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directed by John Ford
USA 1939

Few historical figures are as revered as Abraham Lincoln, and few director-star pairings embody classic American cinema as perfectly as do John Ford and Henry Fonda. In Young Mr. Lincoln, their first collaboration, Fonda gives one of the finest performances of his career as the young president-to-be struggling with an incendiary murder case as a novice lawyer. Compassionate and assured, this indelible piece of Americana marks the beginning of Ford and Fonda’s ascent to legendary status.

***

Released only a few months after ”Stagecoach”, and a few months before ”Drums Along the Mohawk”, this really isn’t a Western as such, but more a footnote film on what shaped the mind of the young Abraham Lincoln, who in turns would become one of the greatest American presidents.

Given an icy review by Variety, especially for its lack of any romantic interest, Ford tells the story of the simple farmer, who by chance comes across a book about law and after reading it goes to town and becomes a lawyer. He may not understand law, but he understands what’s wrong and what’s right, and more than that, the understands people.

Eisenstein said, “Its source is a womb of popular and national spirit”, and as “Drums Along the Mohawk”, “Young Mr. Lincoln” notes upon the birth of America. As such, “Drums Along the Mohawk” can be read as one nation under god, and “Young Mr. Lincoln” continues with liberty and justice for all.

The film may be contrived, but this is a film coming straight from the heart of Ford, with a superb performance by Henry Fonda as Lincoln. A must see.

 

Henrik Sylow

Poster

Theatrical Release: May 20, 1939 (Springfield, Illinois)

Reviews                                                                 More Reviews                                                          DVD Reviews

 

Comparison: 

Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

NOTE: Criterion's first disc is in The Ford at Fox Collection (the exact same disc).

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the PAL DVD Review!

1) Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Cover

 

The EXACT first Criterion disc is also available in The complete Ford at Fox Collection (DETAILS HERE) releasing December 4th, 2007.

Distribution

Optimum Classics

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 320

Region 1 - NTSC

Criterion Collection (spine #320)
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:35:45 (4% PAL speedup) 1:40:03 1:40:14.717

Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.86 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,595,816,213 bytes

Feature: 29,783,666,688 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.25 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: Optimum

Bitrate: Criterion

Bitrate: Criterion Blu-ray

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles None English, None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Optimum Classics

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect ratio - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: February 21, 2005
Keep case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect ratio - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• A 1992 BBC profile of John Ford, written and presented by filmmaker Lindsay Anderson
• A 1975 episode of the BBC talk show Parkinson, featuring Henry Fonda
• Archival audio interviews with Ford and Fonda, conducted by the filmmaker’s grandson Dan Ford
• Academy Award Theater radio dramatization of Young Mr. Lincoln, downloadable as an MP3 file
• Gallery of production documents
• A 32-page liner notes booklet featuring critic Geoffrey O’Brien and Sergei Eisenstein’s homage to Ford

DVD Release Date: February 14th, 2006
Double thick keep case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

 

Aspect Ratio:

1.37:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,595,816,213 bytes

Feature: 29,783,666,688 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.25 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
New audio commentary featuring film scholar Joseph McBride (Searching for John Ford: A Life)
Omnibus: “John Ford,” part one: filmmaker Lindsay Anderson’s profile of the life and work of director John Ford before World War II (42:21)
Talk show appearance by actor Henry Fonda from 1975 (49:07
Audio interviews from the seventies with Ford (7:48) and Fonda (4:51), conducted by the director’s grandson Dan Ford
Academy Award radio dramatization of the film (30:16)
PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and an homage to Ford by filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein
 

Blu-ray  Release Date: January 9th, 2018
Transparent 
Blu-ray Case
 
Chapters:
23

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray November 2017: The Criterion is from a "New 4K digital restoration" and it offers a new commentary. The 1080P looks great on my system. Contrast is sublime and the image exports pleasing detail and plenty of depth along with fine grain textures. It's brighter and shows more information in the frame (mostly on the bottom and right edges) and is in the correct 1.37:1 aspect ratio. Very film-like and probably won't look any better than this.

Criterion go linear PCM mono (24-bit) and the Alfred Newman (Panic in the Streets,  Man Hunt, Cry of the City, The Diary of Anne Frank, Bus Stop, Blood and Sand, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Song of Bernadette) score sounds tight with depth - noble, uplifting yet restrained. It's beautiful. There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'A'-locked Blu-ray.

Along with the same extras from the older Criterion DVD we get a new audio commentary featuring film scholar Joseph McBride (Searching for John Ford: A Life) and he talks, mostly about Ford, but the cast and crew. It's good if a little dry. The 3/4 hour Omnibus: “John Ford,” part one which has filmmaker Lindsay Anderson’s profile of the life and work of director John Ford before World War II, a talk show named Parkinson has an appearance by actor Henry Fonda from 1975 for almost 50minutes, audio-only interviews from the seventies with Ford and Fonda conducted by the director’s grandson Dan Ford and the Academy Award radio dramatization of the film plus the package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and an homage to Ford by filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein.

Great film - as McBride tells us - one Ford's best. It's such a beautiful transfer and engaging bio-pic. I loved my viewing - our strongest recommendation. 

***

ADDITION: The Ford at Fox Collection - November 07: How about this. The disc in the Ford at Fox Collection IS the Criterion disc 1 (and is even labeled as such). I suppose Fox decided not to compete with the strength or Criterion's digital restoration techniques. It's a shame that the second disc of extras is not included though.

ABOUT THE CRITERION: As expected the Criterion eclipses the competition (a bare bones DVD5 when in the The Ford at Fox Collection) by improving drastically in every area. Image quality is stupendous with pristine grey level separation and wonderful detail. Extras on the second disc are a real 'find' for both Ford and Fonda fans. The booklets is very professionally appointed and the only thing missing is a commentary for the feature. Overall another must-own DVD package from the greatest DVD production company on the planet. 

 - Gary Tooze  

RE: The Optimum - Sadly the image lacks sharpness in details, as it besides this is an almost flawless and very impressive presentation. Blacks are solid and it just looks acceptable aside from the haziness.

 - Henrik Sylow


DVD Menus


(Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC RIGHT)

 

 

Criterion (Disc 2)

 

Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample (only Criterions have optional subtitles)

 

1) Criterion Collection  - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Optimum Classics (Western Classics) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE

3) Criterion Collection - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

Box Cover

 

The EXACT first Criterion disc is also available in The complete Ford at Fox Collection (DETAILS HERE) releasing December 4th, 2007.

Distribution

Optimum Classics

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 320

Region 1 - NTSC

Criterion Collection (spine #320)
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray



 

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