“The War Prayer” of Mark Twain (encore post)


(Updating dead links, especially from the late and lamented (here at least) VodPod, I found myself back in 2008, with this post on Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer.”  Fortunately, I found the film migrated to YouTube, though split in two parts.  Some information that should have caught our attention in 2008 deserves noting now, and we can update and add new links.)

It’s largely forgotten now, especially in history texts in high schools.  After the Spanish-American War, when the U.S. wrested several territories from Spain, including Guam, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, the U.S. quickly got mired in one of the original guerrilla wars in the Philippines.  It took 15 years, but the U.S. finally put down the rebellion — 15 brutal, bloody years.  The conduct of that war shocked many people, including Mark Twain.

This piece was written partly in response to that war.

Many Americans, like Twain, who questioned the war, in turn had their patriotism questioned.  Why wouldn’t they get on board with the war, and kill off those Filipino rebels? the critics asked.

Here’s a film in two parts, a stunning production, produced and directed by Markos Kounalakis (who uploaded the thing); go to the film’s website for a copy of the text.

Part I:

Part II:

Why didn’t I notice this in 2008?  The film is narrated by Peter Coyote.  Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti plays the minister.  Erik Bauersfeld plays the Stranger.

Another short film of The War Prayer came out in 2007, from Lyceum Productions.  Neither version appears to be available on DVD or Blu-Ray.  Too bad.

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7 Responses to “The War Prayer” of Mark Twain (encore post)

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    The animated version also appears in an uncut version, here:

    Featured at Animation Film Screening at OSA Archivum in Budapest, Hungary to commemorate UN Human Rights Day, December 9, 2010.

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Oh, yeah — Liam already provided the link! Thanks.

    Like

  3. Ed Darrell says:

    So, how was that version of the War Prayer in that film? ::scurrying off to see if I can find it::

    Like

  4. jaycubed says:

    I have a wonderful illustrated book version of The War Prayer, but have never seen a filmed version. Thanks for the link.

    Like

  5. Liam says:

    Reblogged this on Panorama of the Mountains and commented:
    The first time I heard of The War Prayer was in a film adaptation of Twain’s The Private History of a Campaign that Failed. The War Prayer is dramatized as an epilogue to that story. This the YouTube version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVYIRbmxHpc

    I chose The War Prayer to read at an interfaith service when I was at college.

    Like

  6. Liam says:

    The first time I heard of The War Prayer was in a film adaptation of Twain’s The Private History of a Campaign that Failed. The War Prayer is dramatized as an epilogue to that story. This the YouTube version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVYIRbmxHpc

    I chose The War Prayer to read at an interfaith service when I was at college.

    Like

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