Tom and Huck
“Tom and Huck” is a Walt Disney film realized in 1995 by Peter Hewitt. Based on the book by Mark Twain, it tells the story of a particularly mischievous boy, Tom Sawyer (Jonathan Taylor Thomas). Tom witnesses a murder by the deadly Injun Joe (Eric Schweig). Tom becomes friends with Huckleberry Finn (Brad Renfro), a boy with no future and no family. Tom has to choose between honoring a friendship or honoring an oath because the town alcoholic is accused of the murder. Tom and Huck go through several adventures trying to retrieve evidence.
The film opens with Injun Joe accepting a job from Doctor Robinson (William Newman). It is to dig a corpse to retrieve a map leading to a treasure. We see immediately that we better not mess with Injun Joe, because he does not hesitate to threaten his client to require more money to do the dirty work.
Eric Schweig offers a high level of performance to interpret this ugly character, so much so that at times he even gets a little too scary for a Disney movie for children. I’m especially thinking of the murder scene of Dr. Robinson, where Injun Joe runs with such a fury that it seems kind of offset from the rest of the film. If Tom Sawyer had nightmares about Injun Joe, young viewers of the film may undoubtedly have nightmares about him too.
The makeup team has also done a great job to make one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world (People magazine) in a particularly dirty, ugly and nasty character, which foreshadows the future Pesh-Chidin in “The Missing” (2003). In 1995, Schweig is also overweight and this adds to his imposing stature. With a particularly disgusting denture, Schweig changes his voice to refine the transformation.
After the murder of Dr. Robinson, Injun Joe did not hesitate to accuse an innocent man in his place and goes in search of the witness to the crime, Tom Sawyer, while he recovers the famous treasure: a chest full of gold coins. The confrontation between Injun Joe and Tom Sawyer is one of the best scenes of Eric Schweig on the screen. The intensity of his performance and the fury in his eyes are simply amazing.
Even though this is a movie aimed at a young audience, “Tom and Huck” is in my opinion one of the best movies of Eric Schweig with “Big Eden.”
Director: Peter Hewitt
Stars: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Brad Renfro, Eric Schweig.