World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Young Mr. Lincoln

Article Id: WHEBN0000839547
Reproduction Date:

Title: Young Mr. Lincoln  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: National Board of Review Awards 1939, Alice Brady, Henry Fonda filmography, John Ford, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Collection: 1930S Biographical Films, 1930S Drama Films, 1939 Films, 20Th Century Fox Films, American Biographical Films, American Drama Films, American Films, Biographical Films About Abraham Lincoln, Black-and-White Films, Courtroom Films, Fictional Depictions of Abraham Lincoln in Film, Film Scores by Alfred Newman, Films About Presidents of the United States, Films Directed by John Ford, Films Set in Illinois, Films Set in the 1830S, Screenplays by Lamar Trotti, United States National Film Registry Films
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Young Mr. Lincoln

Young Mr. Lincoln
Directed by John Ford
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Kenneth Macgowan
Written by Lamar Trotti
Starring Henry Fonda
Alice Brady
Marjorie Weaver
Arleen Whelan
Music by Alfred Newman
David Buttolph
Edward B. Powell
Louis Silvers
Paul Van Loan
Cinematography Bert Glennon
Arthur C. Miller
Edited by Walter Thompson
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (theatrical)
The Criterion Collection (DVD)
Release dates
  • May 30, 1939 (1939-05-30)
Running time
100 min.
Language English
Budget $1,500,000 (estimated)

Young Mr. Lincoln is a 1939 partly fictionalized biopic about the early life of President Abraham Lincoln, directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda.[1][2] Ford and producer Darryl F. Zanuck fought for control of the film, to the point where Ford destroyed unwanted takes for fear the studio would use them in the movie. Screenwriter Lamar Trotti was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing/Original Story.

In 2003, Young Mr. Lincoln was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Background 3
  • Adaptations 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


A family traveling through New Salem, Illinois in their wagon need groceries from Lincoln's store and the only thing of value they have is a barrel of old books including a law book, Blackstone's Commentaries. After thoroughly reading the book, Abe opts for the law after receiving encouragement from his early, ill-fated love, Ann Rutledge (Pauline Moore). Too poor to own even a horse, he arrives in Springfield on a mule and soon establishes a law practice with friend John Stuart (Edwin Maxwell). At a July 4 celebration, a man is murdered in a brawl – the accused are two brothers. Lincoln prevents the lynching of the accused at the jail by telling the angry mob he really needs these clients for his first real case. Admiring his courage, Mary Todd (Marjorie Weaver) – later to be his wife – invites Lincoln to her sister's soiree and expresses an intense interest in his future.

The key witness to the crime is a friend of the victim who claims to have seen the murder at a distance of about 100 yards under the light of the moon. The family and Lincoln are pressured to save one of the brothers at the expense of the other's conviction. But Lincoln persists and is able, through the use of an almanac, to demonstrate that on the night in question the moon would not have provided the light the supposed eyewitness claimed. He then drives the witness to confess that he had in fact stabbed his friend himself.



A scene cut from the film involved Lincoln meeting a very young John Wilkes Booth, his future assassin.

The film has as its basis the murder case involving William "Duff" Armstrong, which took place in 1858 at the courthouse in Beardstown, Illinois—the only courthouse where Lincoln practiced law that is still in use.


Young Mr. Lincoln was adapted as a radio play on the July 10, 1946 episode of Academy Award Theater.[3]

The Village Theatre of Everett and Issaquah, Washington has commissioned a new musical based on the film titled Lincoln in Love, book and lyrics by Peter S. Kellogg and music by David Friedman.

See also


  1. ^ Variety film review; June 7, 1939, page 12.
  2. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; June 17, 1939, page 94.
  3. ^ Academy Award Theater archives at the Internet Archive

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.