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What's your favorite Lincoln movie or screen appearance?


jakeem
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Today marks the sesquicentennial of an event that changed American history. On April 14,1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded at Ford's Theatre in Washington by actor John Wilkes Booth, a Southern sympathizer. The president died in the early morning hours of April 15th. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton was certainly correct when he declared: "Now he belongs to the ages."

 

Lincoln belongs to the movies, too, which prompts the question: What's your favorite movie or scene involving the 16th president?

 

One of my favorite appearances is from the 1938 drama "Of Human Hearts," in which James Stewart plays a Union doctor who is scolded by President Lincoln (an almost unrecognizable John Carradine) for neglecting his mother (Oscar nominee Beulah Bondi) back home in the Midwest.

 

 

 

I also love the scene in Frank Capra's "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939), in which newly-appointed U.S. Senator Jefferson Smith (Stewart again) gains inspiration during a visit to the Lincoln Memorial.

 

 

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The Daniel Day-Lewis film, of course. In terms of briefer screen roles, I'm fond of Abraham Lincoln's appearance at the very beginning of John Ford's The Prisoner of Shark Island. Lincoln is played by Frank McGlynn Sr., who played Lincoln on screen many times. 

 

I just recorded the D.W. Griffith/Walter Huston film. Haven't watched it yet. Any opinions?

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The Daniel Day-Lewis film, of course. In terms of briefer screen roles, I'm fond of Abraham Lincoln's appearance at the very beginning of John Ford's The Prisoner of Shark Island. Lincoln is played by Frank McGlynn Sr., who played Lincoln on screen many times. 

 

I just recorded the D.W. Griffith/Walter Huston film. Haven't watched it yet. Any opinions?

I love Walter Huston but the film is a very early sound picture with all that implies. Very creaky and also episodic. It takes the main events of Lincoln's life and there's a scene for each one but not much flow to the story. It's reverential but not very interesting.

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Y'know....During the weekend of John F. Kennedy's assassination, the TV was rife with quickly compiled short features of Lincoln/Kennedy comparisons, and some short films about Abraham Lincoln.

 

ONE they showed, which I've never seen before, nor since, featured character actor ROYAL DANO as the pre-presidential Abraham Lincoln!  And even briefly covered his life AFTER being elected.  I don't recall now if the assassination was covered or not, but surprisingly(or NOT) DANO was a VERY GOOD Lincoln!  AND probably SOUNDED actually more like the real man than Fonda, Massey or the others.

 

And, I thought DANIEL DAY-LEWIS  was damned good!

 

 

Sepiatone

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In addition to ABE LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS, I have film prints of Frank McGlynn in LINCOLN IN THE WHITE HOUSE (Technicolor short), ABRAHAM LINCOLN (Huston) and the incredibly rare silent film THE DRAMATIC LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.  The latter is a 1924 production starring George Billings, who played Lincoln many times on the stage.

 

life_of_abraham_lincoln_billings.jpg

life_of_abraham_lincoln_gettysburg.jpg

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Y'know....During the weekend of John F. Kennedy's assassination, the TV was rife with quickly compiled short features of Lincoln/Kennedy comparisons, and some short films about Abraham Lincoln.

 

ONE they showed, which I've never seen before, nor since, featured character actor ROYAL DANO as the pre-presidential Abraham Lincoln!  And even briefly covered his life AFTER being elected.  I don't recall now if the assassination was covered or not, but surprisingly(or NOT) DANO was a VERY GOOD Lincoln!  AND probably SOUNDED actually more like the real man than Fonda, Massey or the others.

 

This may have been the Omnibus production written by James Agee

 

http://www.popmatters.com/review/167044-james-agees-mr.-lincoln-and-the-civil-war/

 

husRfF2.jpg

 

 

An entire book has been written about this:

 

i8onoZ7.jpg

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Ah, the infamous "Help me, Spock!" episode, also known as "The Savage Curtain." Lincoln was portrayed by Lee Bergere, who later co-starred as Joseph Anders, manager of the Carrington household on TV's "Dynasty."

 

 


 
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Day-Lewis' performance is not likely to be bettered.  One advantage is that he actually makes a good effort to sound like someone from Kentucky.  Another advantage is that the movie makes some effort to show that otherwise reasonable people did not hold Lincoln before his murder.

 

Fonda and Young Mr. Lincoln are immeasurably superior to Massey and Abe Lincoln in Illinois.  The latter is the kind of historical oversimplification Hollywood is deservedly loathed for, with Lincoln as popular, humble hero, and not the canny lawyer who hated being called Abe in real life.  There are some classic scenes in Young Mr. Lincoln and the scene where Fonda mentions the death of his mother and Ann Rutledge in passing is a model of Fordian restraint.  But the main reason Ford uses restraint was that his ability to deal with real emotions was strictly limited.  The reason the movie discusses the Rutledge legend in the first place is that the actual love of Lincoln's life--his wife, of course--wasn't good enough for national myth, and that hagiography weakens the movie as well.

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This may have been the Omnibus production written by James Agee

 

http://www.popmatters.com/review/167044-james-agees-mr.-lincoln-and-the-civil-war/

 

husRfF2.jpg

 

 

An entire book has been written about this:

 

i8onoZ7.jpg

 

Yes - I have the five part series on film, entitled MR. LINCOLN.  It takes Lincoln from his Springfield days to the end of his life.  Royal Dano was a fine, fine actor and his Lincoln is terrific.  I believe the DVD is of the feature-version of the five-part series.

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@Richard Kimball:

 

Tried looking into that OMNIBUS thing about Royal Dano playing Lincoln, and you're probably right.  I just remember seeing the film on the Kennedy assassination weekend, and no introduction of it to explain where it came from.  I recognized Dano from other features, but had no idea what his name was at that time.  I WAS only 12 years old at the time, and not really "into" those sorts of things. 

 

But, thanks for the information. :)

 

 

Sepiatone

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