedric Hardwicke) attempts to bring order, Tom and his friends stage their own revolution against the bullies, employing tricks, fisticuffs, and ingenious practical jokes such as nailing the ringleader’s furniture to the ceiling.
Thomas Hughes’ novel has received several less than satisfying screen renditions (including 1916, 1951 and in 1972 as a British television miniseries); this is the best of the lot.
Tom Brown’s School Days was reissued as Adventures at Rugby.
Cast: Jimmy Lydon, Cedric Hardwicke, Billy Halop, Freddie Bartholemew, Gale Storm, Josephine Hutchinson
Director: Robert Stevenson
Producer: Gene Towne
Director of Photography: Nicholas Musuraca
Editor: William Hamilton
Composer: Anthony Collins
Screenwriters: Walter Ferris, Thomas Hughes
Art Director: Van Nest Polglase
USA / RKO / 86 minutes / 1940