John Ford's 'Young Mr Lincoln' (1939)
Monday, May 13, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM (BST)
London, United Kingdom
Generally considered the best Lincoln movie prior to the recent Spielberg offering, director John Ford's 'Young Mr Lincoln' offers a mythic depiction of a youthful Lincoln.
At this juncture, the director was going through a Popular Front phase whereby he supported reform at home and anti-fascism abroad. His Lincoln, beautifully played by Henry Fonda, fits this political idealism.
As a young lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, in 1837, he saves two brothers from a lynch-mob (a clear reference to the contemporary civil rights struggle for an antilynch law in the US) and successfully defends them against a wrongful charge of murder (thereby standing up for the common man against the local political establishment that wants the brothers found guilty).
Though dealing with a fictional episode, the film allegorizes Lincoln's role as a Civil War leader in his willingness to fight for the values he believed in and makes symbolic references to his future greatness.