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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Lincoln (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

landmark
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Anyone see the recent movie? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

I saw it on New Year's Eve and had a very mixed reaction.

The performances were all wonderful. Daniel Day-Lewis puts together the eccentric, multi-faceted qualities of a perplexing man and shows how the bizarre, often conflicting, combination actually worked to produce a genius of a politician. A very brave performance I thought. Sally Field too has the steel and tenderness to be believable as Lincoln's comfort and curse. Entertaining turns from Tommy Lee Jones and James Spader as well.

But... the direction from Spielberg and the music from John Williams! If only they would trust their material! Every moment is pointed with "uplift" or "sorrow" by the music or the camera framing, and you start to feel like a fourth grader while your teacher is telling you what a great man Lincoln was, and the troubles he had to overcome. The actors work so hard to show you their humanness but Spielberg keeps trying to turn Lincoln into ET or a Disney Animatron.

The script by Tony Kushner was entertaining--I didn't think before going in that I was going to last 2 and a half hours, but it did hold me. My main issue with the script was how limited it was: Black people have almost no agency in this movie, it was really about how white guys maneuvered to pass the 13th amendment. As if Frederic Douglass didn't exist, as if there were never any slave revolts. The picture seemed so "safe" to me--a feelgood celebration of an amendment passed 150 years ago.

It will win some Oscars, but somehow I wish that all that talent was used to explore racial issues today with the same care. But I agree, that I'm asking for something that was not the intention of this movie. I must admit it did have me looking up things that I had forgotten or not known about Lincoln, and that certainly was a plus. For those who like ratings, I rate it 7.5/10.

Would love to hear others' opinions.
Marlin1894
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I haven't gotten to see it yet but one of my girlfriends airheaded pals saw it. When I asked her how it was she offered up this insightful review; "There wasn't very much action, it was more "historical"". Good grief.

Thanks for your review, I do intend to see it. I already had a feeling that one of the plusses would D.D. Lewis, who is brilliant in just about everything he's ever done. And one of the minuses would be the "Speilberg Treatment".
rockwall
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My wife and I both really enjoyed the show. We didn't notice the distractions that bothered you and I'm glad I hadn't read your post before going because I probably would have spent too much time looking for them! LOL

I found the acrimony and manuevering done in the House to be facinating to watch. It was interesting how men of deep scruples were still reduced to lying about their position in order to get the amendment passed. (If what is shown in the movie is accurate.)
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I have to say I didn't buy Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln. It was the voice. He just didn't capture how I think Lincoln spoke.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
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landmark
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This article seems to think DDL got the voice right...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/14......693.html
rockwall
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We should just listen to a couple of recordings and compare the two!
Michael Baker
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I have not seen the movie yet, but would assume that any issues arising from the voice weren't helped by any recall of Gregory Peck's portrayal of Lincoln.

@ Marlin1894... give her a copy of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and send her on her way.
~michael baker
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Bob1Dog
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I've been waiting to see the movie too; I tried seeing it the first week it was released and was turned away because it was sold out. Folks I've talked to who have seen it said it was politics as usual then and now.

As for Lincoln's voice, I distinctly remember reading in one historical account that Lincoln had a high pitched voice and with his lanky frame would actually come across as being comical when stumping.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
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Bob1, as a Lincoln scholar- you are correct- Lincoln had a hig pitched voice that was out of all expectations, he was frequently railed at by the press for his voice and speaking skills (or lack of same), yet several of his speeches were even in his time regaredhighly for their content. His "house DivideD" , the Cooper Union speech that effectively got him elected in 1860 and his 2d inaugural .
leaycraft
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In those times, a speaker had to be heard without amplification of any kind. At Gettysburg, for example, Lincoln (and the other speakers) addressed a crowd of 15 to 20 thousand people - in the open air. A tenor voice carries much better than a baritone, and I would bet that most orators of the time were tenors. You can listen, for example, to early recordings of Theodore Roosevelt, and observe the same thing.
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Quote:
On 2013-01-04 09:19, leaycraft wrote:
Bob1, as a Lincoln scholar- you are correct- Lincoln had a hig pitched voice that was out of all expectations, he was frequently railed at by the press for his voice and speaking skills (or lack of same), yet several of his speeches were even in his time regaredhighly for their content. His "house DivideD" , the Cooper Union speech that effectively got him elected in 1860 and his 2d inaugural .
leaycraft


Thank you leaycraft. Some folks in here think they're experts on everything and because of that I have a tendency to irritate them with things that I say (in the interests of free speech, of course). Now YOU are a true expert on Lincoln! Smile My personal favorite is his Gettysburg Address. So simple, so concise, so well said. It should be a study for American children in learning how to write, at some stage in their education.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2013-01-04 10:22, Woland wrote:
In those times, a speaker had to be heard without amplification of any kind. At Gettysburg, for example, Lincoln (and the other speakers) addressed a crowd of 15 to 20 thousand people - in the open air. A tenor voice carries much better than a baritone, and I would bet that most orators of the time were tenors. You can listen, for example, to early recordings of Theodore Roosevelt, and observe the same thing.


One wonders exactly what the people in the back of the crowds were hearing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpkWT5voTSE
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
landmark
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While there are no known recordings of Lincoln's voice, there is a recording of Edwin (brother of John Wilkes) Booth reciting lines from Othello. The quality is awful, and it proves nothing about Lincoln one way or the other, but it's amazing to think that it exists and it's fun to listen to:

http://archive.org/details/OthelloByEdwinBooth1890 (click on the upper right hand side of the screen; there's a transcription below)
rockwall
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And recorded many years after Lincoln's assassination! But you're right. Amazing.
motown
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For me it's not so much the pitch of the voice, but the accent. It just didn't work.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
– Karl Germain
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