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Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

 -  Biography | Drama  -  9 June 1939 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,167 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 46 critic

A fictionalized account of the early life of the American president as a young lawyer facing his greatest court case.

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(original screenplay)
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Title: Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Alice Brady ...
Abigail Clay
Marjorie Weaver ...
Arleen Whelan ...
Sarah Clay
Eddie Collins ...
Efe Turner
Pauline Moore ...
Richard Cromwell ...
Matt Clay
...
Prosecutor John Felder
Judith Dickens ...
Carrie Sue (credit only)
Eddie Quillan ...
Adam Clay
Spencer Charters ...
Judge Herbert A. Bell
...
John Palmer Cass
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tiny Jones ...
Townswoman (scenes deleted) (as Elizabeth Jones)
Eddy Waller ...
Father (scenes deleted)
Clarence Wilson ...
Dr. Mason (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Ten years in the life of Abraham Lincoln, before he became known to his nation and the world. He moves from a Kentucky cabin to Springfield, Illinois, to begin his law practice. He defends two men accused of murder in a political brawl, suffers the death of his girlfriend Ann, courts his future wife Mary Todd, and agrees to go into politics. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of Abraham Lincoln that has NEVER been told!

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 June 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Young Mr. Lincoln  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The brief "My politics are short and sweet" speech Lincoln makes when he announces his candidacy for the Illinois state legislature was taken from the speech Lincoln actually gave when he did that. When he says he's for "a system of internal improvements," he means what would now be called "investing in infrastructure." See more »

Goofs

Lincoln is shown playing "Dixie" on a Jew's harp. That portion of the film is ostensibly set in the year 1837, but most reliable sources indicate that "Dixie" wasn't written, publicly performed nor published before 1859. During the Civil War, Lincoln was known to be partial to the tune (it was almost as popular in the North in the 1860s as in the South), but it's unlikely he would have heard it in the 1830s. See more »

Quotes

Abe Lincoln: By jing, that's all there is to it; Right and Wrong.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Strictly Courtroom (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
(uncredited)
Traditional 18th century tune
Played on drum and fife at the Independence Day parade
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Delicious with a grain of salt
2 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

According to John Ford's lyrically shot, fictional biopic of Abraham Lincoln's life his greatest faults may have been an obtuseness with woman and an ability to dance in "the worst way." Ford's camera has only praising views to reveal of Mr. Lincoln's early life. But for what the film lacks in character complexities it makes up for in beauty and depth of vision. Uncharacteristically beautiful compositions of early film, what could have been a series of gorgeous still frames, Ford has a unique eye for telling a story. The film sings of the life of a hopeful young man. Henry Fonda plays the contemplative and spontaneously clever Lincoln to a tee, one of his best roles.

The film concerns two young men, brothers, on trial for a murder that both claim to have committed. In classic angry mob style, the town decides to take justice into their own hands and lynch the pair of them, until honest Abe steps into the fray. He charms them with his humor, telling them not to rob him of his first big case, and that they are as good as lynched with him as the boys lawyer. What follows seems to become the outline for all courtroom- murder-dramas thereafter, as Abe cunningly interrogates witnesses to the delight and humor of the judge, jury and town before he stumbles upon the missing links.

The film plays out like many John Ford movies do: a tablespoon of Americana, a dash of moderate predictability, a hint of sarcasm that you aren't sure if you put in the recipe or if Ford did it himself. Despite the overtly 'Hollywood' feel of the film, and overly patriotic banter alluding to Lincoln's future presidency, the film is entirely enjoyable and enjoyably well constructed, if you can take your drama with a grain of salt.


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