The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944)

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Movie Info

Dismissed by critics as corny and obvious in 1944, this overlong but sincere biopic looks pretty good when seen today, cliches notwithstanding. Fredric March, 47 at the time, convincingly plays American author Sam Clemens, aka Mark Twain, from his early 20s to his death at 75. In typical movie-biography fashion, every single incident that happens in Twain's life is an INSPIRATION: he hears the depth-indication call "Mark Twain" while working on a riverboat and his face lights up; he engages in a jumping-frog contest against Bret Harte (John Carradine) and comes up with his first popular published story; and so on. Alexis Smith is better than usual in the role of Twain's wife Olivia Langdon, even keeping a straight face while Twain courts her in Fluent Quotation ("Everybody talks about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it", he says during a Hollywood-romance cloudburst). Though the script barely touches upon the dark side of Twain's nature, we are not spared his financial reverses (brought about by bad investments and his struggle to publish Ulysses S. Grant's memoirs. The closing sequence, with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn beckoning the spirit of Mark Twain to heaven as Halley's Comet fills the skies, may seem laughable on paper, but works quite well on film; even director Irving Rapper expressed amazement at the effectiveness of this scene! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Cast

Fredric March
as Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)
Alexis Smith
as Olivia Langdon Clemens
Donald Crisp
as J.B. Pond
Alan Hale
as Steve Gillis
C. Aubrey Smith
as Oxford Chancellor
John Carradine
as Bret Harte
William Henry
as Charles Langdon
Robert H. Barrat
as Horace E. Bixby
Walter Hampden
as Jervis Langdon
Joyce Reynolds
as Clara Clemens
Whitford Kane
as Joe Goodwin
Nana Bryant
as Mrs. Langdon
Dick Jones
as Sam Clemens (age 15)
Kay Johnson
as Jane Clemens
Jackie Brown
as Sam Clemens (age 12)
Eugene Holland
as Huck Finn
Joseph Crehan
as Promoter/Ulysses.S. Grant
Cliff Saum
as Prospector
Harry Tyler
as Assistant Editor
Douglas Wood
as William Dean Howells
Burr Caruth
as Oliver Wendell Holmes
Harry Hilliard
as John Greenleaf Whittier
Brandon Hurst
as Ralph Waldo Emerson
Davison Clark
as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Monte Blue
as Captain
Paul Newlan
as Boss Deckhand
Pat O'Malley
as Captain's Mate
George Lessey
as Henry H. Rogers
Dorothy Vaughan
as Kate Leary
Gloria Ann Crawford
as Susie as a Child
Carol Coombs
as Clara as a Child
Charlene Salerno
as Jean as a Child
Charles Waldron
as Dr. Quintard
Paul Scardon
as Rudyard Kipling
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Critic Reviews for The Adventures of Mark Twain

All Critics (3)

Bearing strong physical resemblance to the character, Fredric March gives a solid performance in this overly long, episodic and simplified biopicture of the famed novelist.

May 4, 2010 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
EmanuelLevy.Com

Solid but conventional biopic.

October 23, 2007 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Loving, beautifully photographed tribute to Twain with stellar March performance.

July 7, 2006 | Rating: 5/5
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

Audience Reviews for The Adventures of Mark Twain

It's too long but does capture Twain's mystique. March is great in the lead.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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