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Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
08-02-2012, 09:19 AM
Post: #1
Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
Who do you like the best? What are some of the reasons? The list of those who have portrayed Lincoln in movies and/or on television is lengthy, but include: Hal Holbrook, Sam Waterston, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, Lance Henriksen, Raymond Massey, Jason Robarts, and Kris Kristofferson. Wasn't it Jimmy Durante who used to say: "Everybody wants ta get inta the act!"

Bill Nash
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08-02-2012, 09:45 AM
Post: #2
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
I'm watching Young Mr. Lincoln with Henry Fonda now and so far, I'm not that impressed with Fonda's performance. It's almost like he's working too hard to make Lincoln into a folksy charmer.

Holbrook's portrayal is better. It will be interesting to see how Daniel Day Lewis does.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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08-02-2012, 10:21 AM
Post: #3
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
I agree with Rob about Fonda.
I always liked Gregory Peck.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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08-02-2012, 10:28 AM
Post: #4
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
Young Mr. Lincoln, with Henry Fonda, makes Lincoln look as though he were cognitively challenged. It is one of the worst Lincoln films ever made (my opinion, only). I have the Holbrook performance on DVDs that I had burned from original cc I had from the year when Carl Sandburg's Abraham Lincoln appeared on TV. Holbrook had Lincoln's Hoosier accent down perfectly. The pitch rose whenever he got excited, and that fits in with descriptions from contemporaries that heard Lincoln speak. The make-up was quite good--Holbrook's face had a slightly different shape than Lincoln's but this did not matter. Raymond Massey's Lincoln performace in the film version of Robert Sherwood's Abe Lincoln in Illinois is (I think) the 2nd best. Third, I would choose Royal Dano's depiction of Lincoln in the 6-part series on Lincoln done for Omnibus in the 1950s. All of the others pale in comparison.
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08-02-2012, 11:09 AM
Post: #5
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
Joe. You mentioned Holbrook getting Lincoln's vocal pitch right. To me, that is an important factor. It is also why I find Massey's "Lincoln voice" distracting-because he got it wrong. Do you agree?

Bill Nash
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08-02-2012, 12:03 PM
Post: #6
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
Bill,I agree 100% that Holbrook was probably the best Actor to play the role of Lincoln,because of what Joe mentioned.I also feel that Sam Waterston has done a very good job also!
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08-02-2012, 12:27 PM
Post: #7
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
Absolutely, Bill, Massey's Lincoln was quite nasal and almost whiny in the way words were slowly drawled out.

Some take issue with my characterization of Holbrook's Lincoln as a Hoosier accent. Although Lincoln was a native Kentuckian, he left there at the age of seven and spent the next fourteen years in Indiana. So, I think it is safe to say that his inflections when speaking were Hoosier-like, especially as heard even today in southern Indiana.
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08-02-2012, 12:38 PM
Post: #8
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
Joe,I crossed the Wabash River following the Lincoln Trail at Vincennes,Ind.The "Hoosier accent" is "alive and Well"! They all thought that I had "the"accent because I was from Western-NewYork!
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08-02-2012, 12:46 PM
Post: #9
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
Herb, it is funny how we never hear our own "accents"--when I lived in Fargo for 28 years, people said I had an accent. I never thought Chicagoans had an accent, except for hizzoner the mayor and a few Catholic high school girls who attended Longwood (pronounced by them as LAWNGwood--with apologoies to my former elemntary school classmates!). However, when I moved back to the Chicago area for a while, 2001-2005, I noticed that Chicagoans DO have a discernible accent! I now live in southwestern Ohio and notice a slight "southern" inflection. That's what makes the USA so great--all of the diversity--even the regional "accents." By the way, it is great to read your posts again; I missed them after the ALO site closed its blog section.
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08-02-2012, 02:23 PM
Post: #10
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
I have not seen every Lincoln movie, but I still favor Holbrook and Royal Dano. I have seen the two-man shows that Harold Holzer and Sam Waterston have done in recent years with readings, and Sam was very good with those. Having met him several times in public, however, his facial features and shorter height have a slightly negative effect on me. I'm afraid that I am one of those who wants more than a passing resemblance to historic figures in my actors/actesses.
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08-02-2012, 02:56 PM
Post: #11
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
I've seen Holbrook do Mark Twain, and he was great. After watching that, he's just not Lincoln to me.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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08-02-2012, 03:37 PM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2012 07:01 PM by BettyO.)
Post: #12
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
My old "heartthrob" as a sixteen year old; play actor David Selby is one of my favorites --he makes a great Lincoln - right height and gauntness; I also liked Raymond Massey and yes, Holbrook (who by the way is also in Spielberg's Lincoln playing a congressman).... I always liked Henry Fonda as a young Lincoln -- but somehow he didn't have the right height or look - still, I think his voice carried great with the sort of natural "tang" he had.... and oh, yes, thanks for reminding me, Laurie -- Sam Waterston made a good Lincoln, too!

[Image: selbyaslincoln.jpg]

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David Selby as Lincoln on Stage at Ford's Theatre

"The Past is a foreign country...they do things differently there" - L. P. Hartley
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08-02-2012, 05:13 PM
Post: #13
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
The best Lincoln in my opinion was the actor John Anderson. This guy played Lincoln on numerous occasions in his career. He actually resembled Lincoln.    
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08-02-2012, 09:57 PM
Post: #14
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
That actor Richard "Fritz" Klein of Lincoln's Last Night really looks like Lincoln-even down to the mole on the face. Its been a few years since seeing it so I don't remember his voice.

Bill Nash
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08-03-2012, 08:09 AM
Post: #15
RE: Your personal choice of actors who have portrayed Lincoln
No one has mentioned the actor who played in the first "talkie" made about Lincoln--the great Walter Huston (father of John and grandfather of Angelina), whose co-star Una Merkel played Ann Rutledge. It was the only Hollywood film from the golden age of cinema that covered Lincoln's life through the presidential years. Huston's portrayal was not up there with those of Holbrook or Massey or Dano, but it was a notable film. It is occasionally shown on TCM around mid-February.
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