Young Mr Lincoln
26 September 2012, 7pm
Ticketing information, bookings (02) 6248 2000
Young Mr Lincoln
Dir: John Ford, USA, 100mins, 35mm
One of the most treasured films from the Hollywood director who – perhaps like his subject here – was more legend than historical figure (and the favourite director of a few US presidents), John Ford’s early chapter from the life of the greatest US president is a milestone in ‘biopic’ genre. By concentrating on a minor, probably apocryphal but somehow emblematic case from Lincoln’s 1840s Springfield legal career, and on the beginnings of his life with Mary Todd, the film was one of the first to understand the wisdom of film biography ‘biopsying’ a small, meaningful episode from a great life, rather than trying to inflate to swallow its whole great sweep. Screenwriter Lamar Trotti was Hollywood’s go-to writer of American patriotic epics (in the likes of Wilson, To the Shores of Tripoli or Ford’s own Drums Along the Mohawks); but also had an ear for home spun political cant and plan speaking that’s evident in his work on Ford’s early 1930s films with satirist Will Rogers. Along with Stagecoach, Young Mr Lincoln began the reinvigoration of Ford’s career from the late 1930s and through the 1940s, and began the collaboration with Henry Fonda that would make The Grapes of Wrath and Fort Apache. Courtesy the Library of Congress.
Preceded by another selection of early films from the US Library of Congress film archive, exploring the cinematic persona and larger than life public presence of Theodore Roosevelt – The First US Movie President (USA, 1898-1919, 15 mins @ 16 fps, 16/35mm).
Presented with the support of the Embassy of the United States.