I went to see the movie Lincoln last weekend.
I’m looking forward to seeing it again…and again.
Spielberg had already begun to develop the idea of a movie concerning Lincoln, but after attending a luncheon for historians where he met and spoke with Doris Kerns Goodwin he decided to base his project on her book, Team of Rivals, however, the scope of the book…..the scope of Lincoln’s presidency is too large and complex a subject to digest into a movie format.
Here are 13 little tidbits regarding the movie….
2. Other “real” sounds that Lincoln would have heard were used as well. Lincoln often visited St. John’s Episcopal Church after reading the war reports at the telegraph office. He would slip into the church if services were underway and slip out again before the members of the congregation would know the President of the United States had been there. Spielberg’s team recorded the actual sounds of the St. John’s steeple bell as well as the creaking of Lincoln’s pew and the floorboards he would have stepped on.
4. While the debate and voting scenes did take place in the old House chambers at the U.S. Capitol, voting would not have taken place called by state delegations. It would have been done alphabetically. .
5.Also, many of the representatives who voted “NO” on the 13thAmendment are not identified in the movie correctly. As with any congressional vote there are many reasons why a member votes for or against a measure, but Spielberg decided to change the names for fear the men’s families would be embarrassed or suffer undue attention.
I’m not sure how I feel about that….
6. At one instance President Lincoln mentions something about signing the 13th Amendment. That wouldn’t have……shouldn’t have been done. Resolutions are not turned into amendments by the signature of the President. They are passed by both houses of Congress and then ratified by the states. President Lincoln’s signature was NOT needed……..however, in a quirky move he DID. President Lincoln did sign the 13tth Amendment!
You can read about it here
8.During the brief scene at Appomattox General U.S. Grant is shown very clean however, according to the late historian Shelby Foote (loved that man!) in Ken Burn’s Civil War series Grant attended the formal surrender wearing the overcoat of a private and was very muddy.
10.Thankfully the last scenes of Lincoln do not go into great depth regarding the Lincoln assassination. Thankfully….because most Americans are familiar with the events and Spielberg wanted to hit on portions of Lincoln’s administration that viewers might not know as much about. What was included was a scene after Lincoln had been removed from Ford’s Theater and taken across the street to the Peterson house. What the scene portrays, however, is a little inaccurate. Rather than laying in the fetal position as he passed away fully clothed Lincoln was placed on the bed diagonally as the bed couldn’t support his tall frame any other way. Lincoln was also naked under the covers as his clothes were removed so that he could be examined for other possible wounds.
Now…..THAT’S a historical moment!
13.Finally, many critics and friends have stated to me that Daniel Day-Lewis should win the Academy Award for his performance as President Lincoln. I agree. He was fantastic, however, did you know he wasn’t the first choice to portray Lincoln?
You can read some of my other postings concerning President Lincoln listed below: