Trevor Reviews John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln [Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review]

Young Mr. Lincoln is certainly not John Ford’s most famous film, most respected film, or most important film — heck, it’s likely none of those things even in 1939 because that year Ford also release the landmark film Stagecoach. Beyond that, if you’re watching Young Mr. Lincoln in an uncharitable mood the film will probably come of as cloying, sentimental, nostalgic for a time that never existed. From a broad perspective, it can definitely feel saccharine and simplistic, with villains stirring up gullible townsfolk to prosecute to the death the meek sons of a wronged, earnest family with nothing but holiness and a desire to work in their hearts. Who can right this wrong? The young Mr. Lincoln, who, early in the film, is struck by a deep truth while studying the law: “By jing, that’s all there is to it. Right and wrong.”

But despite these aspects,
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