Horton Foote's The Shape of the River: The Lost Teleplay about Mark Twain, with History and Analysis
Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2003 - Performing Arts - 170 pages
Published for the first time and reprinted from the only surviving copy of the script, which was discovered in the CBS-TV vaults, Applause is proud to present The Shape of the River, an ambitious television drama by Horton Foote. Mark Twain once remarked that inside every person, "there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy." However, tragedy was a dimension of Twain's life that was largely concealed from the public until The Shape of the River, starring Shirley Knight, appeared on the acclaimed series Playhouse 90 in 1960. Foote's play explored the misfortune and loss that characterized Twain's last 15 years. From his heroic (and successful) attempt to repay almost $100,000 in debt by lecturing around the world (which he hated), to the deaths of his wife and two daughters, this last phase of his life was marked by an incredible amount of sadness and pain. Not seen since its initial broadcast, The Shape of the River has long held legendary status for fans of both Twain and classic television. The play is accompanied by commentary by Twain scholar Mark Dawidziak, who examines the writing and production of the teleplay, and considers its meaning for students of Twain and television. Also included are rare photos from the original Playhouse 90 taping.
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