Rosanna B. (RosannaB) from CHARLOTTESVLE, VA Reviewed on 3/18/2012...
Well worth watching again for Sam Waterston's excellent portrayal of Lincoln--more human, and also a better politician than the usual depictions. The supporting cast is solid and includes some familiar faces. As for Miss Moore's portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln, the kindest thing I can say is that her character's love for her husband and family was evident. She overacted throughout, and her southern accent came and went (particularly inexcusable since this was filmed in the south, in and near Richmond to be precise). My favorite portrayer of the character remains Julie Harris in "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln". Soon we can compare how Sally Field handles the same role in the upcoming Spielberg LINCOLN.
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A more true picture of Lincoln than some would like to see..
R. Kyle | USA | 01/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"But, more historically correct. Lincoln was a politician. He never set out to free the slaves. He actually offered leading free Blacks the opportunity to take the slaves to a new American colony in South America because he never thought ex-slaves would have a chance. There was corruption in his Administration. First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln probably sold the text of the "State of the Union" address to the New York Times. She also kept 'ghost' employees on the White House payroll to pay for her extravagances in remodeling.
Still, Lincoln was a good man and a good leader, grieved at the state of America. Sam Waterson depicts a man heavily laden with the burdens of a country, constituency, and family that could be enough to break a lesser person's resolve.
Mary Tyler Moore's performance as Mary Todd Lincoln was also good. No one will ever know whether it was mental illness, addiction to morphine, or some other cause that drove her to 'headaches' and spendthrift behavior. Tyler Moore's presentation was of Todd-Lincoln was troubled---and human.
My big complaint about this DVD was the film quality. This looked like a low budget film that was not digitially remastered for DVD. Pity, because this is an excellent depiction of the times and one of our American heroes."
Waterston is the Definitive Modern Lincoln
R. W. Rasband | Heber City, UT | 06/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sam Waterston is a very different Lincoln than the stately, orthodox one of Raymond Massey or even Henry Fonda. This Lincoln is clever, scheming, cynically funny and nakedly ambitious--one who might have a thing or two in common with some well known politicians of the 20th century. You could even call Waterston the first urban Lincoln, under the rail-splitting pretentions. But Waterston never loses sight of Lincoln's tortured, proud but guilt-ridden greatness, and that is the secret of his fine portrayal."
Strong portrait of a different Lincoln
R. Kyle | 12/13/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The TV movie, perhaps predictably, doesn't have all the sardonic bite of Vidal's original novel. But it goes a long way toward breaking out of the Raymond Massey talking-waxwork mold and giving us a Lincoln believable as politician and man, as well as a strong portrait of the intensely political milieu in which he operated. Waterston is excellent-- completely unbound by past portrayals of Lincoln, and even fairly good at making us believe that he's anywhere near Lincoln's height-- and though I think there's a little too much of Mary Todd's personal life and not enough of the Civil War in this miniseries, there's no quibbling with Moore's splendid performance, which beautifully captures the pathos of this sad, unliked woman."
Backstairs in the Lincoln's White House
James Hiller | Beaverton, OR | 02/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Much of Abraham Lincoln's life has been accounted for and reaccounted for a thousand times over. The facts play around in our minds, much without emotional anchors to hold them down. Prolific and outspoken writer Gore vidal penned a "fictional" account of Lincoln in his marvelous book, which a few years later, adapted into a made-for-TV movie. The result, then as now, is an intriguing insights into the personality of the Lincoln family.
The movie starts with Lincoln slinking into Washington DC, for fear of a secessionist uprising in Balitmore, under disguise, for which he was much aligned. Constrasted with Mary's arrival, with hoopla and a thousand suitcases, shows the underlying dichotomy in the famous first couple. Jumping from historical event to historical event, the drama digs a bit deeper into the effects of the events on the family. By the time you've finished the movie, you felt like you've not only have a deeper understanding of the Civil War, but of the Lincolns as well.
Sam Waterson nails, absolutely nails, Lincoln. We see all sides of him. It must have been a daunting role to play. We have solely deified Lincoln, almost erasing his humanity. Waterson brings it back in full force, with all the humor and sadness needed. At first, hearing that Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Todd Lincoln seems like a joke. Who would ever thought that Mary Richards could play someone Hay and Nicolette called "Hell Cat?". But she does. Her decent into madness at the death of Willie is heartbreaking. Richard Mulligan's performance as Sweard is canny, and the ever stalwart Ruby Dee plays Mary Lincoln's dressmaker Mrs. Keckley with all of the sassiness and care required.
I rated this movie four stars, not for content or for acting, but for the DVD transfer. It's simply on the verge of being terrible. The picture quality lacks any quality at all. It appears fuzzy and smoky on my screen quite a bit. As for any special features, forget it. This wasn't ever enough to detract from my enjoyment in watching the show, but this DVD looks like a hack job for sure.
However, Gore Vidal's Lincoln deserves a place in my video library as an interesting examination of a well-known time; well-acted, and tells a great story. I recommend this to anyone wanting an insider's look of a fascinating man and family."
Gore Vidal's "Lincoln"
collecting DVDs | alaska | 01/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am so thankful I ignored the negative reviews!! I loved this mini-series on tv and recorded it on vhs at ep!!! What was I thinking? How to save tape?? I was thrilled to find out it was finally on dvd. But when I read how badly the lighting, sound, etc. was, I was doing some rethinking. Then I thought again. If I enjoyed watching my horrible copy on vhs over and over again, the dvd couldn't possible be any worse. So I did order. And I'm glad I did. The dvd far exceeds my badly taped vhs version. The movie is enjoyable, factual, and unforgettable. Lincoln fans MUST get this dvd!"