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Review of the Lincoln Trailer

The idea of reviewing movie trailers I find somewhat humorous, but I think that Grace Randolph in the above video does a good job of attempting such a review in regard to the Lincoln movie by Spielberg being released in November.  In an earlier post last week, which may be read here, I took issue with Spielberg’s historical ignorance and/or political bias regarding how, in his view, the Democrat and Republican parties have switched positions.  This will not deter me from attending the film, as I attempt not to allow the politics of those involved with a film to influence my opinion of the film.  Having said that, like Ms. Randolph I have concerns as to whether Daniel Day-Lewis will create the suspension of disbelief to allow us to view him as Lincoln in the film.

My main concern is caused by a scene showing an emotional Lincoln pointing his finger at cabinet members.  Lincoln was a skilled attorney and a veteran politician.  In public he normally kept his emotions well in hand.  Additionally he would have realized that his cabinet members were also skilled politicians, and such a display of emotion most of them would have regarded as either ridiculous or a sign of weakness.  The best film bio I can think of is that of George C. Scott in Patton.  The gravelly voiced Scott did not sound much like the high-pitched voiced Patton, and the physical resemblance was slight.  However, Scott perfectly captured the flamboyant outsized personae of Patton.  He did it so well, that when people today see the real Patton on film they are shocked that he does not sound and look like Scott!

If an actor acts like the historical personage he is portraying he can overcome differences in voice and appearance.  If he cannot accomplish this, all the voice training, makeup and accurate period costumes are for naught.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

6 Comments

  1. Well, if Speilberg botches this story like he has botched WWII history (making the war in Europe appear as if it were a crusade on behalf of persecuted Jews on the one hand, and the war in the Pacific a thinly-veiled racist enterprise), then I’ll just expect the usual ham-handed Lincoln hagiography and denigration of the South which has become the dominant liberal narrative for the last 50 years.

  2. My desire to see it and any hope of “suspension of disbelief” went out the window when I saw Sally Field was in it.

  3. “My desire to see it and any hope of “suspension of disbelief” went out the window when I saw Sally Field was in it.”

    I disagree Chris. I think the frequently loopy Sally Field is perfect to portray the frequently loopy, although with cause, Mary Todd Lincoln.

  4. I thought the exact same thing about the emotional portrayal. Having read Sandburg’s Lincoln bio, I never got the impression that he was a screaming finger-waggler like Jackson or some other hothead President. Thanks for this.

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