320 Young Mr. Lincoln

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Matt
Posts: 6300
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

320 Young Mr. Lincoln

#1 Post by Matt » Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:34 pm

Young Mr. Lincoln

Image Image

Few American historical figures are as revered as Abraham Lincoln, and few director-star collaborations embody classic Hollywood cinema as beautifully as the one between John Ford and Henry Fonda. This film, their first together, was Ford's equally poetic and significant follow-up to the groundbreaking western Stagecoach, and in it, Fonda gives one of the finest performances of his career, as the young president-to-be as a novice lawyer, struggling with an incendiary murder case. Photographed in gorgeous black and white by Ford's frequent collaborator Bert Glennon, Young Mr. Lincoln is a compassionate and assured work and an indelible piece of Americana.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New audio commentary featuring film scholar Joseph McBride (Searching for John Ford: A Life)
Omnibus: John Ford, part one: director Lindsay Anderson's profile of the life and work of director John Ford before World War II
• Talk show appearance by actor Henry Fonda from 1975
• Audio interviews from the seventies with Ford and Fonda, conducted by the filmmaker's grandson Dan Ford
• Academy Award radio dramatization of the film
• PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O'Brien and an homage to Ford by filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein

Criterionforum.org user rating averages


User avatar
backstreetsbackalright
Posts: 531
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 6:49 pm
Location: 313

#2 Post by backstreetsbackalright » Mon Oct 03, 2005 7:55 pm

Criterion should really try and include Cahiers du Cinema's article on the film. It's an ideologically-driven revisionist reading of the film, and should probably be made secondary to a less ideologically-driven essay, but included nonetheless.

User avatar
the dancing kid
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:35 pm

#3 Post by the dancing kid » Mon Oct 03, 2005 8:18 pm

I would like to see this as well. It really is a very compelling reading(s) of the film, and it would make an interesting counter-weight to the more obvious interpretation of the film.

User avatar
benm
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 11:42 pm

#4 Post by benm » Mon Oct 03, 2005 8:23 pm

is there a decent translation of this article? i can read French but very slowly.

User avatar
Jeff
Posts: 5699
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:49 pm
Location: Denver, CO

#5 Post by Jeff » Mon Oct 03, 2005 8:24 pm

Unless they have more Ford on the way, I'm very surprised that they didn't include Peter Bogdanovich's "Directed by John Ford." The Big Ascot owns the rights to the film himself. Sure, the clips would pose a problem, but the interview itself is what is valuable. And I guess they don't really go with Young Mr. Lincoln, but I was really hoping that Criterion would be releasing Ford's WWII propaganda films. If they don't, who will?

User avatar
the dancing kid
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:35 pm

#6 Post by the dancing kid » Mon Oct 03, 2005 8:38 pm

benm wrote:is there a decent translation of this article? i can read French but very slowly.
I couldn't find it via google, but it has appeard in Screen magazine (old issue, circa 1972 0r 73) as well as, I believe, in David Bordwell's book 'Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema'. It probably also appears in 'Cahiers du Cinema : 1969-1972' as well.

User avatar
Derek Estes
Posts: 326
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:00 pm
Location: Portland Oregon

#7 Post by Derek Estes » Mon Oct 03, 2005 9:36 pm

I agree, that the announced features are not quite as exciting as I might have hoped for, but none the less this is a very exciting release. I hope that Criterion pursues another round of Fox films, there are plenty of Ford films that have been languishing in the Fox archives for years. I hope that the films that Ford made with Will Rogers are considered, as well as the silent films like The Iron Horse. Another Ford film that I have been trying to find for a few years is Pilgrimage. It is said to be one of Fords greatest of this period, and it is very hard to find.

I don't agree that Young Mr. Lincoln is a minor film for either Ford or Fonda. I think that Young Mr. Lincoln is one of Fords most lyrical films and is certainly one of the key films in his American tapestry.

User avatar
Theodore R. Stockton
script girl
Posts: 185
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:55 pm
Location: Where Streams Of Whiskey Are Flowing

#8 Post by Theodore R. Stockton » Mon Oct 03, 2005 9:56 pm

I imagine the skimpy extras has something to do with the four month thing, they had enough trouble posting what they had secured three months ahead.

User avatar
backstreetsbackalright
Posts: 531
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 6:49 pm
Location: 313

#9 Post by backstreetsbackalright » Mon Oct 03, 2005 10:25 pm

the dancing kid wrote:
benm wrote:is there a decent translation of this article? i can read French but very slowly.
I couldn't find it via google, but it has appeard in Screen magazine (old issue, circa 1972 0r 73) as well as, I believe, in David Bordwell's book 'Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema'. It probably also appears in 'Cahiers du Cinema : 1969-1972' as well.
This Cahiers book is where I read it.

User avatar
godardslave
Happy-Fun Sunshine Minion of Intolerance
Posts: 1108
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:44 pm
Location: Confusing and open ended = high art.

#10 Post by godardslave » Tue Oct 04, 2005 12:29 am

Theodore R. Stockton wrote:I imagine the skimpy extras has something to do with the four month thing, they had enough trouble posting what they had secured three months ahead.
this is a good point. There may be more extras on the way. Also, although its hard to know which films exactly, maybe criterion will spring a surprise with more Ford discs later.

User avatar
ellipsis7
Posts: 2412
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:56 pm
Location: Dublin

#11 Post by ellipsis7 » Tue Oct 04, 2005 4:12 am

Yes. There's a wealth of material to do a really interesting disc of this film, especially the Cahiers stuff, and the man to myth transformation, spurred by personal experience and using the law to uphold the rights of the individual and democratic freedoms, rather than a possible (left leaning) broader quest for social justice fuelling political and societal change...

I'm attached to my VHS copies of 50 Ford films (+5 DVD) am strangely underwhelmed by this CC release...

This is interesting contemporaneous review from NYT in 1939... Frank S. Nugent of course wrote the script of THE SEARCHERS (plus FORT APACHE, 3 GODFATHERS, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON, WAGONMASTER, THE QUIET MAN, THE RISING OF THE MOON, THE LAST HURRAH, TWO RODE TOGETHER & DONOVAN's REEF) for Ford!
YOUNG MR. LINCOLN June 3, 1939 By Frank S. Nugent

One of the most human and humorous of the Lincoln biographies is Young Mr. Lincoln, which Twentieth Century Fox presented at the Roxy yesterday. Without a trace of self-consciousness or an interlinear hint that its subject is a man of destiny, it has followed young Abe through his early years in Illinois, chuckling over his gangliness and folksy humor, sympathizing with him in his melancholy, grinning from ear to ear with—and at—him as he goes to court in Springfield before a pipe-smoking judge and a jury of prairie-raised pundits. These were the happy years, before he got into politics; the picture is happier for ending before the long shadows came creeping up.

Henry Fonda's characterization is one of those once-in-a-blue-moon things: a crossroads meeting of nature, art, and a smart casting director. Nature gave Mr. Fonda long legs and arms, a strong and honest face, and a slow smile; the makeup man added a new nose bridge, the lank brown hair, the frock coat, and stove-pipe hat (the beard hadn't begun to sprout in those days), and the trace of a mole. Mr. Fonda supplied the rest—the warmth and kindliness, the pleasant modesty, the courage, resolution, tenderness, shrewdness, and wit that Lincoln, even young Mr. Lincoln, must have possessed. His performance kindles the film, makes it a moving unity, at once gentle and quizzically comic.

And yet, while his Lincoln dominates the picture, director John Ford and scriptwriter Lamar Trotti never have permitted it to stand out too obviously against its background—the Midwestern frontier. Scene and minor character have their place, and an important one. The prairie types have been skillfully drawn. One knows, somehow, that they are Lincoln's kind of people, that they think as he does, laugh at the same jokes, appreciate the same kind of horseplay. Had they been less carefully presented, Abe himself would have seemed less natural, would have been a stranger in his own community. Alice Brady's frontier mother, Donald Meek's spellbinding prosecutor, Spencer Charters's circuit judge, Eddie Collins's Efe—they all fit into the picture, give Mr. Fonda's colorful Lincoln the protection of their coloration.

The result of it, happily, is not merely a natural and straightforward biography, but a film which indisputably has the right to be called Americana. It isn't merely part of a life that has been retold, but part of a way of living when government had advanced little beyond the town meeting stage, when every man knew his neighbor's business and meddled in it at times, when a municipal high spot was a pie-judging contest, the parade of the Silver Cornets, and a tug of war on the principal thoroughfare. Against that background and through events more melodramatic and humorous than nationally eventful, Twentieth Century's Young Mr. Lincoln passes; and it is a journey most pleasant to share.

YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (MOVIE)

Directed by John Ford; written by Lamar Trotti; cinematographers, Bert Glennon and Arthur Miller; edited by Walter Thompson; music by Alfred Newman; art designers, Richard Day and Mark-Lee Kirk; produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and Kenneth MacGowan; released by Twentieth Century Fox. Black and white. Running time: 100 minutes.

With: Henry Fonda (Abraham Lincoln), Alice Brady (Abagail Clay), Marjorie Weaver (Mary Todd), Arleen Whelan (Hannah Clay), Eddie Collins (Efe), Pauline Moore (Ann Rutledge), Richard Cromwell (Matt Clay), Donald Meek (John Felder), and Spencer Charters (Judge Herbert A. Bell).

stroszeck
Posts: 506
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:42 pm

#12 Post by stroszeck » Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:41 am

Ah, this was the first John Ford I saw when I was a boy. It was so wonderful then. I saw it again a few months ago and to my surprise it sucked. Only it really, truly, really sucked. Maybe it was because I was just watching a whole bunch of his stuff back then, Searchers and Clementine and Liberty etc. but this one is DEFINITELY worth ONLY a rental. But I understand how everyone feels -> Yippeee!!!!...A John Ford picture. Then again, couldn't we get a better one from Criterion?

User avatar
GringoTex
Posts: 1231
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am

#13 Post by GringoTex » Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:52 am

stroszeck wrote:Ah, this was the first John Ford I saw when I was a boy. It was so wonderful then. I saw it again a few months ago and to my surprise it sucked. Only it really, truly, really sucked. Maybe it was because I was just watching a whole bunch of his stuff back then, Searchers and Clementine and Liberty etc. but this one is DEFINITELY worth ONLY a rental. But I understand how everyone feels -> Yippeee!!!!...A John Ford picture.
You probably belong in criterionforum.com, where fans judge movies based on their own psychological-state-of-the-moment. Criticism as narcissism can be a fun little exercise. We just don't stand for it around here.

User avatar
toiletduck!
Posts: 741
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:43 pm
Location: The 'Go
Contact:

#14 Post by toiletduck! » Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:10 am

Smells strangely like worms.... Has someone been playing with the can opener again?

-Toilet Dcuk

User avatar
tryavna
Posts: 1741
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:38 pm
Location: North Carolina

#15 Post by tryavna » Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:10 pm

As far as the is-it or isn't-it great John Ford conversation goes, let's not forget that this film came during that magical three-year run Ford had from 1939-41 in which he made seven films: Stagecoach, Young Mr. Lincoln, and Drums Along the Mohawk (all 1939); The Long Voyage Home and The Grapes of Wrath (1940); and Tobacco Road and How Green Was My Valley (1941). Not all of them are masterpieces (though at least three or four of them are), but this has still got to be the best three-year run a single director ever had!

User avatar
ellipsis7
Posts: 2412
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:56 pm
Location: Dublin

#16 Post by ellipsis7 » Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:17 pm

I have 20+ John Ford books and 50 of his films, have slightly cooled on him since, but, believe me, this is a top rank Ford film or something like it... That said, it's a disappointing release as presently package, although t'fer will be excellent as ever...

Scorsese 05 - your cross references in several posts are stretched and basically unfounded, to say the least (Sherlock Holmes, The Sting etc.)....

rlendog
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:30 pm

#17 Post by rlendog » Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:35 pm

I have to agree with the posters who would prefer to have this released as a Fox Studio Classic. As I write this the Criterion website claims there are "More" special features coming, so maybe in the end the Criterion extras will be worth the cost differential, but I am not optimistic. I think Fox does a really good job with their classic releases, and hope that Fox hasn't given up a John Ford in the Studio Classics collection. I would especially love to see Tobacco Road and maybe Prisomer of Shark Island come out in that form. But if Fox has given up and Criterion is the only outlet for such films then that would still be better than nothing.

J M Powell
Posts: 133
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:20 am
Location: Providence, RI

#18 Post by J M Powell » Thu Oct 06, 2005 7:49 pm

Well, to my knowledge there are three John Ford films in the Fox Studio Classics collection right now: How Green Was My Valley, The Grapes of Wrath, and My Darling Clementine. Each of these three discs ranks among the best values-for-money on the DVD market today -- but a quick visit to Amazon tells me that they sell very unevenly. Grapes cracks the top 500 in DVD sales; Clemetine, the top 2000; Valley, only the top 5000. (True, Valley was the first disc of the three to be released, but not by much, and they've all been out for quite a while now, so I doubt that's skewing the figures.) If Fox assumed that a Studio Classics Lincoln would sell in Valley numbers rather than Grapes ones, I'd guess they were right. So, probably, the best we could have hoped for from Fox themselves was an almost-barebones release along the lines of their recent Drums Along the Mohawk. I'm not saying what Criterion is offering is necessarily worth the extra $15 over that, but I do think that assuming we would have gotten a Studio Classics edition if it weren't for Criterion's intervention might be incorrect.

rlendog
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:30 pm

#19 Post by rlendog » Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:02 pm

J M Powell wrote:Well, to my knowledge there are three John Ford films in the Fox Studio Classics collection right now: How Green Was My Valley, The Grapes of Wrath, and My Darling Clementine. Each of these three discs ranks among the best values-for-money on the DVD market today -- but a quick visit to Amazon tells me that they sell very unevenly. Grapes cracks the top 500 in DVD sales; Clemetine, the top 2000; Valley, only the top 5000. (True, Valley was the first disc of the three to be released, but not by much, and they've all been out for quite a while now, so I doubt that's skewing the figures.) If Fox assumed that a Studio Classics Lincoln would sell in Valley numbers rather than Grapes ones, I'd guess they were right. So, probably, the best we could have hoped for from Fox themselves was an almost-barebones release along the lines of their recent Drums Along the Mohawk. I'm not saying what Criterion is offering is necessarily worth the extra $15 over that, but I do think that assuming we would have gotten a Studio Classics edition if it weren't for Criterion's intervention might be incorrect.
Sales rankings in the throusands tend to be rather volatile. As I write this Valley is just within the top 3000. That said, Valley was released a full year before Clementine and 15 months before Grapes. Also, Valley had been released in a prior DVD version and is available in a boxed set with All About Eve and Gentlemen's Agreement (plus the otherwise unavailable Sunrise), both considerations which would depress sales of the Studio Classics single DVD. A comparison with some non-Ford Studio Classics rankings may be interesting - Gentleman's Agreement, which was released at the same time as Valley and has been subject to the same considerations currently ranks just outside the top 5000. Eve on the other hand does better than Valley (not unexpectedly I think) ranking just outside the top 1000 as I write this. Letter to Three Wives, a Studio Classic title that was released just this year barely makes the top 2000, and I think that is the best known of this year's Studio Classics releases. Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, a reasonably recognizable title that was released just 2 months ago is currently just outside the top 4000.

So all things considered it doesn't seem like even Valley is a poor seller for Fox Studio Classics. Now they may well believe that Lincoln would sell much worse than Valley in which case the decision to license to Criterion rather than avoid releasing it at all would be perfectly understandable. But given Ford's, Fonda's and Lincoln's I'd think this could sell reasonably well.

J M Powell
Posts: 133
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:20 am
Location: Providence, RI

#20 Post by J M Powell » Fri Oct 07, 2005 5:54 pm

I defer to your superior research and reasoning.

User avatar
Derek Estes
Posts: 326
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:00 pm
Location: Portland Oregon

#21 Post by Derek Estes » Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:44 pm

To the best of my knowledge, Peter Cowie never recorded an audio commentary for YOUNG MR. LINCOLN.

Sadly, no other Ford films appear on our current production schedule.

Best,
JM

User avatar
What A Disgrace
Posts: 2136
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:34 pm
Contact:

#22 Post by What A Disgrace » Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:49 pm

- A 1992 BBC profile of John Ford, written and presented by filmmaker Lindsay Anderson
- A 1975 episode of the BBC talk show Parkinson, featuring Henry Fonda
- Gallery of production document
- A 32-page booklet featuring critic Geoffrey O'Brien and Sergei Eisenstein's homage to Ford
Good stuff. I KNEW Criterion wouldn't let Ford down completely. According to IMDB, each episode of Parkinson is 50 minutes long, though they don't show any appearances by Fonda (though, they also only list one episode from 1975). The only Ford doc with Lindsay Anderson present is a 1990 television program, which isn't given a running time.

User avatar
tryavna
Posts: 1741
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:38 pm
Location: North Carolina

#23 Post by tryavna » Tue Nov 01, 2005 8:55 pm

- A 1992 BBC profile of John Ford, written and presented by filmmaker Lindsay Anderson
Quite looking forward to this one. I love Anderson's films, and he was actually a genuine expert on Ford. (This BBC profile was probably a tie-in with Anderson's book on Ford, though off-hand I can't remember when it was published.)

User avatar
ellipsis7
Posts: 2412
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:56 pm
Location: Dublin

#24 Post by ellipsis7 » Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:29 pm

The BBC Profile from 1992 is a two part Omnibus film written and presented by Lindsay Anderson and produced by Andrew Eaton, now Michael Winterbottom's regular Producer....

Is good (have on tape) - much like the Renoir Omnibus 2 parter..... Lots of clips, interviews and archive footage....

User avatar
Gregory
Posts: 5277
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

#25 Post by Gregory » Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:06 pm

Young Mr. Lincoln is $1 less than that at DeepDiscountDVD (and this is not likely to change because they list the correct SRP of $39.99 and because it's advertised prominently on the home page of their site).
EDIT: Not anymore -- the pricematching with DVDPlanet seems to have led them to change the price.
Last edited by Gregory on Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply