President’s Day Movies

Posted on February 16, 2020 at 10:50 am

Some movies for President’s Day:

Celebrate President’s Day with some movies about our 16th President. Reportedly, Abraham Lincoln has been portrayed more on screen than any other real-life character.  I was honored to be invited to participate in the 272-word project from the Abraham Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois.  Each of us was asked to contribute an essay that was, like the Gettysburg Address, just 272 words.

Here’s mine:

Two score and six years after the death of Abraham Lincoln, he was first portrayed in the brand-new medium of film. 102 years and over 300 films later, Lincoln has appeared on screen more than any other historical figure and more than any other character except for Sherlock Holmes. In 2013 alone there were three feature films about Abraham Lincoln, one with an Oscar-winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, directed by Steven Spielberg. In another one, he was a vampire slayer. He has been portrayed by Henry Fonda (John Ford’s “Young Mr. Lincoln,” Raymond Massey (“Abe Lincoln in Illinois”), Walter Huston (D.W. Griffith’s “Abraham Lincoln”), and Bing Crosby – in blackface (“Holiday Inn”). The movies have shown us Lincoln defending clients, mourning Ann Rutledge, courting Mary Todd, and serving as President. We have also seen him traveling through time with a couple of California teenagers in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and granting amnesty to Shirley Temple’s Confederate family in “The Littlest Rebel.”

Lincoln is appealingly iconic as a movie character, instantly recognizable as a symbol of America’s most cherished notion of ourselves: unpretentious but aspiring for a better world and able to find both the humor and integrity in troubled times. In every film appearance, even the silliest and most outlandish, he reminds us, as he did in The Gettysburg Address, of what is most essential in the American character: the search for justice.

The Steven Spielberg epic, Lincoln, based on Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin, with Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis.

Young Mr. Lincoln Directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, this is an appealing look at Lincoln’s early law practice and his tragic romance with Ann Rutledge. Particularly exciting and moving are the scenes in the courtroom as Lincoln defends two brothers charged with murder. Both have refused to talk about what happened, each thinking he is protecting the other, and Lincoln has to find a way to prove their innocence.

Abe Lincoln in Illinois Raymond Massey in his signature role plays Lincoln from his days as a rail-splitter to his law practice and his debates with Stephen Douglas. Ruth Gordon plays his wife, Mary.

Gore Vidal’s Lincoln Sam Waterston and Mary Tyler Moore star in this miniseries that focuses on Lincoln’s political strategies and personal struggles.

Sandburg’s Lincoln Hal Holbrook plays Lincoln in this miniseries based on the biography by poet Carl Sandberg.

It’s not that I’m forgetting the other President we pay tribute to this week; it’s just that George Washington has never had a movie worthy of his contributions to our country. Lincoln has had films from directors like John Ford and Steven Spielberg. Washington has television. There’s a 1984 miniseries:

And a History Channel miniseries:

Scorsese? Sorkin? Spielberg? There’s a great opportunity here.

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Movies for President’s Day

Posted on February 20, 2017 at 10:59 am

Why have there been no great films about George Washington?

And why are there so many films featuring Abraham Lincoln? From the John Ford classic Young Mr. Lincoln, starring Henry Fonda, to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, there is something about the tall man with the wry sense of humor that is very cinematic.

Then there are fictional movie Presidents like Polly Bergen as the first woman Chief Executive and Harrison Ford as an almost-superhero President in “Air Force One.”  Be sure to check out Yahoo’s slideshow of real-life Presidents portrayed on screen.

 

Ten Presidential movies for President’s Day:

1. Young Mr. Lincoln Long before he ran for President, we see Abe Lincoln mourn his first love and defend his first clients.

2. Independence Day Bill Pullman is a former fighter pilot who leads America and the world after an alien attack.

3. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb This cold-war farce has Peter Sellers in three roles, including President of the United States. His conversation with his counterpart in the USSR is a masterpiece. (Some mature material).

4. “Kisses for My President” This all-but forgotten 1964 film features Polly Bergen as the nation’s first female President, but in this pre-feminist era its focus is on the problems faced by her husband, played by Fred McMurray. It is every bit as silly as its title suggests and you will never believe how it all gets resolved. (Guesses welcome)

5. Air Force One Harrison Ford is the President as action hero. When Air Force One is captured by terrorists, it’s a good thing that the man who played Han Solo and Indiana Jones is on hand.

6. Welcome To Mooseport Gene Hackman plays a former President who ends up competing with small town guy Ray Romano in a mayoral race and for Maura Tierney.

7. Guarding Tess Shirley MacLaine is a former first lady and Nicolas Cage is her bored Secret Service guard in this comedy-drama with some funny moments — and some touching ones, too.

8. Dave Kevin Kline plays a man hired to impersonate the President (also Kline) whose challenges include fooling the First Lady (Sigourney Weaver) in this charming comedy.

9. The American President Michael Douglas plays a President in love in this witty story from the man who would go on to create “The West Wing” with Martin Sheen, seen here as a Presidential aide.

10. The President’s Analyst The focus is on the psychiatrist who treats the President in this satire starring James Coburn.

And don’t forget Richard Nixon in “Nixon” (Anthony Hopkins), “Frost/Nixon” (Frank Langella), and “Dick” (Dan Hedaya), John F. Kennedy in “13 Days” (Bruce Greenwood) and “PT 109” (Cliff Robertson), George W. Bush in “W” (James Brolin, with James Cromwell as his father, President George H.W. Bush), and Franklin Roosevelt in “Hyde Park on Hudson” (Bill Murray), “Eleanor and Franklin” (Edward Hermann), and “Sunrise at Campobello” (Ralph Bellamy).  In “The Remarkable Andrew,” the ghost of Andrew Jackson (Brian Donlevy) helps a teacher played by William Holden expose some corruption in his local government and Theodore Roosevelt appears in “The Wind and the Lion” and “My Girl Tisa.”

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Film History For Your Netflix Queue

Movies to Celebrate Presidents

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 8:00 am

Why have there been no great films about George Washington? And why are there so many films featuring Abraham Lincoln? From the John Ford classic Young Mr. Lincoln, starring Henry Fonda, to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, there is something about the tall man with the wry sense of humor that is very cinematic.

Then there are fictional movie Presidents like Polly Bergan as the first woman Chief Executive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfTsMLxHb8g

Five great movies for President’s Day:

1. Young Mr. Lincoln Long before he ran for President, we see Abe Lincoln mourn his first love and defend his first clients.

2. Independence Day Bill Pullman is a former fighter pilot who leads America and the world after an alien attack.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l31UUl5SyXk

3. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb This cold-war farce has Peter Sellers in three roles, including President of the United States. His conversation with his counterpart in the USSR is a masterpiece. (Some mature material).

kisses%20for%20my%20president.jpg4. “Kisses for My President” Not available on DVD or video, this all-but forgotten 1964 film features Polly Bergan as the nation’s first female President, but in this pre-feminist era its focus is on the problems faced by her husband, played by Fred McMurray. It is every bit as silly as its title suggests and you will never believe how it all gets resolved. (Guesses welcome)

5. Air Force One Harrison Ford is the President as action hero. When Air Force One is captured by terrorists, it’s a good thing that the man who played Han Solo and Indiana Jones is on hand.

And don’t forget: Richard Nixon in “Nixon” (Anthony Hopkins), “Frost/Nixon” (Frank Langella), and “Dick” (Dan Hedaya), John F. Kennedy in “13 Days” (Bruce Greenwood) and “PT 109” (Cliff Robertson), George W. Bush in “W” (James Brolin, with James Cromwell as his father, President George H.W. Bush), and Franklin Roosevelt in “Hyde Park on Hudson” (Bill Murray), “Eleonor and Franklin” (Edward Hermann), and “Sunrise at Campbello” (Ralph Bellamy)

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