Classic Film Review: From Clemens To Twain

Another Old Movie Blog: The Adventures of Mark Twain - 1944

The Adventures of Mark Twain is a biographical film released in 1944.  Irving Rapper directed this particular piece, which was written by Alan Le May and Harold M. Sherman.  Fredric March stars in the titular role.  The cast also includes Alexis Smith, Alan Hale, C. Aubrey Smith, and John Carradine.

The film starts off with the birth of one Samuel L. Clemens and follows his life journey through his period as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi to a prospector to a newpaper reporter in Nevada.  Also, Clemens publishes his first story under his famous pseudonym Mark Twain.  Then we see his fame and family grow.

First of all, March is well cast as Twain.  He seems to impressively avoid a caricature performance well enough, given Twain’s well known flamboyance and bombastic mannerisms.  The set designs were quite well constructed.  There is some beautiful scenery throughout the movie.

It’s a little bit of a struggle though to sit through.  There are some moments that feel pretty slow.  I also had some difficulty keeping my bearings as to where in Twain’s life I was supposed to be viewing.  Of course, I actually don’t know much about his history.  There was a mixture of fantasy as well with the presence of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn near the beginning and the end.

There are a lot of merits to this film, but it could seem to be a little rambling at times.  The pacing could stand some improvement, but the film manages to hold together fairly well on the strength of the casting and the depiction of probably one of the most eccentric scribes in American history.

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