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Talk: A Cinematic Lincoln for 1930s Hard Times: John Ford's Young Mr Lincoln

Publication date: Apr 24, 2013 10:59:09 AM

Start: May 13, 2013 1:00:00 PM
End: May 13, 2013 2:00:00 PM

Location: UCL - Cruciform B404 Lecture Theater 2, Cruciform Bldg, Basement, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT


UCL - Institute of the Americas (UCL-IA) is pleased to invite you to this illustrated talk by Prof Iwan Morgan (UCL-IA), part of the UCL Festival of the Arts.

Generally considered the best Lincoln movie prior to the recent Spielberg offering, director John Ford's 'Young Mr Lincoln' offers a mythic depiction of a youthful Lincoln. At this juncture, the director was going through a Popular Front phase whereby he supported reform at home and anti-fascism abroad.

His Lincoln, beautifully played by Henry Fonda, fits this political idealism. As a young lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, in 1837, he saves two brothers from a lynch-mob (a clear reference to the contemporary civil rights struggle for an antilynch law in the US) and successfully defends them against a wrongful charge of murder (thereby standing up for the common man against the local political establishment that wants the brothers found guilty). Though dealing with a fictional episode, the film allegorizes Lincoln's role as a Civil War leader in his willingness to fight for the values he believed in and makes symbolic references to his future greatness.

Attendance is free of charge but registration is recommended.