A biographical film about the acclaimed American humourist and author.

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Narrator (voice)
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Mark Twain (voice)
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Other Voices (voice)
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Olivia 'Livy' Langdon Clemens (voice)
Tim Clark ...
Other Voices (voice)
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Other Voices (voice)
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Other Voices (voice)
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Other Voices (voice)
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Storyline

Ken Burns, the premiere documentarian of Americana, tackles the life of Mark Twain, the first writer with a uniquely American voice. In this installment in Burns' "American Lives" series, the two 2-hour episodes explore a side of Twain that is unfamiliar to many. Widely regarded as the funniest person of the 19th century, Twain suffered through severe personal tragedies and lack of business sense that brought him to the brink of financial ruin on several occasions. Includes interviews with writers William Styron and Arthur Miller and actor Hal Holbrook (who has portrayed Twain in a one-man play each year for over 50 years). Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

14 January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Lives: Mark Twain  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Mark Twain: In my schoolboy days I had no aversion to slavery. I was not aware that there was anything wrong about it. The local papers said nothing against it; the local pulpit taught us that God approved it, that it was a holy thing, and that the doubter need only look in the Bible if he wished to settle his mind - and then the texts were read aloud to us to make the matter sure; if the slaves themselves had an aversion to slavery they were wise and said nothing.
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Connections

Featured in Ken Burns: America's Storyteller (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Betsy From Pike
Arranged by Peter Ostroushko
Performed by Peter Ostroushko
Courtesy of Red House Records
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User Reviews

 
Treacherous "Safe Water"
5 July 2009 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

Typically emotional and reverential Ken Burns biography, featuring the usual display of wonderful vintage pictures and discreet music and sound accompaniment, as well as professional line-readings and commentaries.

Twain's interesting life alone and all the anecdotal plentifulness of Burns's script guarantee three-and-a-half entertaining hours, but as a documentary about such a witty and sagacious writer, this feels too conventional and tame in style and presentation, hammering home some of its notions about Twain's inner conflicts too repetitively.

It's still quality work, though.

7 out of 10 failed business schemes


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