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Walter Huston Double Feature (Abraham Lincoln / The Struggle)

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Editorial Reviews


The silent cinema s renowned pioneer, D.W. Griffith, directed only two sound features: ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1930) and THE STRUGGLE (1931), both collected on this DVD. Returning to the historic era of his greatest success, Griffith paid homage to the sixteenth President in this moving drama starring Walter Huston (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre). Focusing on Lincoln s personal tragedies, as well as his great accomplishments, Griffith s film depicts the American icon with a sensitivity and grace rivaled only by John Ford s Young Mr. Lincoln. A departure from the historical super-productions for which he was known, THE STRUGGLE was an intimate drama of an American everyman who falls victim to the debilitating affliction of alcoholism. No stranger to the destructive influence of drink, Griffith pulls no punches in dramatizing its potential horrors, especially in the terrifying climax when Jimmie, tormented by delirium tremors, attacks his young daughter (Edna Hagan) in the hovel that was once their happy home. ABRAHAM LINCOLN has been mastered in HD from the Museum of Modern Art s 35mm restoration of Griffith s historical epic. THE STRUGGLE was remastered in HD from a 35mm archive print from the Raymond Rohauer Collection.

- Mastered in HD from 35mm archive prints

- Introduction to The Birth of a Nation, featuring Walter Huston and D.W. Griffith on the set of Abraham Lincoln

- Lincoln s assassination: comparison of scenes in Abraham Lincoln and The Birth of a Nation

- Gallery of photos and original pressbook for Abraham Lincoln

US 1930 B&W 93 Min. Full-frame (1.20:1)

US 1931 B&W 93 Min. Full-frame (1.33:1)

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Walter Huston, Hal Skelly
  • Directors: D.W. Griffith
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Original recording remastered
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • DVD Release Date: November 18, 2008
  • Run Time: 186 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001G5T6O4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,578 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By burritobrother VINE VOICE on November 9, 2008
Verified Purchase
"Abraham Lincoln" was D.W. Griffith's first sound picture and the title says it all. While boring in places, it's still one of the best screen biographies of the first Republican President and shows that Griffith wasn't a spent force. This film has been on several low-budget dvd's for years, but this Kino edition (of course) beats them all. I actually felt as though I were watching "Abraham Lincoln" for the first time viewing this great print.
But for as good, even great, as "Abraham Lincoln" is, it's the other film here, 1931's "The Struggle", that makes this an absolute must-buy.
"The Struggle" turned out to be Griffith's second and sadly final sound movie and revolves around a generally likable but emotionally weak family man who succumbs to alcoholism. The story is good (reuniting the great director with writer Anita Loos), but it's the personal investment from the director that imbues "The Struggle" with it's greatness. Although a big flop at the time - apparently in the early years of the Great Depression few wanted to see such an unflinching and stark depiction of self-destruction - I consider "The Struggle" one of Griffith's five greatest full-length features (the others being "Intolerance", "Broken Blossoms", "Isn't Life Wonderful" and "The Greatest Question").
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brad Baker VINE VOICE on November 1, 2008
D.W. Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation" is generally considered the beginning of modern American cinema. Kino has released "Griffith Masterwork 2". This is 1 disc DVD with Griffith's only two sound features: "Abraham Lincoln(1930)" and "The Struggle(1931)". These were his last productions.
No. 1 is "Abrham Lincoln( B&W 93 minutes Fullframe (1.20:1)", a highly episodic work, with scenes from Lincoln's life, from his birth to his death. You see his romance with Ann Rutledge, his career as a lawyer, his marriage to Mary Todd, his election to the presidency, the Civil War, and his assassination by John Wilkes Booth. Other sections include Sheridan's ride, and Lincoln preparing to speek at Ford's Theater, which morphs into the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln is portrayed by Walter Huston, a rising star at the time. Huston was new in Hollywood after a career in vaudeville and a short Broadway jaunt. His son was director John Huston.
No. 2 is "The Struggle(1931 B&W 93 minutes Full-frame (1.33:1)". "The Struggle" traces the sad, step-by-step decline of Jimmie Wilson, from his first drink, to street-begging, to a battle with the D.T.'s. No major tragedy is ever given as the cause of Jimmie's alcoholic demise. But, he is seen taking a drink when his daughter is hospitalized, and after a friend loses a job. A known drinker himself, Griffith does not, in this film, make a case against Prohibition, which was in force at the time. Rather, he portray's a sunny beer garden full of cheerful middle-class folks quaffing light wine and cold beer. Alcoholism seems not the point, but rather Jimmie's descent. Jimmie finally reaches an hallucinatory point, where he is unable to recognize his own child. Next comes a more standard Griffith device: the locked room, the frightened girl, and the brutal male.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tom Without Pity on May 13, 2010
This is a review for the Kino single disc edition of D.W. Griffith's
ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1930) and THE STRUGGLE (1931). These are the only
two talking films that Griffith directed and as such are of more than
slight historical interest.

But citing these two films just for their significance in film history does
not really do them justice for the artistic accomplishment that they
both are. Griffith imbued them both with his own personal sentiment
and feelings about life and the world we live in.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN's early life is told in brief anecdotes, including his
heartrendering courtship with Ann Rutledge, wonderfully played by
Una Merkel. When we get to the presidency and the civil war and finally
Lincoln's assasination, the story narrative goes into much more detail
and illustrates as much truth as myth, it looks like to me.

Walter Huston does a really fine job as Lincoln and this edition of the film
includes scenes previously thought lost. Although the lost scenes do not
have any sound, subtitles serve the purpose of keeping the story moving
for the few minutes where sound is missing.

THE STRUGGLE is a story on a much smaller scale, about a newly wed man who at
first has no trouble staying away from alcohol but after a while comes to depend
on it for a little pick me up and even later his life pretty much centers
around drinking. But with the help of his loyal wife and child, Jimmy
seems to find a way out of his tragic downfall.

THE STRUGGLE is a sympathetic look at alcoholism and its effect on a family,
a society and the world, you might say.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chip Kaufmann on November 21, 2012
Verified Purchase
D. W. Griffith only got to make 2 sound features before his directorial career was terminated and they are both on this DVD. Walter Huston, however, is not in both movies. He is only in ABRAHAM LINCOLN playing the title role. Now that that has been cleared up, let's take a look at each film as this is the first time that both have appeared in restored editions.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN is receiving a new lease on life thanks to the Steven Spielberg movie. In fact the Blu-Ray cover is designed to make Walter Huston look like Daniel Day-Lewis. Huston was the first great interpreter of the 16th President and this is the only film that takes a cradle-to-grave approach to Lincoln's life. For years this film has appeared in several substandard editions (many of which are still out there) so make sure you get the Kino version. ABRAHAM LINCOLN proves that Griffith COULD handle sound and that he hadn't lost his directorial touch. Remarkable camerawork and editing plus Huston's far reaching performance make this a memorable experience. Dated in many ways it still has the power to engage the viewer and impart a sense of history. This version restores footage cut against Griffith's wishes which are presented with subtitles as the soundtrack for these snippets has been lost.

THE STRUGGLE, which stars Hal Skelley not Walter Huston, brought Griffith's career to a screeching halt. The story of a foreman in a steel factory and his descent into alcoholism just didn't resonate with early 1930s audiences at all. That coupled with the low budget location shooting gave the film an antiquated look that critics of the time jumped all over. The premiere was a disaster and the film only played a few theaters nationwide before disappearing without a trace.
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Walter Huston Double Feature (Abraham Lincoln / The Struggle)
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