Lincoln biopics go back to the ‘talkies’

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Before Abraham Lincoln generated Oscar buzz or hunted vampires, he did something extraordinary on film: he spoke.

Just as the last few years have produced a few Lincoln films (“Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” and “The Conspirator”), several films about Lincoln came out in the dawning era of “talkies.” Then, just as now, the films drew crowds to their Washington premieres, which were covered in the Post. How do some of the other Lincoln flicks stack up?

“Abraham Lincoln,” directed by D.W. Griffith, with Walter Huston in the title role, was reviewed in 1930 by an unbylined Post reporter, who noted that it was Griffith’s “first all-talking picture.” “There are 150 speaking parts in the production, said to be the largest number in the history of talking pictures,” wrote the critic. “Griffith does not present Lincoln as a superman, but rather as a human being, with all a human being’s weaknesses — a man battling against the same difficulties as those which beset us all.”...

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