When Billy Bones (Finlay Currie) dies he leaves a map to Captain Flint's treasure to Jim Hawkins (Bobby Driscoll). Jim goes on an expedition across the sea to find it and is taken under the wing of the cook, Long John Silver (Robert Newton). However, Silver and the crew turn out to be pirates, putting Jim, Dr Livesy (Denis O'Dea), Captain Smollett (Basil Sydney) and Squire Trelawney (Walter Fitzgerald) in mortal danger.
The film is quite good visually, with a lot of effort gone into the costumes to give them a genuinely strong 18th Century look and feel while the Hispaniola is well designed, and made to feel like a grand and majestic ship. The fights, however, look far too rehearsed and forced, with little feeling of authenticity, and the feeling of amateur fights instead.
The cast are a rather mixed bag, with the strongest being Newton, who captures the pirate/sea dog stereotye down to a tee, while also making the character believably caring and compassionate. O'Dea and Fitzgerald are both rather refined as Livesy and Trelawney, with O'Dea displaying a very kind performance and Fitzgerald capturing the pompous aristocratic type very well; while Sydney is quite authoritive and firm as Smollett. Driscoll however is the major drag down, with poor delivery and expression, making the character generally wooden and an altogether poor lead. The rest of the crew aren't particularly strong, not making hugely convincing pirates, but the majority of them get very little screentime and development. As for the character of crazy hermit Ben Gunn, actor Geoffrey Wilkinson overexaggerates the character's poor mental state and general anxieties, making the character altogether unconvincing and wooden.
The other flaw is the inconsistent screenplay, which is quite slow-moving in some parts of the film, while rushed in other parts of the film, making it quite tedious to watch at times. The screenplay also fails to give the characters substantial development, making them generally one-sided and bland. The dialogue is also poorly written, and has an altogether childish and also slightly cheesy feel to it, making the film drag. As a result of all of these factors among others the film fails to capture the magic of the classic book by Robert Louis Stevenson, and is a film that is of a fairly weak standard.
Stars: Bobby Driscoll, Robert Newton, Denis O'Dea, Basil Sydney, Walter Fitzgerald, Geoffrey Wilkinson, Ralph Truman, Geoffrey Keen, Finlay Currie, Francis de Wolff, David Davies, John Gregson, John Laurie, Andrew Blackett, William Devlin, Harold Jamieson.