ENTERTAINMENT
09/14/2012 09:20 am ET

'Lincoln' Voice: Daniel Day-Lewis' Acting Choice Raises Some Eyebrows

According to historians, Abraham Lincoln's voice was not the deep baritone many imagine; it was actually often described as high-pitched.

"Lincoln’s voice, as far as period descriptions go, was a little shriller, a little higher,” Harold Holzer, a Lincoln historian, told The Smithsonian last year.

"He often was so nervous at the beginning, he would almost shift up into a falsetto before he settled himself," Ronald C. White Jr., author of A. Lincoln: A Biography, told the Los Angeles Times in 2009. White later added that the best of the Lincoln impersonators speak "as if they're from rural Indiana, rural Kentucky."

All of which is to say that Daniel Day-Lewis' take on Abraham Lincoln's voice in the new trailer for "Lincoln" seems pretty accurate according to history. Not that movie watchers in 2012 are totally pleased with his attention to detail.

"I still don't like the sound of Daniel Day Lewis's Lincoln voice," wrote Hollywood Elsewhere blogger Jeffrey Wells. "I almost hate it, in a way. It's flat, undistinctive, unimpressive, Matthew Modine-ish. (And that's not a putdown of Modine.) It's hard to describe what I was looking to hear, but this isn't it. And I dearly love the voices that Lewis has given us over the years. The fault, of course, is [Steven] Spielberg's -- he didn't push hard enough, he let well enough alone."

Wells later added that, pitch aside, the tone of Lewis' voice wasn't strong enough.

"It just doesn't sound right. Lewis' Lincoln sounds like ... I don't know but maybe like a freshman U.S. Senator from Ohio or something."

Wells' displeasure was echoed by many commenters on the Indiewire blog The Playlist. "Dat voice!" wrote one. Another compared Lewis' Lincoln with Truman Capote.

Written by Tony Kushner, "Lincoln" stars Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones (Tommy Lee Jones' wig), Lee Pace, Hal Holbrook, Jackie Earle Haley, David Strathairn and "Girls" star Adam Driver. Watch the trailer above to check out Lewis' Lincoln voice, and leave your thoughts on his interpretation in the comments section below.

"Lincoln" is out in limited release on Nov. 9.

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