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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 16 Jan 2002 16:53:14 EST
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Overall, I think it is important to view Ken Burns' MT documentary for what
it is and for who its intended audience might be. As a comprehensive
bio-documentary intended for a general audience which boils down 75 riotous
years into four hours, it has to be declared a whooping success.

That said, it suffers from the same stylistic weaknesses as some of his other
efforts. I am bothered that source material is often quoted without any
citation for context. Whether the material comes from the fiction or
nonfiction writings makes a difference. The presentation of images for their
effect not accuracy is misleading especially for the general public being
introduced to the topic. (eg.- mention of the Confederate ranger unit Twain
joined is mentioned with a photo of a group of young misfits. The unintiated
will take this as an actual photo of the group) I think it is historically
deceptive, however aesthetically fitting or pleasing.

Just a few thoughts for what their worth.

Alan C. Reese