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Kevin Mac Donnell <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 7 Jan 2014 13:19:09 -0600
text/plain (73 lines)
I saw it and immediately went out to buy the book (to read and then add to 
my extensive shelf of Twaints) and discovered that Jeff Nichols had written 
the film --there's no book. Damn!

The Twain motifs and metaphors are abundant but a little muddled (yes, 
that's a pun) with no particular character in the film carrying along a 
particular theme long enough to parallel Twain's works too closely. There 
may be loads of postmodern formalist metatextuality in the film, but I don't 
know what those words mean any more than those who use them, so I missed it 
if there was any. Don't expect it to be an updated HF set in our time. But 
that doesn't matter since the periodic nods to incidents and characters in 
TS and HF are effective just as they are. There's no "I'll go to Hell" 
moment although the scene where Mud takes the snakebitten kid to the ER 
might qualify. There's also no Tom Sawyer character playing off a Huck Finn 
character, or vice versa, and there's no Jim. Yes, Mud's situation parallels 
Jim's superficially, but they are very different characters except for Mud's 
somewhat paternal attitiude toward the boys. No evasion chapters, so to 
speak, but none needed. They *were* needed in HF to highlight postwar 
treatment of blacks after slavery "ended"-- just in case there are any 
"evasion-whiners" listening. I thought the movie ended just right, but won't 
spoil that for those who have not seen it.

If we have any movie buffs on the list I'd invite them to informally treat 
us all to a full-dress review of this flick, connecting all of the dots. 
Heck, I might go see it again...

Mac Donnell Rare Books
9307 Glenlake Drive
Austin TX 78730
Member: ABAA, ILAB
You may browse our books at

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Larry Howe" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2014 11:39 AM
Subject: Mud--homage to Twain

> Forum--
> I'm wondering if anyone else has seen the film _Mud_ (2013) one of the =
> latest films in the recuperation of Matthew McConaughey's career.  I =
> mention it here  because it bears multiple Twain connections.=20
> Namely, it features a couple of boys (not too far removed from Huck and =
> Tom) who befriend a fugitive on an island in the Mississippi near =
> Arkansas.  The fugitive, the eponymous Mud (McConaughey), subscribes to =
> all kinds of superstitious beliefs including warding off evil sprits =
> with a cross in his boot heel.   Like Twain's Jim, Mud spouts lore about =
> snakebites and near the climax risks his own exposure to the authorities =
> to save one of the wounded boys, who, like Huck in the =
> Grangerford-Shepherdson sequence, served as Mud's go-between to the =
> woman he loves. If these correspondences weren't sufficient, the Twain =
> connection is clinched by the introduction of a loner character named =
> Tom Blankenship (Sam Shepard).  =20
> I'd seen a few reviews of this film, none of which mentioned the =
> connections to _HF_.   Anyone else seen it or know anymore about it?
> -----
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