7.5/10
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The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985)

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Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher and Huck Finn join Mark Twain on his airship to meet Halley's Comet.

Director:

Will Vinton

Writers:

Susan Shadburne, Mark Twain (segment)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Whitmore ... Mark Twain (voice)
Michele Mariana Michele Mariana ... Becky Thatcher / The Mysterious Stranger / Girl In Crowd (voice)
Gary Krug Gary Krug ... Huck Finn (voice)
Chris Ritchie Chris Ritchie ... Tom Sawyer (voice)
John Morrison John Morrison ... Adam (voice)
Carol Edelman Carol Edelman ... Eve (voice)
Dal McKennon Dal McKennon ... Jim Smiley (voice) (as Dallas McKennon)
Herb Smith Herb Smith ... The Stranger (voice)
Marley Stone Marley Stone ... Aunt Polly (voice)
Wilbur Vincent Wilbur Vincent ... The Mysterious Stranger (voice)
Wally Newman Wally Newman ... Captain Stormfield (voice)
Tim Conner Tim Conner ... Three-Headed Alien (voice)
Todd Tolces Todd Tolces ... Saint Peter (voice)
Billy Scream Billy Scream ... The Indexivator / Animals (voice)
Bob Griggs Bob Griggs ... First Heckler (voice)
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Storyline

Based on elements from the stories of Mark Twain, this feature-length Claymation fantasy follows the adventures of Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher and Huck Finn as they stowaway aboard the interplanetary balloon of Mark Twain. Twain, disgusted with the human race, is intent upon finding Halley's Comet and crashing into it, achieving his "destiny." It's up to Tom, Becky, and Huck to convince him that his judgment is wrong and that he still has much to offer humanity that might make a difference. Their efforts aren't just charitable; if they fail, they will share Twain's fate. Along the way, they use a magical time portal to get a detailed overview of the Twain philosophy, observing the "historical" events that inspired his works. Written by Doug Ferrar <DAFerrar@ix.netcom.com>

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Taglines:

Where dreams become reality.


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 July 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Adventures of Mark Twain by Huck Finn See more »

Filming Locations:

Portland, Oregon, USA

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$849,915
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the sets had to be split up into smaller sections and reinforced with extra plywood to hold the quarter-ton of clay that was being built up on the table-tops. See more »

Goofs

All the characters pronounce Halley's Comet with a long a. The comet is named for Sir Edmund Halley, whose name is pronounced with a short a. See more »

Quotes

The Mysterious Stranger: [witnessing two clay men fighting over a clay cow] I find you humans quite interesting, even though you are a worthless, greedy lot.
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Soundtracks

Heroes
Written by Billy Scream and Paul Jamison
Performed by Craig Carothers and the Billy Scream Band
Lyrics by Susan Shadburne
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User Reviews

 
Thoughtful, fun, and dark
22 May 2002 | by imlangloisSee all my reviews

I must have seen The Adventures of Mark Twain for the first time over twelve years ago, and for over a decade it had haunted me... rarely, if ever, rebroadcast, I was left only with vague memory of what I remembered as one of the most vibrant pieces of visual art and storytelling that I was exposed to as a youth. I recently purchased it directly from the studio that released it, and got to return to it for the first time in a long time. Of course, when returning to childhood films, you always run the risk of being disappointed by the film being worse than you recall. Luckily, I was not disappointed at all. The story is of Mark Twain's characters Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher as they stow on board an airship created by Mark Twain himself. Through the course of their journey across the world to meet Haley's comet, we are invited to retellings of Twain stories and meet all sorts of different characters. The humour is intelligent and dry, but not over the heads of children.

Visually, this piece is stunning. There is something vivid and tactile about stop-motion animation that will always appeal to me more than any CGI creation. Will Vinton outdoes himself with this piece. From the grandeur of Twain's airship or the Garden of Eden, to the detail of Twain's parlour/billiard room and the simple, truthful human expressions that the animators manage to create on the characters' faces, the film is impressive from first to last.

What surprised me the most is how this film, which I remembered as a children's or family film, is in fact quite dark. It deals with aspects of life, death, evil, and human nature that one would never expect in a so-called "family" film. But while the outward darkness, and, at times, even morbidity of individual aspects may seem inappropriate for family viewing, it comes from the sane and grounded perspective that Twain himself seems to have been known for. Like in any good storytelling, the dark side of humanity is not spared from the viewer just because of the potentially youthful audiences.

By way of criticism, the film could definitely move at a faster pace. The humour, while clever and dry, as I said, could have been pushed farther. There were many times the film set us up for quite a punchline and then didn't deliver, instead settling for a consistent level of pleasant amusement. And I wish the episodic structure had been more fully taken advantage of, and had been extended into even more stories. But that may just be me wishing the movie was longer than 86 minutes. You can't have too much of a good thing.

I give the storytelling an 8 out of 10, and visuals a 10 of 10. Overall, a 9. There aren't too many of those, as far as I'm concerned.

And even if you didn't like this movie, you gotta admit, it's one of a kind.


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