Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln ★★½

This is one of those biopics that feel more like a checklist of all the famous parts of its subject’s life rather than a depiction of a real person. It doesn’t help the film that within a decade we’d get two much better Lincoln films played by Henry Fonda than Raymond Massey.

Most of the film is your typical shot composition of the time, medium shots that fade out at the end of each scene, but Griffith finds a couple scenes to play with a moving camera including a well-done opening tracking shot and Civil War battle scenes. Of course Griffith finds time to give a heroic surrender scene to General Lee (which Hobart Bosworth does a good job with), repeat the age-old Confederate talking point of Grant’s alcoholism, and fails to really address the Emancipation Proclamation. At least Lincoln is the hero and not the KKK!

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