Lincoln at Last

Finally got around to watching Lincoln.  Not quite as engaging as I’d hoped; Day-Lewis’ voice was a treat, but I felt he missed Lincoln’s physicality – every picture of him shows a man with good posture and a strong chest, not a caving-in, slump-shouldered man.  Tommy Lee Jones, though, stole every scene he was in.  I suggest a sequel (or prequel – I’m not fussy) called Stevens.


via Lincoln 2012 – Trivia – IMDb.

Stevens’ Wit

I’m rehashing the Thaddeus Stevens links I shilled earlier on the blog, but fans of Lincoln’s wit will enjoy this particular article.  Lincoln wasn’t the only one in his day with a sharp tongue.

When he served as a lawyer in Gettysburg, Stevens greeted an adverse judicial decision by shuffling papers and grumbling loudly. The judge said he could fine Stevens for “manifesting contempt of court.”

“Manifesting contempt of court, your Honor?” exclaimed Stevens. “Sir, I am doing my best to conceal it.”

I was particularly gratified to see this quote, which I’ve long known but been unable to attribute. It’s positively Shavian:

Stevens did not like all Republicans, however. He thought poorly of fellow Lancastrian Simon Cameron. He told Abraham Lincoln to watch out for Cameron after the president made him Secretary of War.

Lincoln protested: “You don’t mean to say you think that Cameron would steal?”

“No,” said Stevens, “I don’t think he would steal a red-hot stove.”

The remark got back to Cameron, who demanded a retraction.

So Stevens went to Lincoln and offered this “retraction”: “I believe I told you he would not steal a red-hot stove. I will now take that back.”

via Caustic wit: Anecdotes of Stevens’ sarcasm are abundant – News.

More Thad Time

Thanks to this series by Lancaster Online, I can now pick Thad Stevens out of a lineup.  The Pennsylvania online journal has offered a string of terrific short articles about the native son Senator. If you enjoy them as much as I did, be sure not to miss those on the second page – the button to click through is very small and easy to miss.

Uncommon attention: Revisiting Thaddeus Stevens –

Thaddeus Stevens on Screen

Thaddeus Stevens is one of those names of which I know a fair bit, but whose image is always a surprise to me. I wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a lineup, but his onscreen portrayer, Tommy Lee Jones’ wig anecdote might help in future.

“All I knew of Thaddeus Stevens was what an attentive student of American history would have learned in high school or college,” he said. “He was a radical Republican abolitionist with a very severe outlook on Reconstruction,” arguing that the postwar South should be punished like conquered provinces where constitutional restraints would not apply.

What Jones didn’t know was that Stevens had a club foot, lost all his hair and wore a wig cut the same way all around so he wouldn’t have to waste time locating the front. Jones called wearing his impressive toupee just “one of the vicissitudes of acting.”

via In ‘Lincoln,’ Jones found full package.