Review: ‘Abraham Lincoln’

Abraham Lincoln is a startlingly superlative accomplishment. Next to the direction by D.W. Griffith, with only a tiny margin separating, is Walter Huston's Abraham Lincoln. Young, aging and aged; playful, fighting, grief-stricken; commanding, pleading.

Abraham Lincoln is a startlingly superlative accomplishment. Next to the direction by D.W. Griffith, with only a tiny margin separating, is Walter Huston’s Abraham Lincoln. Young, aging and aged; playful, fighting, grief-stricken; commanding, pleading.

A vivid prolog, with camera sweeping through dark-lit forests, hazy fields and clouded cities, brings the opening to the little log cabin and the birth of Abe. Romance of Lincoln and Ann Rutledge (Una Merkel) is slightly unconvincing in parts.

From the first fight in the country store and the passing of Ann, Huston then begins to make the personality of Lincoln heighten in realism.

The scenes at Springfield where he meets the haughty Mary Todd (Kay Hammond) have considerable comedy. The assassination of Lincoln is classically melodramatic.

Abraham Lincoln

Production

United Artists. Director D.W. Griffith; Writer Stephen Vincent Benet; Camera Karl Struss Editor James Smith, Hal C. Kern; Music Hugo Riesenfeld Art William Cameron Menzies, Park French

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1930. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Walter Huston Una Merkel Kay Hammond Jason Robards Ian Keith Hobart Bosworth
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