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    Everyone is talking about Daniel Day-Lewis’s riveting, persuasive performance as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. We’re also quite fond of Henry Fonda’s classic turn as a much greener version of the sixteenth president, in John Ford’s masterful and subtle Young Mr. Lincoln, which focuses on the great man’s days as an idealistic lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. Though Fonda inhabits Lincoln with grace and ease, it was not a role the actor was initially convinced he was right for. In this clip from a 1975 interview on the television show Parkinson (available in its entirety on our DVD), Fonda winningly describes his misgivings about taking the role, his screen test for it, and how Ford “shamed” him into accepting it.

    Now see Fonda in action (and makeup), in an inspiring scene from Young Mr. Lincoln in which the future commander in chief stops a lynching with his simple eloquence.


  • By David Hargrove
    December 03, 2012
    05:54 PM

    Fonda was a great film actor, working so quietly, so perfect for the medium.
  • By Below109
    December 06, 2012
    07:29 PM

    'Young Mr. Lincoln' is too often overlooked, because of John Ford cranked out so many great ones, like Stagecoach, Grapes of Wrath & How Green Was my Valley.
  • By Greg
    December 20, 2012
    03:05 PM

    I still remember seeing this as a kid on TV and was mesmerized by the acting, the story, and mostly the deep focus photography. I'm not sure what liberties were taken with reality but film should never be accepted as history lessons---which sometimes can be dangerous when the reality is so distorted that it becomes total fiction. Young Mr. Lincoln's heart is in a good place so it easy to forgive any lapses from reality.
  • By hugh centerville
    November 05, 2013
    05:03 PM

    The movie does take some liberties with history but it doesn't stray so far as some might think. There's some truth to the almanac thing, although it came much later in Lincoln's life, just a few years before he became president. Historians are still trying to figure out Lincoln's relationship with Ann Rutledge and on one thing at least, the movie was spot on - Mary Todd's attraction to Lincoln, which would translate into a lifetime of devotion. The interview also makes 1 thing clear - just how great John Ford was in the eyes of those who worked with him, he was truly legendary.