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Abe Lincoln in Illinois
     

Abe Lincoln in Illinois

3.6 3
Director: John Cromwell,

Cast: John Cromwell, Raymond Massey, Ruth Gordon, Gene Lockhart

 
Raymond Massey plays Abe Lincoln in this moving adaptation of Robert Sherwood's Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Expanded a bit for cinematic purposes, the film traces Lincoln's progress from his days of scrambling for a living as a woodsman, to his courtship of the tragic Ann Rutledge (Mary Howard) and then the mercurial Mary Todd (Ruth Gordon), to the formative years of

Overview

Raymond Massey plays Abe Lincoln in this moving adaptation of Robert Sherwood's Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Expanded a bit for cinematic purposes, the film traces Lincoln's progress from his days of scrambling for a living as a woodsman, to his courtship of the tragic Ann Rutledge (Mary Howard) and then the mercurial Mary Todd (Ruth Gordon), to the formative years of his law practice, to his debates with Stephen Douglas (Gene Lockhart), and finally to his election as President of the soon-to-be-divided United States in 1860. Latter-day critics have complained about Massey's stolidity in his signature role, but even the most stone-hearted viewer will be moved by such scenes as Lincoln riding through the ruins of what once was the village of Salem; Abe's heated election-eve quarrel with his spiteful wife Mary; and his climactic speech from the observation car of the train that will carry him to Washington...and immortality. Abe Lincoln at Illinois turned out to be a succes d'estime for its producer Max Gordon and its studio (RKO), taking a bath to the tune of $750,000. Its failure moved one Hollywood wise-guy to collar Gordon at a party and say, "I can't understand it, Max. Lincoln was so kind to everybody but you."

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Abe Lincoln in Illinois is a very worthy film, with an exceptional performance by Raymond Massey in the title role. It's a very fine film and well worth watching -- and yet, it somehow falls just a trifle short of being the great film that it should be. It's hard to say exactly why this is so. Certainly there are some problems with the screenplay, notably in the manner in which many of the supporting characters are given short shrift. Everyone aside from Lincoln is fairly one-dimensional, although the incredible Ruth Gordon as Mary Todd Lincoln and the very good Gene Lockhart as Stephen Douglas don't let that get in their way. But this by itself shouldn't really matter so much under the circumstances. The bigger problem seems to be more intangible; the bits and pieces of the story are all there, and they're put together in a logical and involving manner, but the whole somehow comes up lacking a bit. Of course, highlights like the Lincoln-Douglas debate sequence make up for this lack, and Massey's nuanced portrayal -- capturing both the exuberance and the melancholy, the simplicity and the complexity of the man -- is worth the price of admission by itself. James Wong Howe's expert cinematography also is a bonus, and John Cromwell's direction is very smooth, if occasionally a bit short on inspiration. Despite its little flaws, it's an engaging, often very moving and exciting tribute to a great American hero.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/23/2009
UPC:
0883316125601
Original Release:
1940
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:49:00
Sales rank:
4,101

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Raymond Massey Abraham Lincoln
Ruth Gordon Mary Todd Lincoln
Gene Lockhart Stephen Douglas
Mary Howard Ann Rutledge
Dorothy Tree Elizabeth Edwards
Harvey Stephens Ninian Edwards
Minor Watson Joshua Speed
Alan Baxter Billy Herndon
Howard Da Silva Jack Armstrong
Aldrich Bowker Judge Bowling Green
Maurice Murphy John McNeill
Louis Jean Heydt Mentor Graham
Clem Bevans Ben Battling
Harlan Briggs Denton Offut
Herbert Rudley Seth Gale
Andy Clyde Stage Driver
Roger Imhof Mr. Crimmin
Leona Roberts Mrs. Rutledge
Edmund Elton Mr. Rutledge
Florence Roberts Mrs. Bowling Green
George Rosener Dr. Chandler
Fay Helm Mrs. Seth Gale
Sid Saylor John Johnston
Elizabeth Risdon Sarah Lincoln
Trevor Bardette John Hanks
Charles B. Middleton Tom Lincoln
Alec Craig Trem Cogdall
Peggy Ann Garner Little Girl
Napoleon Simpson Gobey
John Cromwell John Brown
Kate Reid Actor

Technical Credits
John Cromwell Director
Carroll Clark Art Director
Max Gordon Producer
George Hively Editor
James Wong Howe Cinematographer
Grover Jones Screenwriter
Walter Plunkett Costumes/Costume Designer
Van Nest Polglase Art Director
Casey Roberts Set Decoration/Design
Robert E. Sherwood Screenwriter
Dewey Starkey Asst. Director
Vernon Walker Special Effects
Roy Webb Score Composer

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Abe Lincoln in Illinois 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ordered this DVD on March 18,2013 to be shown at a gatheering of historical buffs in my home. The photo od Abe Linclon and rgw Abe Lincolnwords were on the front of DVD but all on the DVD was the movie "The Unforgettable" I was so embrassed for the entire group we were just back from the new on-screen showing of Lincoln I could not believe what I was seeing. No more movies drom this place embrassed in front of 12 teenagers is enough for a life time
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a scholar of Lincoln since I was very young.This movie inspired me to study as much Lincoln as possible.All of the characters were so realistic!I have many copies of this movie and I hope to find it on DVD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Raymond Massey wrestling for the election. Leading his troops to nowhere in the Blackhawk war. Putting up with his obviously already crazy wife during the election. The only downside I can find is his prophet-style posturing when delivering some speeches, and this is more than offset by his brilliant delivery of the ''House-divided'' speech during the Lincoln-Douglas debates. All in all, a brilliant piece of docu-drama filmmaking.