Thursday, September 17, 2009

05. INTOLERANCE (1916)

Running Time: 148 minutes
Directed By: D.W. Griffith
Written By: Tod Browning, D.W. Griffith
Main Cast: Mae Marsh, Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Constance Talmadge, Gino Corrado, Douglas Fairbanks

Quick side note: The version I watched of this film, which was a rental copy from Netflix, was only 148 minutes. In doing some research, I find that the film is actually nearly 180 minutes, and even the small slip cover that comes with all Netflix movies lists Intolerance as "2 hours, 58 minutes". So I'm not entirely sure about the whole versions, and different lengths thing, but this is the one I watched and I'm not watching it again. So there...


I'll say right off the bat, that it doesn't look like I'm gonna be buying any D.W. Griffith box sets anytime soon. These incredibly long, incredibly slow silent films are taking their toll on me and thank God my next film is just a little over an hour.

So, Intolerance weaves the tales of four stories, from different periods of time, together to show love's struggle throughout the ages. We get a modern tale, a tale set during the last years of Christ, a tale from ancient Babylon and a tale set around the time of the St. Bartholomew's massacre.

The one that I found the most interesting was the modern tale, which tells the story of a young girl falling in love with "The Boy" and having a baby, only to see her baby taken away from her, for suspected neglect and her husband framed for a murder he did not commit. The story ends with the girl racing towards the train which carries the governor and begging him to pardon her husband, who is only seconds away from the noose.

I also found the Jesus Christ story quite interesting, and at least something that was recognizable, as we are treated to screen depictions of Jesus turning water into wine, and the "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone" ordeal, before he's taken away and crucified. My only beef with the Jesus story, is that there wasn't enough of it. The modern tale took up most of the movie length and the Babylon story followed shortly behind.

Basically, in a nutshell, I didn't care for Intolerance. I found it to be very boring (much like Griffith's previous, "The Birth of A Nation") and very hard to sit through. Now, hey, I'm all for giving the guy his credit and slapping him with the title "landmark filmmaker", and I respect him and all that jazz, but I'm sorry...the guy's movie's are just so hard to sit through and when you're done all you wanna do is go to bed and sleep, because they just sap your energy to sit through them.

So there, I've said it, and call me Mr. Unknowledgeable Film Man, for shooting down Griffith's work, I don't care. I know there's much better movies out there, and much more enjoyable ones.

If I had to say one positive thing about this flick, it's that it was quite grand for it's time. It had absolutely spectacular sets, great costumes and with over 3,000 extras, I thought it was quite a feat for 1916.

RATING: 3/10 I went ahead and just sat it right beside the Birth of a Nation on the ratings scale.

NEXT UP: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari...Who directed it? Robert Wiene? Hey, that's not Griffith, so we're all good!

September 17, 2009 1:59pm


  1. Hey Bro!

    Went through and read all of your entries to date. I know it always helps if when doing a blog, someone stops in just to let you know you haven't simply been tickling the keyboard for two hours.



    You're doing a great job of being informative, putting your own spin on things, and doing entertaining entries!

    Keep it up, man... I'll be stopping back!

  2. Truly not a Griffith fan at this point huh? Well hopefully he does better. You are doing a great job keep it up!


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