AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Abraham Lincoln
Alternate Title: Lincoln
Director: D. W. Griffith (Dir)
Release Date:   8 Nov 1930
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 25 Aug 1930
Duration (in mins):   93
Duration (in feet):   8,704
Duration (in reels):   10
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Cast:   Lucille La Verne (Mid-Wife)  
    W. L. Thorne (Tom Lincoln)  
    Helen Freeman (Nancy Hanks Lincoln)  
    Otto Hoffman (Offut)  
    Walter Huston (Abraham Lincoln)  
    Edgar Deering (Armstrong)  
    Una Merkel (Ann Rutledge)  
    Russell Simpson (Lincoln's employer)  
    Charles Crockett (Sheriff)  
    Kay Hammond (Mary Todd Lincoln)  
    Helen Ware (Mrs. Edwards)  
    E. Alyn Warren (Stephen A. Douglas)  
    Jason Robards (Herndon)  
    Gordon Thorpe (Tad Lincoln)  
    Ian Keith (John Wilkes Booth)  
    Cameron Prud'homme (John Hay, Secretary to Lincoln)  
    James Bradbury Sr. (General Scott)  
    James Eagle (Young soldier)  
    Fred Warren (General Grant)  
    Oscar Apfel (Secretary of War)  
    Frank Campeau (General Sheridan)  
    Hobart Bosworth (General Lee)  
    Henry B. Walthall (Colonel Marshall)  
    Hank Bell    
    Carl Stockdale    
    Ralph Lewis    
    George MacQuarrie    
    Robert Brower    

Summary: After a brief scene depicting the circumstances of Lincoln's birth in 1809, we find him at the age of twenty-two, "the ugliest and smartest man in New Salem, Ill." and a clerk in D. Offut's general store. In the spring of 1834, Abe is courting Ann Rutledge when she dies abruptly of fever, causing him great suffering. After three years of fighting in the Indian war as Captain of Volunteers, Abe begins his law practice. At a ball given by former governor Edwards, the awkward lawyer meets Mary Todd and later, despite misgivings, marries her. His reputation as a debater wins him the Republican nomination to the presidency, and he is elected. John Brown and the Abolitionists capture the armory at Harper's Ferry, and John Wilkes Booth, a fanatic exhorter, cries out for volunteers to avenge the act; thus the Civil War is launched. Following hostilities at Fort Sumter and Bull Run, Washington itself is threatened. Lincoln makes a personal visit to a battlefield and comes upon a court-martial in progress; he asks the defendant to explain his actions, pardons him, and orders him back to his regiment. The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation intensifies the struggle, and Lincoln is encouraged by Congress to end the war. Lincoln selects Grant to lead Union forces. While conferring with Stanton, the President receives word of Sheridan's defeat; he tells Stanton of his vision of a ship with white sails before each victory. ... The last of the Confederate forces under Lee are defeated, and the war is over. On the night of 14 Apr 1865, Lincoln speaks from a box at Ford's Theatre, and just after the play has begun, he is shot by John Wilkes Booth; the resulting uproar gives way to the sobbing of an unseen multitude, and a voice calls out: "Now he belongs to the ages." 

Production Company: Feature Productions, Inc.  
Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.  
Director: D. W. Griffith (Dir)
  Harry Stubbs (Assoc dial dir)
Producer: Joseph M. Schenck (Pres)
  John W. Considine Jr. (Story and prod adv)
Writer: Stephen Vincent Benét (Adpt, cont and dial)
  Gerrit Lloyd (Cont and dial)
Photography: Karl Struss (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: William Cameron Menzies (Art dir)
  Park French (Art dir)
Film Editor: James Smith (Film ed)
  Hal C. Kern (Film ed)
Costumes: Walter J. Israel (Cost)
Music: Hugo Riesenfeld (Mus arr)
Sound: Harold Witt (Sd rec)
Production Misc: Orville O. Dull (Prod mgr)
  Raymond A. Klune (Prod staff)
  Herbet Sutch (Prod staff)
Country: United States
Language: English

Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Feature Productions, Inc. 1/9/1930 dd/mm/yyyy LP1585

Physical Properties: Sd: Movietone

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Historical
Subjects (Major): Abolitionists
  John Wilkes Booth
  John Brown
  Stephen Douglas
  Emancipation Proclamation
  Ford's Theatre (Washington, DC)
  Ulysses S. Grant
  John Hay
  Robert E. Lee
  Abraham Lincoln
  Mary Todd Lincoln
  Rural life
  Ann Rutledge
  Winfield Scott
  General Philip Henry Sheridan
  Edwin McMasters Stanton
  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Note: Some contemporary news items listed the film's title as Lincoln

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   31 Aug 1930   p. 10.
Los Angeles Times   12 Dec 1930   p. 13.
New York Times   26 Aug 1930   p. 24.
Variety   27 Aug 1930   p. 21.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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