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  1. #1
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    Default Lincoln

    Saw the Spielberg film yesterday and I was very impressed. Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal is just stunning. The history seems pretty good (although politics is not my strong suit) and the story is very moving. Highly recommended.
    Scott Washburn
    Mifflin Guard
    www.paperterrain.com

  2. #2
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    Default I was unimpressed.

    I almost fell asleep on a couple of occasions. The performances are top notch, but the overall story was handled in a very dull and hang-dog manner. What really irked me though, as a reenactor, was the lack of military historical accuracy. It was abysmal. I was embarrased by how cheesy and fake the film looked.

    I saw more historical innacurracies in "Lincoln" than I expected. Speilberg didn't bother to hire decent military consultants, or at least if he did, didn't bother to listen to them. Of course, the film's focus is more on the political actions far behind the lines, but there are several crucial scenes in military settings and virtually none of them are accurate. Just a sampling:

    1. Lincoln did not visit the Petersburg seige lines immediately after a battle. He visited Grant's headquarters area at City Point (now called Hopewell, VA) far behind the front. He later went to the fallen city of Richmond, but he never rode across a recent battlefield strew with freshly killed corpses as depicted in the movie.

    2. General Grant was not at all like the tall, muscular, craggy-faced, 50+ Jared Harris, but rather he was a diminutive, thin, and somewhat stoop-shouldered young man in his early 40s. His hair was dark brown, not light brown. Harris looked more like Sherman.

    3. Long hair on soldiers. Too many ordinary soldiers are depicted with shoulder-length long hair. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Lice was a huge problem in both armies and the only way to keep it from becoming a worse problem was to cut the hair. "Dandy" offices like Pickett or Custer could afford to keep their hair clean with oils and perfumes, but the common soldier in the ranks could not. Besides, regulations forbade hair past the collar on enlisted men for both armies.

    4. Opening battle scene. This has to rank as one of the worst depictions of Civil War combat I've ever seen in a film (well, maybe the one in Wolverine is worse). Federal and Confederate Soldiers are shown in a massive hand-to-hand fight in a driving rainstorm. Each seem paired off with a single opponent. That is hilariouisly Hollywood. In reality, the converging lines would have come together in a group shoving match similar to rioters clashing with a line of police. Also, there is too much bayonet action in the scene. Of the all the weapons of the era, the bayonet was the least used in battle. Medical records show few men wounded by bayonet. It was primarily used as a digging tool. Muskets gripped by the barrel and used as a club was more common, but in the film they do this like baseball batters standing at the plate. The rifles of the time were too long and heavy to be swung like baseball bats; the possiblity of hitting one of your own comrades to your left or right was too great. The soldier would have simpley raised the stock of the rifle and tried to hit a enemy soldier with the butt plate straight into the face.

    5. Black and white Federal troops on cozy terms. Units were racially segragated and there was little interaction or even much friendly feelings between black and white Federal troops. White Union soldiers eventually came to have a respect for hard-fighting black troops in the field, but they would not have stood around with them in a group, integrated among them them while waiting to hear news about the 13th Ammendment vote as it came across the telegraph wires. Yet, that very thing is depicted in the film. Indeed, had you asked a white Union soldier what he was fighting for, most would have said, "The old flag", meaning the concept of Union. Had you insisted he was fighting to free the slaves, he would have spat a wad of tobacco juice in your eye before beating the daylights out of you. I say this not to disparage them, but they were products of their time. Freeing slaves was not a high priority for the average white Union soldier. They may have been disgusted by it, especially when seeing its effects first hand while in the South, but they didn't much care for blacks one way or the other, if they didn't already despise them to begin with. Instead, Speilberg gives us a very false feeling of all Union troops, black and white, being on the verge of singing "Kumbaya" together.

    There are more mistakes throughout the film, almost too numberous to mention. Why is this important? As Napoleon said, "God is in the details". This film is Gawd-awful when it comes to little details and it reflects badly on the military historical consultants hired for the film.... if there even were any.
    - Ernesto Serna

    "...I'm struck by the contradiction at the core of Civil War reenacting. On the surface it's a hyper-macho hobby, focused on guns and battle. But the longer I hang out with hardcores ... the more they remind me of supermodels, chatting endlessly about their jackets and shoes and hair and how many pounds they've lost since the last event." - Tony Horwitz

  3. #3
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    Default

    sorry you didn't like it, but hey, maybe someone will see it, enjoy it enough and, decide to read more about the man and the period and learn all about the things you painstakingly pointed out in your really long post. A million years ago I saw a film called gettysburg, rife with historic issues, realized it was just a film, but became interested in a period and started reading and haven't looked back. Maybe someday someone who saw Lincoln and liked it so much that they decided to go further, won't be ever be able to watch it again with out chuckling, because they learned more after the first time they saw it. In the meantime if hollywood doesn't make something like it from time to time, some folks may never be inspired to learn more. As for those who watch it and think its the final word on what really happened and how things really were, well those folks have always been with us and no film, whoever makes it or how its written is ever going to change what they think, so take it for what it was, an interpretation. Yeah, Napoleon said God is in the details but Napoleon didn't make movies. Life's really short, trust me, I know......

    respectfully
    Joe Korber, from long island, NY

  4. #4
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    Default

    The problem is that from everything I have read about the film it seems to show the squeeky clean Lincoln. Instead of the Constitution shirking dictator that he really was.
    Andrew Verdon

    7th Tennessee Cavalry Company D, CSA

    "Let history dictate our impressions.......not the other way around!" - Mark Choate

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forrestcavalryman View Post
    The problem is that from everything I have read about the film it seems to show the squeeky clean Lincoln. Instead of the Constitution shirking dictator that he really was.
    I guess all the scenes where Bilbo is bribing senators to vote for the 13th amendment is squeaky clean? Also remember, the whole time-frame of this movie is January-April 1865...that is it. This is not a biography of the war or his presidency, just those 4 months and the fight surrounding the passing of the 13th amendment. People seem to forget that this is a MOVIE...made for the general public NOT for the reenacting/living history community. As a Historian and Educator, I felt that the movie was very well done.
    Your Humble Servant,

    Sean R. Otis

    124th NYSV Co.A "Orange Blossoms"

    Middlesex Lodge F&AM

  6. #6
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    Ah, I have read many reviews and NONE of them mentioned that....Perhaps they did not like this scene, thank you sir the way I read everything made it sound like the stereotypical History book Lincoln.
    Andrew Verdon

    7th Tennessee Cavalry Company D, CSA

    "Let history dictate our impressions.......not the other way around!" - Mark Choate

  7. #7
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    Default

    Actually there is a fascinating scene where Lincoln discusses the legality of many of his actions, the Emancipation Proclamation in particular. It's very clear that he realizes that many of his action are NOT 'squeeky clean' but he feels he did what was necessary to win the war and preserve the Union. Also, during the hot debate in Congress, many of the opposition leaders make reference to Lincoln's 'dictatorial' actions. No, I can't say that this is some sort of white-wash of Lincoln. It shows a great man making hard decisions in a time of crisis--and it does it very well, indeed.

    As for the military inaccuracies, well, all I can say is that this is not a war movie They didn't diminish the film a bit for me. Your mileage may vary.
    Scott Washburn
    Mifflin Guard
    www.paperterrain.com

  8. #8
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    Default should have shown licoln isuing exections sentences for starving native americans

    so concerned about Lincoln was for native americans, he is responsible for the largest mas exection in us history. and he used the "n" word alot
    Rob Hayhurst
    9th Texas Co. C
    1st Mo Bn/trans-miss bde
    formerly 61st Va.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Moderator Note: This thread is about the movie, not the person. Get back on that track or start a new thread please
    Ross Lamoreaux
    Moderator and Sewer of Historical Clothing and Tall Tales

    "But our opportunity to learn and grow, to communicate the richness of the lives that have gone before us, that does not change. We do not outgrow it. It does not tatter and fall apart in our hands..." -Mrs. Terre Lawson, 2010

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by reb64 View Post
    so concerned about Lincoln was for native americans, he is responsible for the largest mas exection in us history. and he used the "n" word alot
    That execution could have been a lot worse had Lincoln not listened to the appeal of Bishop Whipple and pardoned dozens more against whom there was scant and circumstantial evidence. I believe that also occurred outside the January-February 1865 timeframe of the movie. As the title is "Lincoln" I would expect the movie to shed light on the personality of the man. So after seeing it do you feel you have any insight into Lincoln's character and personality?
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

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