I was visiting some sites about the Steven Spielberg film, LINCOLN. Daniel Day Lewis will portray Abraham Lincoln, and Sally Field will play Mary Todd Lincoln.

Some folks are in a stir because Sally Field is 64, and playing a 42 year old first lady.

Age is not always a great concern, nor consideration for stage or film. Throughout the years, actors have often been older than the roles portrayed. Mary Martin was 36 years old when she played a 19yo Nellie Forbush in the 1949 stage production, SOUTH PACIFIC, and 46 when she played a 19yo Maria in the 1959 stage production, SOUND OF MUSIC.  And Glenn Close was 54 years old, and playing a 19yo Nellie Forbush in the 2001 made-for-television movie, SOUTH PACIFIC.

Actress Barbara O’Neil was only three years older than her motion picture daughter, Vivien Leigh, in GONE WITH THE WIND. Ms. O’Neil was 29, playing a 31 year old Ellen O’Hara, and Ms. Leigh was 26, playing a 16 year old, Scarlett O’Hara.

Mary Martin & Cathy Rigby also played the young boy, Peter Pan.

Are the complaining voices also forgetting the magic, and artistry of make-up and lighting which have always done wonders?

Mrs. Lincoln, even at 42yrs, when she entered the White House, looked pretty much the same age as Sally Field at 64.

I am confident that Ms. Field will look age appropriate when the film is released. In the early to mid-1970’s, actress Sada Thompson, best known for the television hit, FAMILY, was Mrs. Lincoln to Hal Holbrook’s President Lincoln. Ms. Thompson possessed the warmth, the class, the fire, and the humor that was a beautiful mix of the troubled first lady.  I found Mary Tyler Moore’s Mary Lincoln in Gore Vidal’s film utterly deplorable. I am fond of Ms. Moore’s work, and guess that the script, based on Mr. Vidal’s description in his novel, grounded MTM’s portrayal in the erratic, one-dimensional role.

My concern?

Will Ms. Field have blue eyes?  Mrs. Lincoln’s eyes were reportedly a violet-blue, shade, and quite striking.

Other than that, I am glad Ms. Field will portray one of my favorite first ladies on the big screen (and later in my DVD collection).

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