Captains Courageous

Captains Courageous (Victor Fleming, 1937)

Someone took me to see Captains Courageous when I was a kid – tho not quite as early as its 1937 release date! So I guess it had a General Exhibition certificate, and was seen as a family film – and indeed it is about two ‘families’. However, I was quite shocked by the scene in which the Spencer Tracy character Manuel says in Portugese that his body has been virtually cut in half. It’s translated by another crew member (a detail I’d quite forgotten) to spare the boy (Freddie Bartholomew) at the centre of the story, tho obviously not the audience. Manuel is in the water, and Tracy is showing no signs of pain from the alleged corporeal section – but the idea got to me, and has stayed with all these years. I’m not sure if that qualifies as trauma, but I still feel the horror.

Harvey Cheyne is a spoiled brat used to having his own way. When a prank goes wrong onboard an ocean liner Harvey ends up overboard and nearly drowns.

Freddie Bartholomew, Spencer Tracy, Lionel Barrymore

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 20 March, 2017 | Now: 20 March, 2017