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Considered the funniest man of his time, Mark Twain was a critic of human nature who used his humor to attack hypocrisy, greed, and racism. As America’s best-loved author, he created some of its most memorable characters and quoted sayings. Director Ken Burns digs beneath the legend to discover the true Twain and reveals his extraordinary life, filled with adventure and literary pursuit, incredible success and defeat, comedy, and tragedy.
Given the legendary life of its subject, it's not surprising that Mark Twain is perhaps the most entertaining documentary Ken Burns has made. The creator of The Civil War and Jazz achieves reverent harmony with the magnificent story of Missouri-born author Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain), encompassing legend and fact with an exhilarating sense of adventure. Hailed by Hemingway as the originator of American literature, Twain (a nom de plume taken from a riverboat pilot's term for "safe waters") viewed himself as the American. Burns's film backs that claim as it follows Clemens's literary odyssey around the globe, from unrivaled acclaim as a writer to near destitution and the devastating deaths of his wife and three children. As usual, eloquent writers and scholars (including longtime Twain performer Hal Holbrook) provide a wondrous flow of anecdotes and observations, recounting Twain's remarkable humor while acknowledging a darker side that felt anger toward an indifferent god. Like all of Burns's films, Mark Twain is must-see viewing. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This profile at times unnecessarily dotes upon the man or specific works long after the points have been made. Read morePublished 20 months ago by S.H.
It's very clear that this "musical biography" has been extremely well researched. Famous people often have multiple biographies, but very few have them turned into... Read morePublished on April 22 2004 by Gary Saxer
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2004 by Stan Woo
Mark Twain was the quintessential American writer and Ken Burns' documentary about Twain is simply marvelous! Read morePublished on Dec 15 2003 by Antwerp bookhog
Ken Burns' familiar formula: the use of historic music, insights from historians, interesting narrative, and old pictures. All combine to set the stage for deception. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2003
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. Read morePublished on Aug. 23 2003 by Kevin C. Siqveland
Ken Burns does a superb job (as always!) in portraying Mr. Twain as a person, and not an American Icon. Another triumph for Ken Burns.Published on April 3 2003 by Douglas M. Debarry Jr.
I saw this on PBS, missing the first part. What I did see was absolutely stunning. I'm ordering from Amazon to see the whole thing and to loan to friends. Read morePublished on Nov. 30 2002 by PRCN90S