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Young Mr. Lincoln (Ford at Fox Collection)

What better way to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday than an immersion into director John Ford’s beautiful biography, Young Mr. Lincoln, a film about not the Great Emancipator, but a lanky Honest Abe as a fledgling country lawyer? Henry Fonda manages plainspoken eloquence in this visually simple, morally complex movie, a too rarely emulated model for political filmmaking. Neither director nor star has an ideological ax to grind — the only ax is the one Lincoln uses to split rails in one of the most iconic, enjoyable scenes. EXTRAS A fine overview of Ford’s career presented by director Lindsay Anderson for the BBC, and a TV interview with Fonda by the BBC’s Michael Parkinson, whose self-effacing thoroughness puts our James Lipton to shame. And be sure to read Geoffrey O’Brien’s essay on Ford’s ”cinematic language fit for democratic myth.”

Young Mr. Lincoln (Ford at Fox Collection)
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