You can find more information about the TV movie and other Twain films in
my '"media Adaptations of Mark Twain's Work" in the Mark Twain Encyclopedia.
I wrote that so long ago, I have no memory of any specific details. Perhaps
someone here has a digital copy and can copy the data here?
From: Mark Twain Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Alan Eliasen
Sent: Monday, October 16, 2017 5:45 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Life on the Mississippi
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 Amazon.com search for the title says both "Available to watch on
supported devices" and "This title is currently unavailable" within the same
* 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.
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