Long John Silver's Return to Treasure Island (1954)

by Alecia Silverstone

If you like the feel of classic movies, you will definitely like this one.

Based on the popular book by Robert Louis Stevenson, Walt Disney made their first completely live action film "Treasure Island" in 1950, starring Robert Newton in the lead as Long John Silver. 

However the 1954 sequel "Long John Silver's Return To Treasure Island", though also starring Robert Newton in the lead as Long John Silver, is an Australian film and should not be confused with the other 1954 American movie titled "Return to Treasure Island" but with a different cast.  The Australian film is sometimes also just called "Long John Silver". 

It was shot at Pagewood Studios in Sydney, Australia, and and the same company went on to make a 26 episode TV series with the same actors, called The Adventures of Long John Silver.  The director was the same director for the 1950 film, Byron Haskin.  Guess once you're in the pirate movie game, you can never get out.  (Unfortunately after one season of the series, Robert Newton died from alcoholism like a true pirate.) 

The Plot of "Long John Silver":

After the Treasure Island adventure, Long John Silver turns up on a British Caribbean island, where he hears that rival pirate Mendoza has taken the ship carrying the governor's daughter...and his young friend Jim Hawkins. Naturally, there's more to his rescue plan than meets the eye; he hopes to get a new ship and go back for more treasure...

Throughout this movie Long John Silver makes deals with different parties, always playing all sides and serving his own interests all the way in some or other clever manner. One has to be very alert to keep up with all the twists and turns!

Fighting rivals for the rest of Captain Flint's treasure, along the way rescuing Jim Hawkins from a life of a cabinboy to one of these rival pirates, they all eventually end up again on Treasure Island, where more treasure is awaiting those who are willing to die and kill for it.

All this while John Silver's fiance is determined to marry him and have him settle down to the peaceful life of a landlubber.

My only problem with the plot, though quickly overcame, would be that I don't really process it well when major previous plot lines are bent.

I am of course referring to the story concerning Israel Hands.  We all know that in the first Treasure Island, and according to the original book, Israel Hands tried to kill Jim and Jim then shot Israel Hands dead (in one Japanese version of the story Jim throws a piece of Silver's crutch into Hands' forehead and he falls off the ship dead). 

No matter which version of the story, Israel Hands dies at that point.  But - in this sequel he's back, only blinded - only so that Jim can kill him again in this version. 

Not sure if that was necessary except to add some deliberate suspence. 

Still, if you like old pirate movies, this one should definitely be a part of your collection.  Robert Newton's strong performance carries the movie through any possible weaknesses of plot and structure.