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Huckleberry Finn (1974 film)

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Title: Huckleberry Finn (1974 film)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jim (Huckleberry Finn), Tom Sawyer, Hopelessly Lost, Huckleberry Finn (EP)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Huckleberry Finn (1974 film)

Huckleberry Finn
Directed by J. Lee Thompson
Produced by Arthur P. Jacobs
Written by Robert B. Sherman,
Richard M. Sherman,
Mark Twain
Starring Jeff East
Paul Winfield
Harvey Korman
Music by Songs:
Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
Fred Werner
Cinematography László Kovács
Edited by Michael F. Anderson
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • May 24, 1974 (1974-05-24)
Running time
118 min.
Country United States
Language English

Huckleberry Finn is the 1974 musical film version of Mark Twain's American classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The movie was produced by Reader's Digest and Arthur P. Jacobs (known for his role in the production of the Planet of the Apes films), directed by J. Lee Thompson, and starred Jeff East as Huckleberry Finn and Paul Winfield as Jim. The film contains original music and songs, such as "Freedom" and "Cairo, Illinois", by the popular Sherman Brothers, Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman.

This film followed the previous year's highly successful Tom Sawyer, based on Twain's novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, also produced and written by the same team and starring East in the role of Huckleberry Finn.


Huckleberry Finn (Jeff East) is a boy from Missouri living with a kindly widow and her sister who has taken him in. One day his father (Gary Merrill), previously thought dead, shows up because he heard of treasure Huck had found. Huck's pap essentially kidnaps the boy, wanting $1000 for his safe return. Staging his own death, Huck escapes and meets up with the kindly slave Jim (Paul Winfield). Together they travel downriver, in search of Jim's freedom.


Filming locations

Like Tom Sawyer, the film was shot in Arrow Rock and Lupus, Missouri. It was also shot in Natchez, Mississippi.

Setbacks in the film's production

The 1974 movie faced numerous setbacks in production. There was the sudden death of producer Arthur Jacobs halfway through the shoot. Director J. Lee Thompson had problems with the synchronized musical direction. The third major problem was the unfortunate timing of writer Robert B. Sherman's knee operation.

Without a producer, the film crew had difficulties managing the actors. Roberta Flack sang the classic, "Freedom" but insisted on having a guitar backing to her recording. She later threatened to sue if the original cast album was released with a dominant orchestral backing, and so although the album was recorded and printed, it was never released.

Despite these setbacks, the film still achieved some success and some of the film's songs, including "Freedom" are still considered classics.


The songs and score were written by the Sherman Brothers.

  1. "Freedom". Sung by Roberta Flack (who did not approve of the musical arrangement and threatened a lawsuit if the original cast album were not remixed to her liking).
  2. "Someday, Honey
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