This is a well-made musical version of Tom Sawyer, Twain’s tale of life on the Mississippi. Tom (Whitaker) and his friend Becky Thatcher (a 10-year-old Foster) embark on a series of adventures, singing their way through Hannibal, Missouri.
Jodie Foster and Johnny Whitaker sang a duet from the musical on the 1974 Academy Awards broadcast. The film’s songs were by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, brothers best known for Mary Poppins (1964).
Songs include “River Song,” “Gratification,” “Freebootin’,” “Aunt Polly’s Soliloquy,” and the title tune.
Academy Award Nominations: 3, including Best Score; Best Art Direction.
Cast: Johnny Whitaker, Celeste Holm, Warren Oates, Jeff East, Jodie Foster
Director: Don Taylor
Producer: Arthur P. Jacobs
Original Story: Mark Twain
Director of Photography: Frank Stanley
Editor: Marion Rothman
Composers: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman
Musical Director: John Williams
Screenwriters: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman
Production Designer: Philip M. Jefferies
USA / United Artists – Readers Digest / 104 minutes / 1973