Abraham Lincoln

Both of D.W. Griffith’s sound filmsAbraham Lincoln (1930, 81 min.) and The Struggle (1931)were scorned as archaic when they came out, which helps explain why he wasn’t allowed to direct again for the 17 remaining years of his life. But both films look better and better with the passage of time, suggesting that Griffith continued to grow as an artist as long as he made films. Working with the sort of mythic material later associated with John Ford, Griffith gives us a primordial Lincoln, perfectly incarnated by Walter Huston, and a dreamlike sense of destiny that his camera fully articulates. With Una Merkel, Russell Simpson, and Henry B. Walthall. (JR)

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