The Adventures of Mark Twain


Adventure / Biography / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 58%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 971

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 06, 2021 at 05:52 PM



Lillian Randolph as Clemens' Servant
Carol Coombs as Young Clara Clemens
Dick Elliott as Townsman who challenges Mr. Lake / Laughing man in speech audience
John Carradine as Bret Harte
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.17 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 10 min
P/S 33 / 58
2.17 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 10 min
P/S 28 / 57

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by cariart 8 / 10

Wildly Inaccurate but Still Loving Tribute...

THE ADVENTURES OF MARK TWAIN is one of my favorite films. Even as the years pass, and I discover an ever-increasing number of biographical errors, it still possesses a kind of magic that is captivating. It may not be the historic Twain on the screen, but it's a Twain we all would have liked to know!

How can you criticize a film when, at the beginning of the story, the lead character threatens, in writing, to 'shoot you' if you look for a higher moral? As the camera pans back while a hand signs a name to the document with a flourish, we are 'introduced' to the spirit of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, himself, the living embodiment of the white-haired rascal we've all seen in his many 'turn of the century' photographs, with a twinkle in his eye and his tongue firmly 'in cheek'. Fredric March bears an astonishing resemblance to the author (thanks, in large measure, to Perc Westmore's extraordinary make up), and, more importantly, portrays him with a sense of irreverence and fun. His Twain is a man who loves the 'Mighty Mississippi', writes from his heart, and observes life with the eye of a born humorist, seeing all of Man's foibles as part of a giant Cosmic joke he is privy to.

In the fanciful biography, Clemens is delivered as Haley's Comet streaks overhead, as scores of black slaves listen to his father call the celestial event a "jubilation in Heaven". As a child, he plays with Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and the slave, Jim, then escapes to the river after writing a far-fetched tale, which gets his older brother, a printer, in hot water. Despite the boy's total ineptitude, a riverboat pilot swears to teach him his profession, and in a few years, the adult Clemens masters the Mississippi, successfully guiding his riverboat through the dangerous waters at night, until the cry of "Mark Twain...Safe Water" is heard. While dazzling naive passengers with tales of how alligators 'hitch rides' on the paddlewheel, Clemens sees a cameo with the image of young Libby Langdon (Alexis Smith), and announces to her brother that she would be the girl he'd marry.

Heading west with friend Steve Gillis (the always wonderful Alan Hale) to strike it rich where the "gold is on the ground waiting to be picked up", he fails spectacularly, and ends up a reporter at a frontier newspaper. He writes an account of a leaping frog competition, and the sad fate of novelist Bret Harte (John Carradine, perfectly cast!) and his prize jumper. Not thinking the story very good, he signs 'Mark Twain' as the author's name...then decides to throw the manuscript away. Fortunately, his editor retrieves it from the garbage, and sends the story back east, where, to a public overwhelmed by Civil War news, it provides welcome relief, creating a sensation. Mark Twain becomes a national celebrity! When finally tracked down, Clemens sees a way to win his ladylove, and plays both himself and Twain at a packed New York lecture. Libby is dazzled by him, he goes courting and 'moves in' to her home (much to the bemusement of her father), and, with her inspiration, his fabulous career as 'America's Voice' begins.

Chronicling Clemens' eventful life with unforgettable scenes of spectacular success as well as tragedy and failure, THE ADVENTURES OF MARK TWAIN is the tale of a legendary man, told in 'larger than life' terms. While most of the story is fictitious (the real Clemens' biography would require a Ken Burns documentary to do it justice), the film is never less than entertaining. Fredric March is superb in the lead, and, as Haley's Comet returns, ending his time on earth, you may find it hard to hold back a tear, especially when his spirit says to his grieving daughter, "The reports of my death have been GREATLY exaggerated..."

He was absolutely correct...Mark Twain will never really die!

Reviewed by theowinthrop 10 / 10

The Rumors of His Death Are Slightly Exaggerated

He's now been physically dead all of 95 years, but Samuel Langhorne Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) is still the most popular novelist and writer in American history, and one of the few great American writers to merit his own film biography. There is no film (at the very least no remembered films) about Charles Brockden Brown (our first major novelist), Washington Irving, Fenimore Cooper (whom Twain hated reading), Hawthorne, Melville, Howells, James, Crane, Dreiser, Wharton, Alcott, Cather, Fitzgerald, Lewis, Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Wouk, Salinger, Vonnegut, or Bellow. You have to go back to Edgar Allen Poe (the subject of several films, including a silent one (THE AVENGING CONSCIENCE) by D.W. Griffith) to find another major American writer who is a subject of biography. There is also a film on the life of Jack London made in the 1940s. But the key is that Poe, London, and Twain had interesting lives meriting filming.

The film is true in its outline but the fleshing out is questionable. For example, Twain did go into the mining fields of California and Nevada in the late 1860s, but he probably did not win the jumping frog contest that was the basis of his first literary success, "The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". Nor was his literary rival, Francis Bret Harte (John Carridine), the man who lost that contest. But there was a contest he apparently witnessed in 1865, and he expanded on it for his classic short story.

Some aspects of the story I am surprised to find in the film. The infamous Whittier Birthday Speech fiasco (although still debated) did occur in 1876, and somehow hurt his acceptance by the eastern literati whose "gods" (Emerson, Holmes, and Longfellow) were somewhat laughed at in it. Also there is the frightening story of the Paige Typesetter that helped bankrupt Twain (forcing him to go lecturing and writing around the world in the 1890s.

The fact is, the film is actually better in presenting Twain's literary and private life than the average movie biography of that period or even now. March looks like his subject (and his make-up ages him properly). He knows how to do the delivery of the comic lectures perfectly. Note how at one point when he says to the audience, "The last time I went south....", March points quietly but prolonged downward, so the audience realizes he means "the last time I went to Hell...." We are used today to Hal Holbrook's "MARK TWAIN TONIGHT" performances, with his southern delivery, but March is just as effective in his way.

The other performances are good, with Walter Hampden lecturing March about what gentlemen of his class consider REAL literature, or with Percy Kilbride as a typesetter who trains Twain, and who later claims he helped make Clemens Mark Twain. Alexis Smith manages to portray Livy (Olivia) Twain as the perfect love match she was. The film does not hesitate to show Twain's career had as many missteps as successful peaks. It does avoid his attack on American Imperialism, and it does not detail the series of family deaths that plagued his last decade (two daughters and a nephew followed Livy to the grave before Sam followed her in 1910). But for getting the general outline correct, and for casting the film correctly and producing it very well I can say it deserves a "10" out of "10".

Reviewed by var-1 9 / 10

A great biographical movie.

I have always admired Fredric March as an actor. This roll showed his great versatility. The writing and editing of Mark Twain's life into this movie makes it one of the finest biographical movies of all time. The soliloquy by the chancellor of Oxford, played by C. Abrey Smith, encapsulates the life of Twain, better than any I've heard or read since. This movie is a must for any student of American literature.

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