Thursday, 25 July 2013


2012 - Dir: Steven Spielberg

Shown in FeckenOdeon 2 on 5th July, 2013

A HISTORY LESSON : Lincoln is an American film about an American hero. In case your knowledge of American history is as vague as mine, here is a basic primer:
Abraham Lincoln, a self-taught Illinois lawyer and legislator with a reputation as an eloquent opponent of slavery, shocked many when he overcame several more prominent contenders to win the Republican Party's nomination for president in 1860. His election that November pushed several Southern states to secede by the time of his inauguration in March 1861, and the Civil War began barely a month later. Contrary to expectations, Lincoln proved to be a shrewd military strategist and a savvy leader during what became the costliest conflict ever fought on American soil. His Emancipation Proclamation, issued in 1863, freed all slaves in the rebellious states and paved the way for slavery's eventual abolition, while his Gettysburg Address later that year stands as one of the most famous and influential pieces of oratory in American history. In April 1865, with the Union on the brink of victory, Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed by the Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth; his untimely death made him a martyr to the cause of liberty and Union. Over the years Lincoln's mythic stature has only grown, and he is widely regarded as one of the greatest presidents in the nation's history.
Abraham Lincoln has made more film appearances than Mickey Mouse...
● The first known motion picture based on Mr. Lincoln was 1908 film The Reprieve: An Episode in the Life of Abraham Lincoln. Directed by Van Dyke Brooke, the film shows Lincoln pardoning a sentry who fell asleep on duty.
● In 1914 D.W.Griffith’s epic “Birth of a Nation” depicted Lincoln’s assassination and the same director made a biopic in 1930 entitled “Abraham Lincoln”.
● In 1939 Henry Fonda played him in “Young Mr Lincoln” - a fanciful piece which had the young Abraham solving a murder that took place 20 years after his death.
● In 1940 Raymond Massey played him in “Abe Lincoln in Illinois” where the love life of the young Abe was brought to dramatic and colourful life.
● In the 1950s he made the transition to the small screen in episodes of The Readers Digest Teleplays and General Electric Theater.
● In the 1960s he appeared in “The Way the West Was Won” and featured in animatronic form in Walt Disney’s “Great Moments with Mr Lincoln” at the Worlds Fair - and he also time travelled into an episode of “Star-Trek”.
● In the 1970s he appeared in “The Muppet Show” and a Flashman film before going even further down market in the 1980s when he starred in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. A biopic by Gore Vidal which paired him with Mary Tyler-Moore did little to salvage his reputation.
● It’s probably best to draw a veil over the next two decades -  suffice it to say that Abe appeared in Red Dwarf, Animaniacs, Histeria, Coneheads, Celebrity Deathmatch, Evil Con Carne, The Simpsons... and many, many more.
● He began the present decade in “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” and one might have thought that his reputation may have been salvaged by tonight’s respectful and dignified film... but, never one to turn a job down, he’s accepted the title role in the forthcoming “Abraham Lincoln vs The Zombies from the Asylum”.

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