Thanks for this. I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't know about some of this already. I'm curious about what he thought about film narrative more generally, but the fact that some of his work made the transition to the screen is even more than my query intended. I'll definitely check out your and Kent's work.
--- On Thu, 11/4/10, Mark Dawidziak <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
From: Mark Dawidziak <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Twain and Cinema?
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Thursday, November 4, 2010, 1:47 PM
This might not directly answer your question, but here are a few
paragraphs from a "Mark Twain on Screen" study by that noted Clemens
cinema scholar, R. Mark Rasmiak (actually a joint effort -- and a low
joint, at that -- by Kent Rasmussen and Mark Dawidziak):
If Twain took notice of the four short silent film adaptations released
in his lifetime, he left behind no scraps of what certainly would have
been valuable early examples of movie criticism. The first of these, /A
Curious Dream/, a Vitagraph production based on Twain's 1870 sketch
about a complaining skeleton, and a highly condensed /Tom Sawyer, /were
released in 1907.
Was Twain aware of the burgeoning movie business? Given his fascination
with inventions and patents, one suspects that he gave at least passing
thought to the commercial possibilities for these flickering images. We
know that near the end of his life, Mark Twain, dressed in his white
suit and puffing on a cigar, paraded before a motion-picture camera set
up at Stormfield -- maybe with Thomas Edison himself behind the camera.
We also know that, in 1909, the Mark Twain Company allowed the Edison
Company to make a film version of /The Prince and the Pauper /for a
permission fee of $150. And Twain is reported to have made a brief
appearance as himself in Edison's /The Prince and the Pauper, /a lost
film. That same year, Biograph released /The Death Disc: A Story of the
Cromwellian Period, /directed by D.W. Griffith and based on the story
published in 1901. It was followed in 1910, the year of Twain's death,
by Edison's /A Mountain Blizzard, /based on Chapters 32 and 33 of
On 11/4/2010 12:02 PM, Lawrence Howe wrote:
> Does anyone have knowledge of Twain's thoughts on cinema? =A0In "Italian Wi=
> thout a Master" he includes a newspaper listing of Florence attractions whi=
> ch include 2 "spectacoli Cinematagrafici" -- =A0"Quo Vadis" which was playi=
> ng at the Sala Edison, and "Don Chisciotte" playing at Ciematografo. =A0 Si=
> nce he met Edison and was later filmed by him, I suspect that he had scene =
> film at some point, especially in Europe. =A0 Any help?