Produced by Maurice Tourneur Productions; Released 3/26/20 by Paramount-Artcraft; Director: Maurice Tourneur; Screenplay: Stephen Fox (aka/Jules Furthman), from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson; Cinematography: René Guissart; Art Director: Floyd Mueller; 5 reels (5134')
CAST: Shirley Mason (Jim Hawkins), Josie Melville (Mrs. Hawkins), Al W. Filson (Bill Bones), Wilton Taylor (Black Dog), Lon Chaney (Pew/Merry), Charles Ogle (Long John Silver), Joseph Singleton (Israel Hands), Bull Montana (Morgan), Harry Holden (Captain Smollett), Sydney Deane (Squire Trelawney), Charles Hill Mailes (Dr. Livesey)
SYNOPSIS: Mrs. Hawkins and her young son, Jim, run the Benbow Inn on the English coast. Bill Bones, a sea captain, stops at the Inn and asks Jim to warn him if he sees a "seafaring man with one leg." One morning, a fierce sailor named Black Dog enters and demands that Bones give him his share of Captain Flint's treasure that Bones has hidden. Bones fights off the intruder, but tells Jim that if he should die, he can take whatever board and lodging he owes out of the chest in the room. Some time later, Pew, a hideous looking, blind pirate, forces Jim him to lead him to Bones, who is some time later found murdered. While Jim and his mother search through Bones' chest, Pew and some pirates break in and steal a small packet from the chest. The pirates are caught and killed, and Jim shows the packet to Dr. Livesey and Squire Trelawney, where they discover a map with the location of the Captain Flint's treasure. The Squire buys a boat, the Hispaniola, and decides to go in search of the treasure. Long John Silver, a one-legged sailor, is taken on as cook, and Israel Hands, George Merry, and Morgan are among the crew. Jim is forbidden to go, but stows away in a barrel of apples. Once at sea, Jim overhears a mutiny plot, and he tells the Squire, Dr. Livesey, and the Captain of the news. When land is sighted, the mutineers are overpowered and put ashore, but Black Dog seizes Jim and takes him ashore. Jim escapes into the jungle where he meets Ben Gunn, an old pirate who was marooned by Flint. Dr. Livesey leads a rescue part into the jungle, and they succeed in killing most of the mutineers. Jim and Ben are rescued, and Ben turns over the treasure, which he found years before. The men begin the voyage home, with Long John again becoming a cook and friend of Jim.
"Maurice Tourneur's production of TREASURE ISLAND...falls so far short of its original that any comparison of the two must emphasize its defects...The most vivid acting is done by the dependable Lon Chaney in two roles, first, as the blind Pew, and then as the surly Merry." ---The New York Times
"This isn't anywhere near the feature it should be. Maurice Tourneur is a Frenchman and seems incapable of making the most of an Anglo-Saxon subject." ---Variety
"In order to visualize the outstanding details, the scenarist has taken liberties with Stevenson and he may be excused upon the ground that even the screen has its limitations...Charles Ogle is immense as the peg-legged John Silver and Lon Chaney gives another of his vivid character studies as one of the pirate cutthroats or two." ---Motion Picture News
NOTES: Despite the unanimously poor reviews, TREASURE ISLAND was one of the most successful films in the career of Maurice Tourneur, coming in as one of the top box office films of 1920. Unfortunately, no prints of the film are known to exist today. In the early stages of production, Jack Holt was to play Long John Silver and Wallace Beery was to play Israel Hands. Beery would go on to play Long John Silver in the classic 1934 MGM version.
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