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Young Mr. Lincoln Blu-ray Review


“Young Mr. Lincoln” is a memorable John Ford film.

The partially fictional “Young Mr. Lincoln” does indeed revolve around a young Abraham Lincoln during his time in Illinois before his eventual Presidency. While the film hints at his political future and his marriage with Mary Todd, they are not the focus of the story. Instead, the story primarily revolves around the Clay family that has been torn apart by a murder that occurred during an Independence Day celebration. You see, two members of the Clay family have been accused of the murder and Lincoln (an attorney at this time) is defending them on trial. While the town wants to see the brothers hang, Lincoln has to prove their innocence, but he has his work cut out for him.

Director John Ford may be best known for his westerns, but he also dabbled in other genres as evidenced by 1939’s “Young Mr. Lincoln.” While the film may not be historically accurate, it still manages to work as a piece of cinema. Unlike the snooze worthy Steven Spielberg “Lincoln,” ‘Young’ is an absorbing story that is part courtroom drama and part character piece that showcases Honest Abe’s spirit, kindness, and intelligence. Really, the film is quite clever in how it depicts Lincoln especially since we know where his life is soon to be headed. Plus, you have the courtroom drama that holds your attention from start to finish (and actually delivers some laughs along the way).

Of course, Lincoln wouldn’t come alive were it not for the actor portraying him- Henry Fonda. Even though Fonda sounds distinctly like Fonda here, the famed actor (who is wearing impressive makeup) still gives a heartfelt and stand-out performance as the iconic President.

Another aspect of ‘Young’ that caught my attention was the overall production values. The costumes and sets are first rate and the location shooting really evokes a sense of place and atmosphere here.


Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? The 4K digital restoration offers up a crisp hi-def transfer of the B&W film.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? A solid track that really comes to life whenever the score is playing.

Extras: A booklet featuring credits, photos, an essay by author Geoffrey O’Brien, and a second essay about “Young Mr. Lincoln” by Sergei Eisenstein, a radio drama of “Young Mr. Lincoln” featuring Henry Fonda, recorded audio interview clips by Dan Ford with his grandfather John Ford and Henry Fonda (separately), Henry Fonda’s appearance on the British talk show “Parkinson,” a BBC TV special titled “Omnibus: John Ford” (the first part), and an informative commentary by author and John Ford biographer Joseph McBride.

January 15, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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