Greetings all – I’ve recently been asked to write a review essay on Brian J. Snee’s new book, Lincoln before Lincoln, for the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association. Of course, I happily agreed to take on the project – Snee’s book concerns the cinematic adaptations of the life of Honest Abe. I mean…how could I pass, especially since I am working on a project about depicting historical actors and events in a motion picture.
To get in the right frame of mind (I have a little time on my hands this summer) I thought I would watch a number of Lincoln films – or films at least featuring the sixteenth president as a character. Asking around through the usual social media channels for recommendations has yielded a fine harvest of Lincoln movies. So far, the most frequently recommended film is John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln, starring Henry Fonda. I’m on it…and prepared to watch it this weekend…so expect a follow up. In addition, folks have suggested I check out Lincoln in a more pop-culture setting, such as Lincoln, the time traveler (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) or vampire killing super hero (Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter).
But in all seriousness, there are any number of ways one can interpret the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln: great emancipator, commander in chief, astute and practical politician, husband, father, country bumpkin, rail-splitter, and I suppose, vampire hunter. Please leave your recommendations in the comments below – before I start writing, I want to see as many Lincolns as I can.
All things considered…this may be wishful thinking.
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
A. Lincoln, March 1, 1861
Recently my wife and I were at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles looking for Andy Gibb’s grave. (I’m a fan…don’t judge) when we stumbled across a statue and series of mosaics depicting the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln. This took me a bit by surprise primarily because I have lived in this city for most of my life and I had no idea that these existed.
Generally speaking, I would say that these are highly romanticized images of Lincoln in deep meditation or prayer, Lincoln the self-educated, Lincoln the great emancipator, and Lincoln doing presidential stuff like being inaugurated and giving addresses.
I am interested in what you think. We do not get a lot of Lincoln out here on the West Coast…so what are your thoughts on our spin?
By the way…we payed our respects to Mr. Gibb as well.
There were five versions of the Gettysburg Address. The earliest, known as the Nicolay version (presented by the president to his secretary, John Nicolay) was quite probably the version read at Gettysburg in November, 1863.
And no, it did not include the phrase: “under God.” So just chill.