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Category: Ken Burns (page 1 of 1)

Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Presented with the kind permission of Ken Burns.

From PBS International website:

A film by Ken Burns, profiling of the remarkable life and times of America’s greatest writer, Samuel Clemens, known and beloved to the world as Mark Twain.

It follows his rise from a hardscrabble youth in Missouri, his wanderings as a Mississippi riverboat pilot, Nevada prospector, California journalist, and as humorist on the lecture circuit.

Due to his tours of Europe, Australia, and other parts of the globe, he became by the time of his death, one of the first truly worldwide celebrities.

Mark Twain will reintroduce millions to this compelling yet contradictory genius, perhaps the only man who could say with some justification, “I am not an American, I am the American.”

Nearly three years in the making; the film draws from more than 63 hours worth of material; stunning cinematography from the places important to Twain’s story; thousands of archival photographs of the man who called himself “the most conspicuous person on the planet;” and fascinating insights culled from nearly 20 interviews with some of the nation’s leading writers and top Twain scholars, including Arthur Miller, William Styron, Russell Banks, Ron Powers, Hal Holbrook, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Laura Skandera-Trombley and Jocelyn Chadwick. Actor Keith David, who was the voice of JAZZ, is the narrator. The skilled character actor Kevin Conway breathes a fresh life into Twain’s own words.

“Burns doesn’t just recount the colorful artist’s life story – he makes it come alive.” – Entertainment Weekly

“MARK TWAIN does justice to an American treasure.” – People Magazine

“By the end you feel as if you know and both both Sam Clemens and Mark Twain.” – The Boston Globe

Tom Sawyer tricks some kids into painting the fence for him

Official portrait of Mark Twain in his DLitt (Doctor of Letters) academic dress, awarded by Oxford University.

Official portrait of Mark Twain in his DLitt (Doctor of Letters) academic dress, awarded by Oxford University.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright

Presented with the kind permission of Ken Burns.

From promotional blurb:

Frank Lloyd Wright was the greatest of all American architects. He was an authentic American genius, a man who believed he was destined to redesign the world, creating everything anew.

Over the course of his long career, Wright designed over eight hundred buildings, including such revolutionary structures as the Guggenheim Museum, the Johnson Wax Building, Fallingwater, Unity Temple and Taliesin.

Wright’s buildings and his ideas changed the way we live, work and see the world around us. Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural achievements were often overshadowed by the turbulence of his melodramatic life.

In ninety-two years, he fathered seven children, married three times and was almost constantly embroiled in scandal. Some hated him, some loved him, but in the end, few could deny that he was the most important architect in America – and perhaps the world.

With exquisite live cinematography, fascinating interviews and rare archival footage, this riveting film (by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick) brings Wright’s unforgettable story to life.

John Clark @ …

The beauty of (this documentary) Frank Lloyd Wright is that aside from telling a long and often melodramatic story lucidly, it deals with issues of art and architecture in ways that are approachable but not simplistic. (It’s also surprisingly scandalous, although this is seen as part of his art.)

Wright was first and foremost a rebel who took his cues from nature, though, as one commentator points out, this is not to say his approach was natural. What he was rebelling against was the clutter and claustrophobia of Victorian architecture. The rooms he designed opened up on each other, and his exteriors seemed to grow laterally out of the landscape.

… The filmmakers have wisely kept the technical talk to a minimum, but they are also not afraid to step back and let the experts ruminate on the nature of his genius, even when these experts are at a loss for words.

…  Wright himself comes across as a man who never doubted himself, a lousy father, and self-consciously Byronic. His vitality and larger-than-life persona seemed to belong to the 19th century, making him–and this is perhaps a mixed blessing — the last of his kind.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water

Falling Water