Lincoln Film Series

February 13, 2019
Corporate Leisure
CME Building

You have certainly read many books on the life of Abraham Lincoln, but how does the life of Lincoln translate into Hollywood films from the past and present?  In this course, you will have the opportunity to engage in a viewing and a lively discussion of some of the classic Lincoln films dating from 1939 to 2012.  For instance, what elements of the “mythical or iconic Lincoln” appear most often in film, and why?  How do films of various historical eras about Lincoln reflect their times as much as the factual Lincoln?  The three films that will be shown are listed below.  The first two classes will be three hours to accommodate an introduction, viewing of the films, and a post-viewing discussion.  The final film, due to its length, will call for a class that is 3 hrs and 15 minutes.   You can sign up for one, two, or all three films. 

February 13, 9 a.m. to Noon, Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) staring Henry Fonda; Directed by John Ford; and Produced by Darryl Zanuck—quite an elite lineup!  This fictional film about Lincoln’s early days in New Salem and Springfield is based on Lincoln’s famous Almanac Trial in Beardstown in 1858.  How was this “humble”, and yet, “heroic” Lincoln in keeping with America’s sense of politics and society in the 1930s?  

February 20, 9 a.m. to Noon, Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) staring Raymond Massey.  This film covers the life of Lincoln from his boyhood to his race for the presidency.  Based on the popular writings of Carl Sandburg and a popular play, this film and the character of Lincoln offers a fascinating assessment of Lincoln and America on the eve of World War II and the threat of Nazi Germany. 

February 27, 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.,  Lincoln (2012) staring Daniel Day Lewis.  The most recent major Hollywood Production was drawn from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s best seller Team of Rivals.  Examining a more personal side of Lincoln than perhaps was ever developed on film, Lincoln’s political instincts, relationship with his family, and the fight for the 13th Amendment ending slavery are the highlights of this blockbuster.  This is a 3  hour and 15 minute class. 

Instructor: Tom Best


Cost: $8 for one class; $24 for all three