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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Before writing this review I saw that publicity driven line about this film. Abraham Lincoln is a lot of things, but NOBODY ever accused him of being a great romantic. All I can say there is, Huh?
Abraham Lincoln is one of two sound films made by movie pioneer, David W. Griffith. It's also something of an atonement for Griffith who was accused fostering racism with his masterpiece silent work, The Birth of a Nation.
Maybe if Abraham Lincoln had been a better film it would have succeeded in being an atonement. It certainly had one of the best interpreters of Lincoln ever in Walter Huston. The film also in many ways looks like a newsreel of the Civil War era. Our image of that era and you can see it in Ken Burns documentary comes from Matthew Brady's still photographs. In crafting this and The Birth of a Nation, Griffith was heavily influenced by Brady's still photographs.
Lincoln's prarie years were better told in Abe Lincoln in Illinois and Young Mr. Lincoln. Griffith should have stuck to the war years and made it in fact the Lincoln family story. One thing that would have done is eliminated Una Merkel as Ann Rutledge. Una Merkel had many a good role as a wisecracking dame in modern films. But in Abraham Lincoln she's just awful as Lincoln's lost love Ann Rutledge. It's a miracle she had a career after this film and a good one.
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