THE BIRTH OF A NATION 1930 Sound with Trailer
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(Jan 18, 2016)
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starring Lillian Gish, Henry B. Walthall, Mae Marsh, George Siegmann, Miriam Cooper and Walter Long. Directed by D.W.Griffith. Photographed by G.W. Bitzer. In the entire history of the motion picture, no single film has been more praised and condemned than D.W. Griffith's masterpiece, The Birth of a Nation. Praised for its innovation, it's masterful direction and its powerful depiction of the American Civil War and its aftermath. Condemned for its brutal and cruel depiction of African Americans - portrayed mostly by whites in blackface - and for its glorification of the Ku Klux Klan. It is also widely believed that The Birth of a Nation was directly responsible for the sudden re-birth of the long dormant Klan.
Regardless of opinion, the effects of The Birth of a Nation on American film cannot be denied. So incredibly successful that the income it generated was beyond calculation. It made instant moguls of its investors and many Hollywood studios were built opon the profits. The Birth of a Nation forever changed the landscape of the motion picture industry.
This version, running just under two hours, is the very rare 1930 sound re-issue with music and effects personally supervised by Griffith. The DVD also contains a rare sound re-issue trailer.
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As historical cinema, Griffith boldly used film in a manner that seems decades ahead of the rest of the film industry, not until Gone With the Wind do you see another movie that attempts to take on history as subject matter so grandly and powerfully as this one.
And, even more than Gone With the Wind, it was a movie about history that shaped history and made history. It was a movie that caused lynching and rioting around the country, and its glorification of the Klan propelled the resurgence of the KKK in the late teens and 20s of the last century.
Through the spectrum of 80 plus years, we can see the racism and fiction and the lies that are twisted into this story. But the visuals are powerful and well done, even by today's technical standards - one can imagine the stir they were in the 19teens, sort of like a Stars Wars, Godfather 1&2, Patton and Dirty Dozen rolled into one grand flick of the times.
It is Amerikkka's "Triumph of the Will", unintentional propaganda, but powerful propaganda nonetheless.
Like "Triumph", beautiful. And horrible.