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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn(1939)

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In the mid-eighteenth century, along the Mississippi River, young Huckleberry Finn, the son of the loutish drunk "Pap" Finn, lives with the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. Though the widow loves Huck and he is fond of her, he finds it difficult to behave like the gentleman she wants, preferring loafing to going to school and going barefoot to wearing shoes. One night, when Pap goes to the widow and demands eight hundred dollars from her to keep his son, Huck overhears and decides to leave to prevent her from impoverishing herself for him. Huck then leaves, but is caught by his father, who confines him in a shack across the river. When Pap leaves him alone, Huck escapes and makes it appear as if he has been murdered and dumped into the river. He then goes upstream, and sometime later runs into his friend Jim, the widow's slave. Jim has run away from the widow because she was planning to sell him to raise money to keep Huck. Unknown to either Jim or Huck, when evidence of Huck's apparent murder was discovered, Jim's disappearance led authorities to believe that he was the murderer. Jim is now trying to get to a free state and join his wife, so Huck decides to help him. Farther upstream they encounter "The King" and "The Duke," two conmen who have been set adrift from a riverboat for bilking passengers, and who try to convince Huck and Jim that they are the "Lost Dauphin of France" and "The Duke of Bridgewater." Though the King and the Duke know that Jim is a runaway slave and plan to collect a reward for his return, they pretend to help him and Huck. Trying to finance their trip, the group stops at a small town along the river and advertises a theatrical production of Romeo and Juliet , starring famous actors David Garrick and Mrs. Siddons. The town gathers for the performance, but when the King dresses as Romeo and Huck dresses as Juliet, the audience chases them out of town. They are able to get away with two hundred dollars, but during the confusion Huck finds a handbill in the Duke's pocket offering a large reward for Jim. At the next town, Pikesville, the King and the Duke plan to impersonate two men who have not been seen by their rich brother for many years. By the time they reach the man's house, they learn that he has just died, but decide to continue their ruse in order to take over the estate from the man's two daughters, Mary Jane and Susan. When Captain Brandy of the paddleboat The River Queen comes to the house, he becomes suspicous and, after Huck tells the captain about the King and the Duke, they are prevented from carrying out their greedy plans. Meanwhile, a posse has been formed to look for Jim, and when it arrives at Pikesville, Huck and Jim hide out in the woods. When a rattlesnake bites Huck, however, Jim carries the boy back to town, and he is arrested. Huck awakens from his delirium several days later and learns from the captain that he sent Jim home because of the murder charge. Almost hysterical, Huck then tells the captain that the murder for which Jim is being charged is his. Huck and the captain board The River Queen and race back home, braving a serious storm, and arrive just in time to prevent Jim from being lynched. After being re-united with the happy widow, Huck decides to change his ways and go to school like a good boy, and the widow sets Jim free to join his wife.