THE STORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN THAT HAS NEVER BEEN TOLD!
After deciding to become a lawyer, young Abraham Lincoln (Henry Fonda) takes a case where two brothers stand accused of having murdered a man in a brawl – but which one did it? The most famous of the films made about President Lincoln during Hollywood’s Golden Age had its producer and director fighting over the final cut, but the result is an entertaining portrait of how a great man was shaped in his youth. Inspired by an actual case, the film conveys a sweetly nostalgic sense of small-town Americana, and then turns into a whodunit in the climactic courtroom scenes. Well directed, with a perfect performance by Fonda.
1939-U.S. 100 min. B/W. Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. Directed by John Ford. Screenplay: Lamar Trotti. Cinematography: Bert Glennon. Cast: Henry Fonda (Abraham Lincoln), Alice Brady (Abigail Clay), Marjorie Weaver (Mary Todd), Donald Meek, Richard Cromwell, Eddie Quillan… Ward Bond.
Trivia: Brady’s last film.
Last word: “[‘Young Mr. Lincoln’] was a beautiful script, but like in ‘My Darling Clementine’ (1946) there were things [Ford] put in at the moment, just little pieces of business, sometimes little pieces of dialogue that were so right on. I’ve often been asked if I didn’t want to direct. No way. Because I know those things wouldn’t occur to me and if I wasn’t that good I wouldn’t want to be a director.” (Fonda, interview with Lindsay Anderson)