Treasure Island (1920 film)

Treasure Island
Directed by Maurice Tourneur
Produced by Maurice Tourneur
Written by Jules Furthman (screenplay)
Robert Louis Stevenson (novel)
Starring Lon Chaney Sr.
Shirley Mason
Charles Ogle
Sydney Deane
Charles Hill Mailes
Cinematography René Guissart
Distributed by Paramount-Artcraft Pictures
Release dates
  • April 4, 1920 (1920-04-04)
Running time
76 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent
English intertitles

Treasure Island is a 1920 silent film adaptation of the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, directed by Maurice Tourneur, and released by Paramount Pictures. Lon Chaney played two different key roles in this production. Charles Ogle, who had played Frankenstein's Monster in the first filmed version of Frankenstein a decade earlier at Edison Studios, portrayed Long John Silver.[1]

This movie is now considered a lost film.[2][3]



Young Jim Hawkins is caught up with the pirate Long John Silver in search of the buried treasure of the buccaneer Captain Flint. Young Jim Hawkins helps his widowed mother run the Admiral Benbow Inn on the west coast of England.

When former pirate Billy Bones is killed at the inn by other pirates seeking the map to the lost treasure of Captain Flint, Jim finds the map and turns it over to his mother's friends, Dr. Livesey and Squire Trelawney, who organize an expedition to recover the treasure. Jim stows away aboard Livesey and Trelawney's ship, which is manned by a crew largely chosen by Long John Silver, a one-legged pirate posing as a cook.

period advertisement
image of a pirate on lookout

Silver's plans for a mutiny are discovered by Jim and reported to Livesey and Trelawney, who manage to hold the pirates at bay until they arrive at the island and take refuge in a shelter with Jim and the loyal crew members. A battle with the pirates results in the map being turned over to Silver and his gang, but the pirates are eventually routed, and Jim and the others find Flint's treasure through the services of Ben Gunn, a pirate who had been stranded on the island.[4]

Production background

Ogle and Mason

In September 1919, announcements of the upcoming film in movie journals stated that Jack Holt would play Long John Silver and that Wallace Beery would play Israel Hands, though both roles were eventually filled by different actors. Both Holt and Beery as well as Lon Chaney and Bull Montana had appeared in Tourneur's Victory the year before.

The film reportedly had color sequences, possibly hand-colored with the Handschiegel Color Process.

The film opened in New York on April 11, 1920, and some contemporary sources give that date for the film's release.

This film was actually the fifth and most lavish silent film adaptation of the story with productions made in 1908, 1911, 1913, and by Fox Film Corporation in 1918. This version was also the last silent production of the story.

See also


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