- Feb 8, 1999
- Real Name
- Robert Harris
While I'm a huge fan of Ms Goodwin's writings, and thought very highly of Mr. Spielberg's Lincoln, with Mr. Day-Lewis in the pivotal role, facts are facts.
Originally to be a multi-book set, issued over four years, it appears that the first volume, known to exist as galley proofs, and which covered Lincoln's early years, the vampire problem of the 1830s and beyond, and the truth about the Civil War, was jettisoned.
Public pressure won out and Dreamworks gave us Lincoln as legend, passed down through generations of writers and "historians" too concerned about their own reputations to allow the truth to be heard.
I'm pleased that, while we have Mr. Spielberg's telling of the legend, that we finally have truth, history and accuracy, as brought to the screen by Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Day Watch) and Fox. Interestingly, it was a Russian-born filmmaker that had the requisite love of this country, to work to see that the truth was finally heard.
The short version is that Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks, was infected by a vampire, and died in 1818. This was the beginning of a life-long hatred of vampires by Lincoln. What he didn't realize, was that all vampires were not bad.
In this wonderful 3D action epic, we learn that the Civil War, which began as a dispute between the north and south regarding slavery, actually turned into a battle of men vs. vampires, but for a single inexplicable reason.
While I can agree that the vampire responsible for the death of Lincoln's mother was not what might be considered the good undead in polite society, had Lincoln changed the fabric of the 13th amendment, not to simply guarantee the freedom of all living people, regardless of color, in the United States, but rather structured it -- as it was suggested at the time -- to protect both the living and the dead from mistreatment, the vampire problem as we now know it, might have been settled peacefully.
I enjoyed this film, not only as history, but as a very nicely crafted and shot 3D experience. The wonderful Caleb Deschanel performed the cinematographic honors. And his work here is magnificent.
The 7.1 DTS-HD MA track is terrific, with audio perfectly placed, and effects beautifully rendered.
From a purely historical perspective, looking back to three-strip Technicolor, the burning of the bridge sequence contains a number of original Technicolor background plates (the actual burning of the gate of Kong) as photographed for the burning of Atlanta sequence of Gone with the Wind in December of 1938. A wonderful tip of the hat for their use. Likewise, the homage to Citizen Kane, but without the newspapers at the dinner table.
While this film didn't receive great reviews, I found it an extremely enjoyable ride. For those who love history -- real history, as opposed to Hollywood history -- it comes recommended from these quarters.
And for those who might ask, 3D and 7.1 make a difference here.
One final point. I've become so weary over the years reading about Mary Todd Lincoln, as a dumpy little creature with bouts of depression. Finally, we get the real Mary Todd, as beautifully portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead -- all 5' 8" of her. Much like the historical inaccuracies about a short T. E. Lawrence, we finally get the real picture of this famous lady.