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>
In a scene of political incorrectness when Abraham Lincoln tells Grant an anecdote about a drunkard, he uses an Irish brogue when talking in the character's voice. See more »
In Ford's theater, Booth entered through a door behind Mary Todd, to the president's right. In reality, he entered through a door to the back left of Lincoln, and fired just below Lincoln's left ear. The movie also shows him jumping from the box through the far left opening (facing the front); once again, he actually jumped through the right opening, directly in front of the president, nicking the corner of Washington's picture with the spur on his ankle, causing him to stumble when he fell, breaking his ankle. See more »
Well, my old daddy taught me how to work, but he never taught me how to like it.
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"A nightmare of the mind and nerves" indeed, for Griffith and us!
No doubt about it, D.W. Griffith was one of the great directors of the early silent era. "Birth of a Nation," "Intolerance," "Orphans of the Storm," even a lesser-known film like "The Musketeers of Pig Alley" are all now regarded as classics. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, Griffith couldn't maintain his success record, and, by the time he made his first all-talking film, "Abraham Lincoln," he was in the midst of a major slump that he just couldn't pull out of. The film is static, stilted, and moves at a snail's pace. Walter Huston, Ian Keith, Henry B. Walthall, and most of the rest of the cast all had distinguished careers in sound films, but here they are merely wasted, unable to cope with the tedious dialogue and Griffith's uncharacteristicly stiff direction. Worst-served of all, though, is Una Merkel, here in one of her first films. I can't believe that Anne Rutlidge could have been such a sugary simp as we're led to believe by her performance here, and her death scene is only exceeded for bathos by Ali McGraw in the last scene of "Love Story." In sum, a major disappointment, a good cast wasted, and a sad farewell form one of American film's true pioneers. Griffith described making this film as "a nightmare of the mind and nerves," and, unfortunately, that's just what it is, for him and us.
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