Friday, February 26, 2010

Abraham Lincoln in Fiction and... Fiction

 An interesting duality last night as Netflix brought John Ford's "Young Mr. Lincoln" and Mike Mignola's "The Amazing Screw-On Head". Ford's movie is a highly fictional account of one of Lincoln's first cases and is a classic film. Henry Fonda is made to look like Lincoln in many ways and it is a tour-de-force for him. Screw-On Head is one of the craziest things I've seen in awhile. Mignola is the genius behind Hellboy - this apparently was a one-shot comic featuring a secret agent robot that worked under Abraham Lincoln. It is crazy and hilarious - Mignola states in the Making of feature that he won't be doing more stories about Screw-On Head - what else was there to do?

There are no two films that could be more different - except for the fact that Abraham Lincoln is in both. And the character - as you would expect - is remarkably similar in both. Perhaps the best-regarded President in American history, the quiet man who makes hard though utterly human decisions, may be the myth of Lincoln. Having Lincoln in the craziness that is "Screw-On Head" grounds the narrative and lends it a gravitas that can only help such a spinning tale. John Ford focuses on the same - Fonda's Lincoln is deliberate, magnetic on-screen as his slow, reasoned actions lead to quiet mobs and correct decisions.

There often seems to be a disconnect that leads to high and low culture, academia and popular, that too often simply shows one side's ignorance of the other. Watch these two in tandem and let it all mix up together.

1 comment:

Joe Muszynski said...
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