- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Massey was Absolutely Robbed.
- DON RILEY
To choose James Stewart in Philadelphia Story for Best actor over Massey here was robbery. Stewart wasn't even the best actor in PHILADELPHIA STORY, Cary Grant was better (my opinion of course). This is textbook fine acting. I'm speaking pre- Brando. You have to remember this is a portrayal of an actual person and an Icon at that. Actually there is much to learn from this. Massey seemed to spend countless hours studying his face (I'm guessing of course). Remember we have no film of Abraham Lincoln, only photos. People have seen his face on a five dollar bill more often than anywhere else. In this film Massey does not use any facial mannerisms to detract from the reality of Lincoln that people know, that they are used to. He does in EAST OF EDEN, but none of that here. His final speech is as effective as MARTIN LUTHER KING's "I had a dream speech", its drop everything and listen "good". Massey is extremely relaxed here again that is fine acting "Fritz Weaver Textbook" not "bad acting", which we have grown to respect "unfortunately", its also taught very frequently in film acting schools, because that's what people are looking for. Needless to say, I thought this was brilliant. Loved it unfortunately if you were looking for "Star Quality" or ego driven acting in this, you most likely would leave disappointed. This was carefully crafted and I have much respect for this performance felt it was comparable to Peter O'Toole's work in "Lawrence Of Arabia".
abe lincoln in illinois
- kevin sellers
Basically, John Ford spun this yarn a helluva lot better in "Young Mr. Lincoln, made the year before. Compare the two leading men and I think you'll agree. Raymond Massey has the voice and the physical stature, but as an actor he tends toward stiffness where Henry Fonda is fluid. You get the sense that Massey PLAYS Lincoln quite well, while Fonda IS Lincoln. Also, the overall tone of Ford's film is much livelier and more human than is the heavily reverential mood of this movie. Not that there are no powerful scenes. The domestic stuff with Lincoln and his termagant wife, Mary, brilliantly played by Ruth Gordon, are quite sharp and realistic, and Massey nails Lincoln's manic depressiveness in the scene where he confesses to paranoia about cities because he feels the people who dwell in them wish to kill him. But in general you get the sense that you're watching a well written, filmed play rather than, as with Ford, a well paced movie. So let's give it a B minus for Robert E. Sherwood's eloquent screenplay and Ruth Gordon's performance. P.S. Who was the historical advisor on this film, Forrest Gump? I mean, not only, apropos of the previous reviewer's criticism, is West Virginia mistakenly put into the union 3 years ahead of time, but John Brown's Harper's Ferry raid is shown occurring before the Lincoln/Douglas debates when in fact it happened a year later. And it is highly questionable that, as this film portrays him, Lincoln was just this laid back guy constantly pushed by an ambitious wife. As Lincoln's best biographer, David Donald, described him Lincoln had an ambition like a restless steam engine.
1860 Election Results
- Alex G.
Entertaining, but schmalzy. Next time you watch this film, pay attention to the scene in the office where the 1860 election results are being posted. There's a chalkboard with a list of states. It includes West Virginia. Too bad the state didn't come into existence until 1863. Then when the army officer comes to escort Mr. Lincoln, he addresses him as "Mr. President"... a bit premature.
And Ruth Gordon, too
A glimpse of Broadway at its best.
"We hold these truths to be self evident"
I love this film. Raymond Massey is wonderful and as others have said, looks so much like the pictures we have of Lincoln. I wish all people could see this movie and know how dear we hold Democracy and the freedoms we still enjoy because of the sacrifices of many.
Well start off with the positives. Raymond Massey does a wonderful job with the part, he ages convincingly, and while his manner of speaking may seem awkward to some, this midwest hawing was actually close to the way Lincoln was described as speaking. I also feel that the scenes between Massey and Ruth Gordon have a real energy. Abraham and Mary relationship was complex, loving, but complex. Excellent play. I think some of early days of his life seem a trifle slow and a bit too Hollywood style of folksy charm. I really like Gene Lockhart's Stephen Douglas, for once, Lincoln's rival, acquaintance and colleague is protrayed as the interesting politician that he was.Movie is a bit stogey by contemporary standards but well worth watching for history buffs, and Lincoln fans.
Abe Lincoln in Illinois
- Mark Sutch
ABELINCOLN MEETS PEGGY ANN GARNER!
- ALPHONSE DATTOLO
I HAVE LOVED THE MOVIE ABE LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS SINCE I WAS A KID. I AM EXTREMELY HAPPY THAT THE GREATEST ACTRESS WHO EVER LIVED,MY ANGEL PEGGY ANN GARNER, WAS ONLY 8 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE APPEARED IN THIS MOVIE.SHE HAS NO SPEAKING PARTS BUT ANY MOVIE WITH PEGGY ANN GARNER IN IT IS #1 WITH ME!!!!!!!
Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)
- Jay Higgins
Raymond Massey's likeness to Abraham Lincoln is truly amazing. It is the role of a lifetime, and Massey is superb. The screenplay is inspired, Ruth Gordon shines. Good supporting cast, beautifully done.
Abe Lincoln in Illinois
Wonderful movie. It gave a personal side to Abe Lincoln I didn't know about. Would love to see it more often.
MY PEGGY ANN IS IN THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!
- ALPHONSE DATTOLO
MY LITTLE ANGEL PEGGY ANN GARNER IS IN THIS MOVIE. EVEN THOUGH SHE DOES NOT SAY ONE WORD(HER SALARY WAS $25!!) SHE IS PRAYING FOR ANN RUTLEDGE TO RECOVER. SHE WAS A LITTLE ANGEL AT AGE 8 AND SHE WILL ALWAYS BE MY ANGEL. GOD BLESS YOU MY PEGGY ANN!!!!!!!
One of the Historical Movies
I always look forward to seeing this movie. It provides such a view of a great leaders life in details not able to be seen from a just a book. Raymond Massey resembles Abe Lincoln like no one else. I like others wish this was available on DVD for viewing at any time. This movie is a great way to show the early life of one of this countries great leaders and his struggle within himself in becoming President. A must see for all to remember where our country has come from in history.
This is an fantastic film! Raymond Massey looks so much like Lincoln it is eerie. The clothing, sets and small details are wonderful. I think this is a fantastic film and I only wish that it was on DVD! What a treasure. The complexity of Abe and Mary is amazing and portrayed with tension and passion.
- BOBBY HAHN
KNOW ONE PLAYS ABE LINCOLN BETTER THEN RAYMOND MASSEY.WHAT A GREAT FILM.GOT TO BE PUT OUT ON DVD!
title not aviable ?
I am very sad to see that this piece of history is not available on VHS/DVD because I feel this could be used as both an educational and an enteraining film. I strongly encourage this to happen since the younger generation would have a great chance to learn about our 16th President in an educational but yet entertaining way. This movie was very well done and I would hope this could be shared with the audiance.Thank you very much!
- Mark Butler
This film is the closest your going to Abe Lincoln in moving pictures.
Fantastic movie starring an outstanding actor!
- Rochelle Maiman
I really felt that I was back in Lincoln's time when I was watching this movie. Massey's likeness to Lincoln was astounding, especially in the final scene of the movie. I didn't want the movie to end.
Not on DVD, what a crime!
This is a truly great film with tremendous acting. Much better than most of the junk out there today! Let's get this classic on DVD.
Simply the Best
This gem of a movie takes you right into another time and place, a most wonderful journey into a time long gone. Everything about it is fabulous (acting, direction, sets, music, you name it), and like everyone else I would love to see a full-fledged DVD release with special features, etc. Why is it that any junk can be found on DVD, but not parts of our important film heritage such as this? Oh well, this is my message in a bottle to the powers that be.
this is one of the best movies about abe lincon. Raymond massey is just great and does a great job of expressing himself as Abe Lincoln as no one could do. Henry Fonda also did a great job however Abe had a uique personality all his own and Raymond Massey hits it on the noise. I have enjoyed this movie for years I do hope it can be made into a dvd. It would be a great asset to teachers. Just to hear his ideas and his sense of humor is a great treat. I am sure children will love it.