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Young Mr Lincoln [VHS]
Top Customer Reviews
With the world plunging into a war that America dreaded, but knew it would be drawn into, Abraham Lincoln was much on people's minds, in 1939, as someone who had faced the same dilemma in his own life, and had triumphed. On Broadway, Robert E. Sherwood's award-winning "Abe Lincoln in Illinois", with Raymond Massey's physically dead-on portrayal, was playing to packed houses (it would be filmed in 1940). Carl Sandburg's continuation of his epic biography, "Abraham Lincoln: The War Years", was published, and quickly became a best seller. President Roosevelt frequently referred to Lincoln in speeches, and the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, D.C., became the most popular landmark in town (a fact that Frank Capra made good use of, in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington").
All this was not lost on Darryl F. Zanuck, at 20th Century Fox; as soon as he read Lamar Trotti's screenplay of Lincoln's early days as a lawyer, he designated it a 'prestige' production, and assigned John Ford to direct, and Henry Fonda, to star.
Fonda did NOT want to play Lincoln; he felt he couldn't do justice to the 'Great Emancipator', and feared a bad performance would damage his career. Even a filmed make-up test, in which he was stunned by how much he would resemble Lincoln, wouldn't change his mind.Read more ›
However, I do feel the movie was true to Lincoln's character and I can forgive Hollywood for adjusting the story to fit their idea of Lincoln. After all, it's not as if they claimed he got away from the Ford Theater and hid for several years.
Anyway, as a movie it is beautifully told, Fonda is brilliant and all the characters in the little town are nicely drawn.
A nicely-paced, humorous, touching and most importantly, entertaining movie. Great courtroom scenes also!
Yet, it's effective as all get out in portraying a myth we want to believe about American life on the frontier and of the man who became our greatest president. There's not a scene in the movie where Ford doesn't fail to effectively stress a simple emotion, like love, humor, longing, honesty and doubt. He cleverly demonstrates in many scenes, particularly in the courtroom, Lincoln's shrewdness. Lincoln consistently outwits others, whether in a tug-o-war, with a man's name, selecting a juror, facing down a mob or trapping a murderer. He might use a request to sample some turnip greens because he's hungry, but he really wants a reason to ask a woman in private to tell him a secret she cannot say in front of others.
Henry Fonda, even with a false nose, gives a myth-making performance, himself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic movie and Criterion does not disappoint since the quality is excellent.Published 9 months ago by Chuck D.
Very good fictional adaption of the early career of Abraham Lincoln.Published 12 months ago by Majiklink
I had seen this movie on TV and loved it so much I wanted to have my own copy. Henry Fonda's portrayal of the young Abraham Lincoln as an untested lawyer was outstanding. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Dawn
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