May 07, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it a B+

”Man is the only animal that blushes — or needs to,” rasps Hal Holbrook as gruff, disillusioned Samuel Clemens in Mark Twain Tonight; in the course of this 90-minute monologue, the hallmark of Holbrook’s career, he tells us why, weaving together Twainiana on topics from lying to patriotism to religious hypocrisy. There’s a faint air of self-congratulation underneath the overenthusiastic laughter of this 1967 broadcast — the script gives a lot of room to his antislavery views, for example, making Twain both edgy and saintly. Even so, his remarks were timely then and still are. B+

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