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Mark Twain: A Film By Ken Burns


List Price: CDN$ 31.99
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Mark Twain: A Film By Ken Burns + Ken Burns: Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery + Thomas Jefferson: A Film By Ken Burns
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Product Details

  • Actors: Keith David, Kevin Conway, Philip Bosco, Blythe Danner, Tim Clark
  • Directors: Ken Burns
  • Writers: Dayton Duncan, Geoffrey C. Ward
  • Producers: Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan, Pam Tubridy Baucom
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Public Braodcasting Service
  • Release Date: Sept. 28 2004
  • Run Time: 212 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BITUI4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,152 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By S.H. on Dec 17 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This profile at times unnecessarily dotes upon the man or specific works long after the points have been made. As is common in Ken Burns productions, the film often feels like it could have been tightened up in the editting room by about 10%.

Quotations are of course priceless, and interviews with the man who so often played Twain on stage are peculiarly rewarding.

This viewer is amazed at how susceptible to excess the figure actually was, given his solid understanding of greed & corruption. Something he seemingly never properly came to grips with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Middleton on Dec 27 2003
Format: DVD
This has to be one of the best documentaries on a literary figure that has ever been made. In the hands of Ken Burns, the richness and subtlety, the humour and tragedy, the successes and dismal failures and a true sustained analysis of the life of Samuel Clemens all combines to give us a personal and intellectual understanding of this towering literary icon of the 19th century. Twain was many things - a riverboat pilot, printer, journalist, miner, speculator, failed business man, and satirist, but most of all a novelist, a grand storyteller that spoke to royalty, presidents as well as the common people. Ernest Hemingway once said that American literature began with the publication of Huckleberry Finn. Twain chose to write this book in the language of the vernacular, while other writers maintained an allegiance to English prose, Huck Finn's voice rose above conformity, informing the American public that the black American was not just a commodity, an object of scorn and prejudice, but a human being. This book not only changed our views on literature but our humanity as well. This film does not skim over the surface of Twain's life and work, but digs deeper into his motivations and inspirations in the context of his environment.
~Mark Twain~ took almost three years to produce, which includes hundreds of photographs, actual film footage of the man at home, informed interviews with Twain scholars and writers that give us keen insights into his life and work. What this film shows is that not only is his literature extraordinary, but his life as well. And this life is told mainly through the words of the man himself. Twain lived a dual persona, the man and the celebrity.
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By Stan Woo on Feb. 1 2004
Format: DVD
Before I watched this DVD, I thought I was going to learn some biographical facts about Mark Twain with images, but I got a lot more. Mr. Burn's poetic touch to Mark Twain's life was like a marriage between art and the story of the greatest American writer. Mr. Burn's style of telling the story is very cinematic with well chosen sound tracks (a lot of good quality photos). It captivated me through out the whole 3 hour of it, which is divided into 2 parts.
The DVD also shows the commentaries and interpretations of Mark Twain's work by present American writers.
It can't be better!! I am also going to check out Mr. Burn's other works.
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Format: DVD
If you've never read a biography of Twain, this is an excellent introduction to his life. It covers all the high points and is replete with quotes, shots of living quarters, cities where he lived, and family photos, as well as a few shots and video clipes of Twain himself. The narration is pleasing; the voice acting for Twain is superb, and the audio commentary by Twain biographers is clear and helpful.
If you're already familiar with Twain's life story, the DVD is not going to reveal anything new to you, and you will likely find it frustratingly scant on details. You don't learn, for example, much about Twain's approach to writing, his inability to accurately estimate how popular his works would be, his continuing schemes for sequels, or much detail at all about the printing machine that bankrupted him. Instead, the DVD mostly follows the major points of his life - where he lived, what he published, family details.
The best bits for someone already familiar with Twain's life are the video clips interspersed throughout the DVD. It was a great joy for me to see Twain's famous shambling gate, as well as his cigar smoking.
In any case, highly recommended to anyone, novice or expert.
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Format: DVD
Mark Twain was the quintessential American writer and Ken Burns' documentary about Twain is simply marvelous! Starting with the author's Missouri childhood to his last days in New York City, from his stint as a steamboat captain along the Mississippi to his travels around the globe, from his success as a writer to his personal tragedies, this DVD is a must-see for any person out there who enjoys reading Mark Twain literature. I found the humorous musings of Twain that are dotted all through this DVD, a nice touch!
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Format: DVD
If you have ever seen any of Ken Burns' documentaries (Civil War, Baseball, Jazz), you know that he has truly become the most revered directors of our time. MARK TWAIN is no exception. Going over such topics as Huckleberry Finn, and Twain's stint as a riverboat captain, you will be lost in this man's truly American life. Add this DVD to your set!
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Format: DVD
Around the turn of the last century, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was considered to be one of the funniest men in the world, and one of the greatest American writers and storytellers of his day. He achieved the status of a very rich man - only to lose it investing foolishly in some of the new inventions of the burgeoning industrial age.
His first great novel, Tom Sawyer, was an autobiographical tale of his life growing up on the banks of the Mississippi. The sequel and his most endearing work, Huckleberry Finn, written many years later, used the innocence of a ragged Southern boy traveling down the river with his friend, Nigger Joe, as a subtle indictment of slavery; Twain's motivation stemming from his disgust (as a Southerner) for the failure of emancipation several decades after the conclusion of the Civil War. In his later life, while still retaining his humor, Mark Twain became an outspoken opponent of racism, anti-Semitism, and American Imperialism (under Teddy Roosevelt) and an early advocate of women's suffrage.
Mark Twain was the first to use the way ordinary Americans spoke - to create great literature. His earliest career was as a riverboat pilot. His penname, Mark Twain, in fact, means "twelve feet," and when called out while steaming, signals the transition from dangerously shallow waters into those that are safe.
The movie is filled with great triumphs - and great sorrow. Watching the film caused me to careen uncontrollably between laughing and crying as though I were a drunkard. Anyone who loves writing (or reading) or spinning a few yarns of their own will come away knowing that Mark Twain - and Ken Burns, who lovingly restores him for us - are both geniuses!
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