Recreating the one-man show he starred in on Broadway, Hal Holbrook portrays Mark Twain as a 70-year old humorist who skewers politicians, newspapermen and so-called patriots in this 90 ... See full summary »
Recreating the one-man show he starred in on Broadway, Hal Holbrook portrays Mark Twain as a 70-year old humorist who skewers politicians, newspapermen and so-called patriots in this 90 minute monologue. Holbrook adapted Twain's own words for a commentary on slavery, religion and politics, mixing the satire with comic yarns about life on the Mississippi and a very effective ghost story. The show's highlight are the lengthy passages from "Huckleberry Finn". Written by
The makers of this production videotaped more material than could be shown on television, and because time was needed for commercial breaks, some of that material was edited out before the telecast. Much of it has been restored on the DVD, which runs ninety minutes even without commercials. See more »
Ladies and gentlemen, how solemn and beautiful is the thought, that the earliest pioneer of civilization is never the railroad, never the newspaper, never the missionary, but whiskey.
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I first saw this program when it was originally broadcast in 1967. Until that time I hadn't paid much attention to Mark Twain's life and career, but Mr. Holbrook's amazing performance awakened an interest in those subjects that has proved to be very rewarding. Twain was an authentic American genius, and Mr. Holbrook does a wonderful job of conveying the nature of the man and his writing. I was lucky enough to see Mr. Holbrook in person in the mid-70's, and the CBS program, although different than that live performance, is a perfect 90-minute demonstration of what Mr. Holbrook can do. This video is a priceless gift to Americans, both for the quality of the performance and its depiction of the nature of the man being portrayed. We are all in Mr. Holbrook's debt.
It is sad to think about how far we've fallen, from "Mark Twain Tonight" on network television in 1967 to the awful nonsense shown on it now. At one time, at least, we were better than we are now.
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