Mark Twain's America in 3D | Chicago Reader

Mark Twain's America in 3D

The sensation of being in the spaces defined by the images is strong during some of the live-action footage in this 3-D collage, which also includes archival photos and stereographs, dramatized excerpts from Mark Twain's writings, and an omniscient voice-over delivered by Anne Bancroft. The irony may be cheap in a sequence depicting a volleyball game at a Hannibal, Missouri, Twain festival—the players get covered in mud as the voice-over describes how Twain's legacy has elevated the status of the place. But it's one of the few moments in this mixture of biography, history, and information about the activities of Twain enthusiasts that suggest something beyond the dully literal. When we're told about Twain's interest in the work of inventors and his bad luck—he apparently declined to invest in Alexander Graham Bell's project—we're shown a close-up of a telephone. And in a section dwelling on the deaths of Twain's loved ones we're presented with a shot of a bathtub in his Hartford, Connecticut, home and voice-over stating that his daughter died there. Written and directed by Stephen Low. 50 min.

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