Saturday, February 28, 2009

Two Lincoln Movies

In this month of Lincoln, I must make an endorsement of the movie "Young Mr. Lincoln" for all ages. The 1939 fictionalized tale is black-and-white, which only adds to its historical feel. My youngest doesn't even realize this isn't actual footage. Henry Fonda plays the young lawyer as he progresses from shop owner to practising lawyer. All the good legends are included: his love of books, being honest, log cabin poverty, going the extra mile, and young love. Best of all is the tough case he takes on behalf of a woman whose son was unjustly accused of murder. A griping tale of wits. How can Mr. Lincoln prove him innocent?!

Secondly, we watched "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln" but cannot recommend it as easily. This 1976 production is actually filmed on stage, but is slow-paced and focused heavily on Mary Todd-Lincoln's mental illness. That was difficult to explain to the children. Here's the online description:
Julie Harris, recreates her 1972 award-winning Broadway portrayal in this powerful and touching look at the final 17 years in the life of Mary Todd Lincoln, widow to the martyred President. Based on real events, this production casts a sad and sympathetic light onto this frighteningly complicated woman. Mary Lincoln scavenges desperately for money, loses a cherished son to consumption, is branded a lunatic and committed to a mental institution; culminating with her spending her final days fleeing from the preying eyes of the public and a scandal-hungry press.

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