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Abraham Lincoln (1930)

TV-G  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  8 November 1930 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 963 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 21 critic

An episodic biography of the 16th President of the United States.

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(adapted for the screen by), (story), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William L. Thorne ...
Tom Lincoln (as W.L. Thorne)
...
Helen Freeman ...
Otto Hoffman ...
...
Edgar Dearing ...
Armstrong (as Edgar Deering)
Una Merkel ...
Russell Simpson ...
Charles Crockett ...
Kay Hammond ...
Helen Ware ...
E. Alyn Warren ...
Jason Robards Sr. ...
Herndon (as Jason Robards)
Gordon Thorpe ...
Ian Keith ...
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Storyline

Brief vignettes about Lincoln's early life include his birth, early jobs, (unsubstantiated) affair with Ann Rutledge, courtship of Mary Todd, and the Lincoln-Douglas debates; his presidency and the Civil War are followed in somewhat more detail, though without actual battle scenes; film concludes with the assassination. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The wonder film of the century, about the most romantic figure who ever lived!


Certificate:

TV-G
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 November 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

D.W. Griffith's 'Abraham Lincoln'  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because Walter Huston was much shorter than the real Abraham Lincoln, he wore six-inch elevator shoes through most of the film. This is particularly noticeable in the long shots. See more »

Goofs

In both the Union and Confederate parades, the musicians play trombones with forward facing bells. During the Civil War, the bells faced backwards. See more »

Quotes

Mary Todd Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln! Will you never learn to keep your feet in shoes?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Drei D (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Sweet By and By
(1868) (uncredited)
(Also called "The Sweet By-and-By")
Music by J.P. Webster
Lyrics by S. Fillmore Bennett
Sung by an offscreen chorus during Ann's death scene
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dull, but Interesting from an historical perspective
5 March 2008 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

Famous silent film director D. W. Griffiths gave us this plodding straightforward historical biopic of the sixteenth president of the United States. As one of Griffiths' few attempts at 'talkies', Abraham Lincoln is by no means outstanding. Like other films of the period, some of the actors (especially Ian Keith as J.W. Booth and Walter Huston as Lincoln) overact their gestures and facial expressions. While others overcompensate for the new medium and seem to play their roles too subtly (Una Merkel's Ann Rutledge).

The film tells the story of Lincoln's rise from humble roots to become one of the most accomplished American orators of all time, while retaining the plain-spoken character that endeared him to the nation. The film uses an appreciative tone, and does not fairly represent Lincoln's considerable political acumen and the very calculated campaign strategies which put him in office. Instead, Griffiths chose to present Lincoln as the good, but somewhat melancholic president we know him to have been.

The story is told in a series of vignettes depicted in scenes of about equal length - probably a limitation of the film technology available at the time. This mode of presentation does nothing to reduce the boredom factor. Most of the lines are pronounced very clearly with lengthy unnatural pauses between each line. Clearly, Griffiths was a little uncomfortable in the new sound medium and did not wish to experiment a great deal with it. The film picks up a bit as the civil war becomes its main focus. And some of the battle scenes are classic Griffiths' near-silent cinematography. However, even this is somewhat muted by the scenes of the president brooding over the dispatches he receives from his generals describing defeat after defeat.

Recommended for early film buffs and young Lincoln afficionados only


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