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Alan Eliasen <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 16 Oct 2017 03:45:19 -0600
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On 2017-10-13 22:26, Scott Holmes wrote:
> I had never heard of this made-for-tv movie before I found it in Kanopy
> (a service of the Los Angeles Public Library).  Robert Lancing did a
> great turn as Horace Bixby and I thought they did well by putting
> Twain's words in his mouth at the end.  I generally don't much care for
> adaptations of Twain but this may be the best I've seen.

   I hadn't heard of the TV version of "Life on the Mississsippi", but
it appears to be an episode of PBS's "Great Performances", apparently
first aired 1980-11-24 in season 8 or 9.  Sam Clemens was played by a
young David Knell in his film debut (Also, it's Lansing, not Lancing)

   Here is Knell's page with a short excerpt which I found true to the
spirit and the humor of the book, if not the letter:

   PBS's "Great Performances" website is a trash-fire, (multiple,
multiple bugs are filed for everything I tried on that site) so you
probably can't find any information about the episode there.  But you
can maybe find information about the episode elsewhere:

   * IMDb entry:

   * I searched on my TiVo device for "Life on the Mississippi", and it
told me that the (for-pay, but with a 2-week free (?) trial available)
EPiX video streaming service could stream it to me.  I have not verified
this.  It claims to be able to stream to a variety of devices, but maybe
not even to your main computer or proper TV.

   * An search for the title says both "Available to watch on
supported devices" and "This title is currently unavailable" within the
same block:

   * As noted by Scott Holmes, you *may* be able to stream it from the
Kanopy video service but probably only if your university has bought
into this system and given you a usable password:

  * You can buy a VHS version of the movie on your favorite auction
site.  In some places, there are 5 tapes marketed under "Mark Twain
Classics".  I will warn you in advance that "The Innocents Abroad" is
one of my favorite literary works ever and that the "Mark Twain
Classics" video adaptation of "The Innocents Abroad" is one of the worst
adaptations that has ever been made.  At some point, Mark Twain has a
wrestling match with the captain of the Quaker City, and the author and
director ham-handedly destroy every joke that Clemens wrote, if they
were to acknowledge them at all.  They wrote their own "better" jokes.
I have reviewed this elsewhere.  I shall mention it no more.  Avoid
their version of The Innocents Abroad at all costs.  But they do have
"Pudd'nhead Wilson" and "The Mysterious Stranger" and "A Private History
of a Campaign That Failed" in that series, which are hard to find.  I do
not vouch for any of these either.

   * Turner Classic Movies has Life on the Mississippi on DVD for sale.
I am hesitant to mention this until I have received notification that my
DVD has shipped and you all get in on it.  It is nominally about $20 but
was $10.95 (plus shipping) when I went to check out.  They also have
Pudd'nhead Wilson from American Playhouse in that series.

  Alan Eliasen
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