The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, July 1-7

07/01/2015 8:00 AM |

Fonda, Henry (Young Mr. Lincoln)

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
Directed by John Ford
Having already made Abraham Lincoln a doddering and disappointed god in his silent epic The Iron Horse, Ford turned to Abe’s wide-eyed lawyering days. Henry Fonda dons the stovepipe hat of a feeble Great Emancipator, embodying both the folksy legend and the frequent inner turmoil of the man behind it. Most of the screenplay, delivered in aw-shucks Midwestern drawl, relates bumbling aphorisms to American ideology, as if rewriting Plato’s Republic in a small Illinois courtroom. By the end, the country lawyer shtick recedes to dim shots of Ford’s icon marching off alone to “The Battle Hymn of the Old Republic,” a little too tall and a little too proud. Zach Lewis (July 3, 7pm at the Museum of the Moving Image’s “Essential John Ford”)