Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mark Twain walking in front of Stormfield, his house in Redding Connecticut (1909)

Digital restoration of the only known motion picture film of Mark Twain. The two women he sits down with are believed to be his daughters, Clara and Jean (Jean would die on Christmas Eve of that year and Twain himself would be dead the next year).

Mark Twain | Edison Film | Digitally Restored

The restored film has been flipped left to right. See the original, non-restored film below:

As I watched this, I had a strange feeling of having seen another film of Mark Twain riding in an automobile, but I guess as there is no such film in existence, I made up that memory, which is at least as reliable as Mark Twain's official written autobiography.

Since Clemens's friend Thomas Edison made this film, I was also wondering whether Twain's voice had ever been recorded as well. Apparently it was, as Twain dictated a story into a phonograph in 1891, but those recording (on wax cylinders) were lost. The year this film was made, Twain did also record his voice at Edison's lab, but those recordings were destroyed in a 1914 fire. What a shame.

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