Movie Review: “Mark Twain” by PBS

Mark Twain is famous for his “Huckleberry” and “Tom Sawyer” novels. He has many famous quotes that have been recited many times. I haven’t known much about his life. This PBS-produced autobiography depicts Samuel Clement’s life from his childhood in the south to his death in New York.

Mark Twain, Samuel Clement’s pen name, has a rather tragic personal life. All of his family members, his wife and all but one of his 4 daughters and one son died before him. His business acumen or lack thereof caused his financial distress and forced him to go back to the lecture circuit at his old age of 60. And he managed repaid all of his debts eventually. But it took the toll on his family. Nevertheless, his propensity for vanity and spotlight makes him a true American or “the American.”

Mark Twain is the quintessential standup comedian with a flare for literature. He recognized the evil in slavery (thus the novel “Huckleberry Finn” and spoke up against big businesses, politics and imperialism.

I was amazed how well traveled he was in that era. He traveled to all over America, Europe, middle east and even India. I think the only place he hadn’t traveled was China. I believe these give him a worldview perspective. Though his other novels did not enjoy as much acclamation as “Huckleberry” and “Tom Sawyer” but there are so many of them.

The biography shows lots of pictures from his young age until his death, thanks to the invention of photography and even movie in his life time. These are real tresures. Mark Twain left us lots of legacy and his literature gifts. In a way, he re-defined the American literature.