I had never seen the mini-series Sandburg’s Lincoln. It first aired in 1974. I’m 37 years overdue on this! Just recently, it became available on DVD. I don’t even own a VHS player anymore. Anyway, I had heard over the years how good Hal Holbrook played Lincoln. Many said his is the best of all portrayals of Lincoln. When I saw the picture on the cover of the DVD set I had my doubts. The picture doesn’t do justice to Holbrook as Lincoln. Holbrook’s face looks too fat to me. However, once I started watching the movie I was blown away! If ever any actor nailed the looks of Abraham Lincoln-it has got to be Holbrook!
While watching Hal Holbrook as Lincoln it struck me in a way that I had not realized before-just how homely Abraham Lincoln really was! I’ve talked about this before. We have gotten used to seeing images of Lincoln and don’t give his looks much thought. However, when watching Holbrook as Lincoln move about as he does in the film-it brings the looks out in a way a still picture doesn’t. The make-up people did a masterful job in creating Lincoln out of Holbrook. I couldn’t believe how large Lincoln’s ears were. Forgive me, you all know I love Lincoln-but I can see why McClellan called him a gorilla. Lincoln, himself, knew he was not a handsome man. See below for a sample:
More than that, Holbrook captures Lincoln in other ways. No wonder his performance earned him an Emmy. He is brilliant. I just watched the movie with my eyes glued to Holbrook studying his moves, mannerisms, and reactions to things. The deathbed scene of Willie Lincoln is very moving. Silently, Lincoln walks out of the room where Willie has died. Lincoln says nothing. He is barely holding back from crying out in emotional pain. A tear is noticed streaking down his cheek. Other scenes are just as powerful. There’s also Lincoln the husband. It is plain the Abraham and Mary love each other very much. Lincoln expresses guilt that he has brought pain into Mary’s life by bringing her to Washington. Their affection is often warm and wonderful to watch.
Get the movie. Tell me what you think. Even Holbrook’s voice is more Lincoln-like. Happy watching!Mail this post