At the Core of Things: Lincoln vs. Argo

By Jennifer Speer

And so, Argo took the big cake. After all of the hum and buzz and wonder, we have our winners.

President Lincoln and Family. This is the only engraving taken from the works of F. Schell, Painter, from the private collection of Carl and Sandra Crabb. Painted by F. Schell. Published by John Dainty, Philadelphia.  Engraved by A. B. Walter.  Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1865 by John Dainty in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

President Lincoln and Family. This is the only engraving taken from the works of F. Schell, Painter, from the private collection of Carl and Sandra Crabb.
Painted by F. Schell.
Published by John Dainty, Philadelphia.
Engraved by A. B. Walter.
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1865 by John Dainty in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Daniel Day-Lewis’ face was priceless as he won for Lincoln, and I was glad to see it. Well played, sir. Your transformation was extraordinary. Only a certain kind of man can play a certain kind of man.

Lincoln was regarded to be an “everyman,” but as Mrs. Sandra Crabb, who happens to have an absolutely fascinating Lincoln collection, points out, he is really more of an “only man” … the only one of his kind whose influence so completely swept our nation. Her collection ranges from authentic articles and etchings and bits of history that few see in one place, and a recent photograph was featured in the paper from that very collection. An etching of Lincoln with his entire family, and a photograph of Willy included on the wall. What was so unusual about that moment in time was that Lincoln never posed with his entire family again after Willy’s death … so mystery surrounds the creation and sitting for this curious and unique piece of historical art.

In my discussion with her about Lincoln, Argo, and their individual merits, I learned a great deal about Lincoln I didn’t realize. More than I can share with you here in one short article; but, I wonder, do you realize how he stood by his principals in a way few do? Does the movie accurately portray the way he lived his entire life bound by these principals, not just during that crucial political time? He truly believed in freedom and equality, and wanted our country to be honest about what that meant.

A Lincoln scholar herself, Sandra Crabb has a soft spot for our former president. How do you not have a soft spot for one of the greatest leaders in the history of man? It’s like being on the ultimate winning team – the perfect swish – the touchdown that sends the crowd roaring and the arena charging with positive we-can-do-anything energy. He’s that guy.

How do you compare a film that poignantly captured a man so influential that our country is forever changed by his existence? Is it possible to compare it to anything, really? Should movies so inherently different at the core be lined up against each other in a way that comparing them potentially hurts the film rather than highlights its strengths?

Sorry, Argo. You are loved, and definitely deserve the recognition and awards for your creativity and vision, but there’s something that stirs something so deeply in the message from Lincoln, that somehow, it just can’t compare.

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