AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Captains Courageous
Director: Victor Fleming (Dir)
Release Date:   25 Jun 1937
Duration (in mins):  115, 116 or 118
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Cast: Freddie Bartholomew  (Harvey [Cheyne])
  Spencer Tracy  (Manuel [Fidello])
  Lionel Barrymore  ([Capt.] Disko [Troop])
 

Summary: Harvey, the spoiled son of millionaire Cheyne, is suspended from his private boarding school for attempted bribery. Mr. Cheyne, although a well-meaning and loving father, is a widower who has been too busy to notice his son's increasing bullying and snobbishness. Hoping to change things, Mr. Cheyne decides to take Harvey with him on a boat trip to England, but on the first day out Harvey falls overboard, sickened by drinking too many chocolate sodas in a childish dare with two other boys from the ship. He is picked up by a happy-go-lucky Portuguese fisherman named Manuel Fidello who brings his "little fish" back to the We're Here , a schooner out of Gloucester. Because the boat has no radio, they cannot contact Mr. Cheyne and Harvey must stay aboard until the summer catch is complete. The men at first dislike Harvey, and call him a "Jonah," but gradually, under Manuel's gruff guidance, Harvey becomes a hardworking, friendly shipmate. The affection between Manuel and Harvey grows and Harvey looks forward to being with his friend when they return to land. On their return to port, however, during a race with a rival ship, Manuel is critically injured when one of the riggings falls, pulling him into the water. Because Manuel knows that he cannot survive, he orders Captain Disko to cut the ropes and let him go under. When the ship is back in Gloucester, Mr. Cheyne comes for Harvey, but the disconsolate boy prefers to cry alone in Manuel's dinghy than talk to his father. When a monument to men who have died at sea is dedicated, Harvey throws a wreath into the water for Manuel, and as his father does the same, the two clasp hands. Finally, Harvey relates some fishing stories to his father as their limousine pulls Manuel's dinghy along on a trailer. 

Distribution Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Director: Victor Fleming (Dir)
  James Havens (Marine dir)
  Jack Conway (Fill-In dir)
  Richard Rosson (Loc dir)
Producer: Louis D. Lighton (Prod)
  Sam Katz (Supv)
Writer: John Lee Mahin (Scr)
  Marc Connelly (Scr)
  Dale Van Every (Scr)
  Tom Kilpatrick (Contr to trmt)

Subject Major: Death and dying
  Fathers and sons
  Fishermen
  Friendship
  Millionaires
  Reconciliation
  Ships
  Transformation
 
Subject Minor: Expulsion
  Hurdy-gurdies
  Priests
  Racing
  Razors
  Rivalry
  Servants
  Sea captains
  Soda fountains
  Students
  Teachers
  Wagers

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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