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Adventures of Mark Twain [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Fredric March, Alexis Smith, Donald Crisp, Alan Hale, C. Aubrey Smith
  • Directors: Irving Rapper
  • Writers: Alan Le May, Harold M. Sherman, Harry Chandlee
  • Producers: Jack L. Warner, Jesse L. Lasky
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: September 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302922968
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,218 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Action/Drama

Customer Reviews

It's a very enjoyable ride!
Benjamin J Burgraff
This is one of the best all time biopics ever made.
John T. Dwyer, Jr.
The user was happy to find it.
bbrockRailFan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin J Burgraff VINE VOICE on November 20, 2009
Format: DVD
1944's "The Adventures of Mark Twain" is, admittedly, available from another website for almost $10 less than here, but if you prefer purchasing from Amazon (as I usually do), this is a terrific film with a fascinating backstory!

Warner Brothers had high hopes with this lively film biography of America's most beloved author/humorist, casting Academy Award winner Fredric March in the lead. With a first-rate supporting cast (including Alexis Smith, Alan Hale, Donald Crisp, John Carradine as Bret Harte, and C. Aubrey Smith), strong production values, a flavorful Max Steiner score, and "Now Voyager" director Irving Rapper helming the production, the studio was confident the film would be a box office smash, and 'Best Picture' Oscar contender.

Sadly, the film bombed!

The fault wasn't with the production, or with March's performance (he is superb, unmatched in the role until Hal Holbrook's heavily researched portrayal, twenty years later). The problem was audience tastes, in the war year of 1944 (which saw Oscar winners Bing Crosby and "Going My Way" dominate the box office). Another major problem was the involvement of Samuel ("Mark Twain") Clemens' last surviving daughter, who had final approval on every aspect of the film. She was concerned that her father's depression and bitterness after the loss of his wife (he publicly proclaimed "There is no God" and denounced religion), would present a negative image, and demanded the story avoid any controversial aspects of his life. The result of her tinkering would be a film biography that strayed so far from Twain's actual life story that critics heavily panned it in their reviews, and audiences avoided it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "scotsladdie" on July 15, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Twain was someone who lived a full life in his 75 years. He was a Mississippi riverboat man in his early years, and he experimented with gold mining in California. As a writer of growing stature, he courted and won the well-bred Olivia Langdon who traveled with Twain around the world. Twain was in deep bankruptcy after publishing disasters and he became exhausted by work in order to clear his debts. Entertainment derives from Twain's epigrams and comments on humankind; in later years, he became a kind of performing pundit: rather like a nineteenth century version of Will Rogers. Fredric March gives a genuinely spendid performance as the beloved American writer who lived from 1835-1910. A trivia note: Because he was born while it was in orbit, Twain once remarked that he expected to "go out" with Halley's comet when it reappeared in 1910 - and - amazingly, he did! Warners tried to cover too much territory in this film; THE ADVENTURES OF MARK TWAIN were too many, and the picture is forced to montage too much of his life. What saves this film is the uncannily brilliant performance given by March. In the episodes showing him as the elderly Twain, March achieves a truly remarkable portrayal; he was indeed a dedicated and convincing actor!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gwen Geisinger on March 21, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
I especially enjoyed the early scenes which were wonderful and seeing Twain on the riverboat was thrilling. For a forties Hollywood bio, this film does remarkably well. There are factual errors here and there but on the whole, it was a pleasant surprise to see that they got much of it right. I've read that his daughter Clara was a consultant on this movie. Of course it also contained a typically overly sentimental death scene which all films of that era included. I've only been able to see this movie on TCM. Unfortunately, it is unavailable on VHS or DVD.

I don't understand why they have recently issued the Max Steiner score on CD but the DVD is still not available!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James L. on January 18, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Fredric March stars as the famous writer, who despite all the honours that would come his way, had the mud of the Mississippi River stuck between his toes and never got past the plain spoken humour and truth that were a part of him, whether the academics appreciated it or not. The film spans his whole life, taking highlights from various points and tying them together with his famous works and quotations often associated with him. March is quite good in the role, a challenge given the impression everyone already has of the famous writer. Alexis Smith plays his wife and biggest fan. There's not much to the role, and she does what she can with it. His early adventures are a lot more interesting than his later life, although March is more effective as the older Twain. I particularly enjoyed the early riverboat scenes. As with any biography from Forties Hollywood, it approaches its subject with reverence. That's fine, but it doesn't always make for exciting viewing. The film is directed without style or edge, and although it's easy to watch, it's not very inspired or engaging. I think Mr. Twain would have wanted a sharper script!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anoo on April 19, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Much like reading Mark Twain's own work, I started this movie just to see what it was about and couldn't stop until I reached the end. This movie is well presented, moving, and humorous. He'd have been proud.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Larry O. on September 20, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Terrific vintage Twain Gem from the WW2 era of film-making...Top notch performances by Frederic March, Alan Hale, and Alexis Smith...A good, old-fashioned comedy/drama par excellence!!! Enjoyed every minute of one of my all time favorites!!
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