TWAIN-L Archives

Mark Twain Forum


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Condense Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Errol Craig Sull <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 17 Jan 2002 16:07:36 EST
text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (42 lines)
I've been reading with much interest the various e-mails folks have been
sending regarding Burns' film, and I'd like to throw in my few cents of
observation.  Some of you may know that I put on the Annual Mark Twain
Birthday Party & Symposium, here in Buffalo, and by far the overwhelming
majority of those in attendance are not made up of the Twain scholars and
Twainiacs who, for the most part, populate this listserv.  Rather, they are
people who have a greater-than-usual interest in Twain, but don't teach
Twain, don't write on Twain, don't attend Twain conferences, and are not to
be found in Twain listservs.  It is for this reason that each of the lecture
segments I present is no longer than 10 minutes -- a truly McTwain approach
to our great man.

I say this because I believe the huge, overwhelming majority of folks who
tuned in to watch the two nights were not concerned about Twichell or the
little time spent on Twain's father or the passing mention of his time out
west or the use of "Hawaii" instead of "Sandwich Islands" or the many other
points of disappointment brought up resulting from the film's misinformation,
lack of in-depth information, or left out information.  For the Burns'
production was NOT made with us in mind, but rather FOR the average person
who knows of the man (and often only because his quotes are so often used in
advertising and in speeches) but little beyond Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
and Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Yes, for those of us really dedicated to Twain, to Clemens, and to his work
there was much in the four hours that we can certainly feel disappointed
about.  But I think for the audience the film was intended to reach it did
one helluva' job in introducing, re-introducing, or reminding folks about
this greatest of American writers.  And to hear just one person say, "Hey --
I never knew Twain wasn't a racist!" well, the film had a nice little bonus
attached to it.

One final note.  As with many, if not all, on this listserv, many of my
friends and colleagues who are NOT Twain scholars or Twainiacs watched the
film.  Since I was curious about  their reaction, I counted the # of people I
knew who watched and talked with me about it ... and of 14, only two were
disappointed.  While Burns may not have delivered Twain at his gourmet best,
he did do one nice job in serving up the ol' boy so millions could walk away
just a bit happier about and a tad more informed of the who and what of M.T.
For me, that rates "satisfied" on my customer comment card.

Errol Craig Sull