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Lost Lincoln Film Discovered! (1924)

February 5, 2023

There were two Lincoln films both produced in 1924: First National (later becoming Warner Brothers) made the feature film “The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln”, starring George Billings. It cost $1M to produce and is now considered a completely lost film. Lee De Forest made a short sound film, “The Life of Abraham Lincoln” starring Frank McGlynn, Sr. recreating the role he had on Broadway in John Drinkwater’s play “Abraham Lincoln”. This film, also apparently lost, survives in a three-minute abridged version recently discovered by Rail Splitter Editor Donald Ackerman. The film clip found by Don is silent and printed on 16mm Agfa Safety Stock lacking an optical sound track. We are thrilled to share it with all our Rail Splitter friends!

[From Wiki: “Abraham Lincoln” (1924) is a short film made in the Phonofilm sound-on-film process. The film was directed by J. Searle Dawley, produced by Lee De Forest, is based on the 1918 play Abraham Lincoln by John Drinkwater, and stars Frank McGlynn Sr. as Lincoln. McGlynn also played Lincoln in the play on Broadway. Although no copies of the film appear to have survived, some photographs have been preserved. In 1923, De Forest and Dawley produced a short Phonofilm, “Lincoln, Man of the People” with Edwin Markham reading his poem of that title. In 1925, De Forest produced a Phonofilm, “Memories of Lincoln” with 91-year-old Chauncey Depew giving his recollections of meeting Lincoln in person.]