Compare Offers on Amazon
+ CDN$ 3.49 shipping
+ CDN$ 3.49 shipping
Today Only: The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series is $25
Deal of the Day: The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series is at a one day special price. Offer valid on July 25, 2016, applies only to purchases of products sold by Amazon.ca, and does not apply to products sold by third-party merchants and other sellers through the Amazon.ca site. Learn more.
Frequently Bought Together
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
He was considered, in his time, to be the funniest man on Earth. Mark Twain is the fifth film in Ken Burns's popular American Lives series and features interviews with Hal Holbrook, Arthur Miller and leading Twain scholars.
A popular humorist, philosopher and social satirist, Mark Twain was the well-known nom-de-plume of writer Samuel Clemens, the nation's first literary celebrity. One of the most quoted men of his time, he was born in 1835, the year Haley's Comet passed over, and vowed that he would not die until he saw the famous comet. He died in 1910 -- the day after the comet's return. Tracing Twain's rise from his humble birth in Missouri to his prosperous life in Connecticut as the nation's best-selling author, Mark Twain reveals a compelling portrait of the father of American literature.
Nearly three years in the making and drawing from 63 hours of material, thousands of archival photographs and nearly 20 interviews with top writers and Twain scholars, Mark Twain is the story of an extraordinary life-one full of rollicking adventure, stupendous success and crushing defeat, hilarious comedy and unbearable tragedy. Told primarily through the words of Twain himself and narrated by Keith David (the voice of Jazz), viewers of all ages will be personally introduced to this compelling yet contradictory genius, who said with some justification, "I am not an American, I am the American."
The DVD-18 edition of Mark Twain contains interview outtakes, twelve great Twain quotes and photographs, a "Making of" interview with Ken Burns and the short documentaries Ken Burns: Making History and A Conversation with Ken Burns.
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
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
~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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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!
Most recent customer reviews
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 Doug
Mark Twain is arguably the most influential American writer ever. He certainly is among the best-known authors who catered to the layman as well as to the scholar. Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2003 by bixodoido
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
One of the best documentaries ever made on Mark Twain with large number of actual pictures, video clippings and comments by various authors. Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2002 by Ghamesh Nirav