Lost in the Movies: Mark Twain (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #20)

Mark Twain (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #20)

Ken Burns recently released a new documentary series on Ernest Hemingway so although I'd been planning this episode here - on another Burns film about an American author - for months, the schedule was once again serendipitous. Several years ago, I kept catching bits and pieces of Mark Twain on TV and I found it so unexpectedly fascinating that I eventually had to watch the whole thing straight through. I'd known less about Twain's life than I thought I did, and both his persona and Burns' approach reeled me in. On the podcast I discuss those subjects, including the filmmaker's wider oeuvre and why I think he tends to be stronger in certain areas (and certain styles). However, there was also something more broad in the film that stirred me. In the last few minutes of the episode I muse on why the mid-nineteenth century milieu of Twain's childhood resonates across time and space; the movie offers a remarkable window into both the haunting and pleasing aspects of the writer's quintessentially American idyll.

Incidentally, if you missed my Patreon follow-up to the public Blue Velvet episode a couple weeks ago, it's (or rather, they're) linked below. Before the end of April, there will also be a fainter Patreon echo of this episode too. When my upcoming Patreon episode discusses the old-fashioned rustic charm of The Straight Story as well as the very Ken Burns-influenced "Ben re-enacts the Civil War" storyline, I'll be touching on the subject of Burns' masterpiece, The Civil War (which is already central to the Lost in Twin Peaks episode I opened up to all patrons this month).

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