Charles Henry Parkhurst defended the film from charges of racism.
In terms of its sheer length and scale—the film is three hours long and features a cast of hundreds—The Birth of a Nation far surpassed all earlier films, changing forever a medium in which viewers were accustomed to seeing one- or two-reel films of between fifteen and thirty minutes.
In creating this film, Griffith essentially invented the concept of the feature motion picture. From beginning to end, the film is pervaded by the belief that African Americans are less human than Anglo-Americans.
In this respect, the film has no gray area: The challenge for viewers and film historians alike has been how to approach this film that combines such stunning and innovative artistry with such noxious political and moral ideas. Often, film historians portray the golden age of early cinema with nostalgia, so the blatant racism in this landmark film often comes as a shock to students of film when they first encounter it.
Above all, students are left wondering about the nature of this gifted producer and director who seems to be so forward-looking and so backward at the same time. Having grown up poor, Griffith forewent a complete education to help his family make ends meet.
Nonetheless, he read widely, immersing himself in a romantic vision of the prewar South, aided in part by the nostalgic stories of bitter relatives who were hampered by Reconstruction-era policies.
Griffith, having fallen in love with Victorian authors and the work of the great Romantic Sir Walter Scott, who glorified the values of nobility and chivalry, decided to become a writer himself.
After assisting his family, Griffith kicked around the country as a bit actor, living in squalor and working odd jobs. His tall, strong, good looks helped him win parts, despite his lack of training as an actor. During his acting career, Griffith dreamed of becoming a playwright rather than a filmmaker.
Nickelodeons—the earliest movie theaters—were generally associated with the grubby alleys where recent immigrants were forced to live. Racists and city-fearers thought of films as subhuman, cheap entertainment. Griffith was soon able to obtain a position as a director because of his work ethic and evident facility with the new medium.
Thereafter, he churned out one- and two-reelers at a phenomenal rate. ByGriffith had directed at least one- and two-reelers for Biograph, saving the company from financial ruin. Throughout this time, he pushed constantly for longer films with more complex stories.
But the merger of two film companies, Mutual and Reliance-Majestic, opened up a position with more responsibility for Griffith in the developing California film industry based in Hollywood.
At the time, short films carried no directorial credits, so few outside the industry knew of Griffith. Griffith rectified the situation by buying a full-page ad in the New York Dramatic Mirror listing over of the films he had directed, declaring himself a genius in the new medium.
Eventually, Griffith and film producer Harry Aitken created a new company, Epoch, solely for the production and distribution of their newest project, The Birth of a Nation. Most of the shooting was done in secret with no complete script, and the film cost eleven times more than any conventional film produced thus far.
David Wark (D.W.) Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation () is perhaps the most influential film in the history of American cinema. D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation Years Later: Still Great, Still Shameful A poster for D.W. Griffith's drama 'The Birth of a Nation'. Movie Poster Image Art / Getty Images. By going back to the original archives, particularly the NAACP and D. W. Griffith Papers, Stokes explodes many of the myths surrounding The Birth of a Nation (). Yet the story that remains is fascinating: the longest American film of its time, Griffith's film incorporated many new features, including the first full musical score compiled for an American vetconnexx.coms: 6.
Based on the play The Clansman by the Reverend Thomas Dixon, a Baptist minister in North Carolina, The Birth of a Nation interwove complex narratives with fifteen times as many shots as the longest films from that era.
The Birth of a Nation took fifteen weeks to rehearse and shoot and three months to edit, whereas just a few years earlier, Griffith was cranking out at least one film a week.
The film contributed to the revival of a much stronger, more modern Ku Klux Klan, which had effectively dissolved in The Birth of a Nation toured the world, meeting with riots and protests in some cities, while some states prohibited screenings.
The NAACP, having formed only inmobilized its forces in protests and pointed letter-writing campaigns. They were assisted by prominent liberals, such as activist Jane Addams, as well as by several Ivy League presidents.
Indeed, protestors succeeded in forcing two of the most atrocious scenes to be cut. The film touched a nerve, splitting America apart by tapping into deep wounds that had never healed and exposing unspoken prejudices to a surprising extent.Oct 01, · The Birth of a Nation Scene from The Birth of a Nation (), directed by D.W.
The Birth of a Nation (originally called The Clansman) is a American silent epic drama film directed and co-produced by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish. The screenplay is adapted from the novel and play The Clansman, both by Thomas Dixon Jr., as well as Dixon's novel The Leopard's Spots. By going back to the original archives, particularly the NAACP and D. W. Griffith Papers, Stokes explodes many of the myths surrounding The Birth of a Nation (). Yet the story that remains is fascinating: the longest American film of its time, Griffith's film incorporated many new features, including the first full musical score compiled for an American vetconnexx.coms: 6. David Wark (D.W.) Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation () is perhaps the most influential film in the history of American cinema.
David W. Griffith Corporation Director D.W. Griffith revolutionized the young art of moviemaking with his big-budget ($,) and artistically ambitious re-creation of the Civil War years.
Video: The Birth of a Nation: Movie Summary & Explanation The Birth of a Nation () is a silent epic film that charts the course of two families through the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction. D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation Years Later: Still Great, Still Shameful A poster for D.W.
Griffith's drama 'The Birth of a Nation'. Movie Poster Image Art / Getty Images. David Wark (D.W.) Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation () is perhaps the most influential film in the history of American cinema. Griffith’s film is an epic demonstration of the developing “language” of cinema, so assured and complete that in some ways films have changed very little in the ninety years since The Birth of a Nation ’s release.
The Birth of a Nation / Analysis ; The Birth of a Nation is a strange title for this movie when you think about it. It's not like it's about the Revolutionary War or anything.
all is right in the world as it exists inside D.W. Griffith's racist little head. This leads our two main couples—Ben + Elsie and Phil + Margaret (or Be. D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Mankind, engaging in war, driven by whatever instincts guide him, seeks to keep the defeats and victories of battle in his memory and on his conscience.
To accomplish this men have used paint and canvas, ink and paper, or instrument and song in their effort to communicate the tragedy and glory of war.