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Abraham Lincoln (1930)

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

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writers:

Stephen Vincent Benet (adapted for the screen by), John W. Considine Jr. (story) | 2 more credits »
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The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William L. Thorne ... Tom Lincoln (as W.L. Thorne)
Lucille La Verne ... Mid-Wife
Helen Freeman Helen Freeman ... Nancy Hanks Lincoln
Otto Hoffman ... Offut
Walter Huston ... Abraham Lincoln
Edgar Dearing ... Armstrong (as Edgar Deering)
Una Merkel ... Ann Rutledge
Russell Simpson ... Lincoln's Employer
Charles Crockett Charles Crockett ... Sheriff
Kay Hammond ... Mary Todd Lincoln
Helen Ware ... Mrs. Edwards
E. Alyn Warren ... Stephen A. Douglas / General Grant
Jason Robards Sr. ... Herndon (as Jason Robards)
Gordon Thorpe Gordon Thorpe ... Tad Lincoln
Ian Keith ... John Wilkes Booth
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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! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 November 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

D.W. Griffith's 'Abraham Lincoln' See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the film credits Gen. Phillip Sheridan for saving Washington from the threat of a Confederate offensive by Gen. Jubal Early, Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren of VI Corps was actually most responsible for saving the capitol. Sheridan did not command VI Corps but he did command the Army of the Potomac's cavalry. Warren was commander of the military district that included Maryland and part of Pennsylvania. He stopped Early's Confederates at the Battle of Monocacy, near Frederick, MD, on July 9, 1864. While the overall battle was a Confederate victory, Warren's defeat of Early delayed Early's attack on Washington for a day, giving the Union time to bring up reinforcements. The Confederates launched an attack on Washington again on July 12 but were badly defeated at the Battle of Fort Stevens and retreated to Virginia, never launching an attack on Washington again. See more »

Goofs

General Lee repeatedly addresses an officer as Colonel, or Colonel Marshall, but the officer wears the insignia of a Captain on his collar. See more »

Quotes

Abraham Lincoln: [to a dying Ann] I gotta feelin' I'll be seein' your face till the day I die.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally, this film was color-tinted in sepia-tone, with blue for night scenes. These prints also had a prologue. Current public-domain prints are in black and white, minus the prologue with a shorter running time. See more »

Connections

Edited into General Spanky (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
(ca. 1755) (uncredited)
Traditional music of English origin
Played by a marching band during an election
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Abraham Lincoln Achieves Griffith Sainthood
11 November 2007 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

If one were to commission a film depicting the life of Abraham Lincoln, in 1930, one might well produce this film; and, one would be very satisfied with the resulting "Abraham Lincoln", both artistically, and commercially. Today, however, this is not a very exciting film. It succeeds somewhat as a series of staged vignettes, depicting stories about President Lincoln.

Walter Huston is given the difficult job of portraying the revered Lincoln, and he excels, after a shaky start. Director D.W. Griffith employs a fine supporting cast, with mixed results. Early scenes are hampered by the characterizations offered by Una Merkel (as Ann Rutledge) and Kay Hammond (as Mary Todd); these are "the romances" of Lincoln's life; and, they are awful. The courtship scenes involving Mr. Huston and Ms. Merkel are particularly absurd. Henry B. Walthall is notable, later on; but. he doesn't have much to do. It might have been interesting to see Mr. Walthall play John Wilkes Booth -- admittedly, this was an unlikely consideration at the time; and, Ian Keith is perfectly suitable in the role. Walthall graciously supports Hobart Bosworth (as Robert E. Lee) during his screen time; and, Mr. Bosworth is outstanding.

There is no mystery in the main story elements: he was born in a log cabin, and is assassinated in the end. Griffith acquaints himself well with "sound" in a film, though, in hindsight, it is a technical weakness. There are moments, or flashes, of "greatness" in the film, but they don't contribute to a collective work of consequence. Griffith treats Lincoln with a reverence that is oddly uncomfortable; by the film's end, the story structure confirms Lincoln has become Divine. The ending reprise of "Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on..." nicely evokes both "John Brown's Body" and the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." An appropriate connection.

******* Abraham Lincoln (8/25/30) D.W. Griffith ~ Walter Huston, Kay Hammond, Hobart Bosworth


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