Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916) Poster

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Excellent Historical Perspective
Lechuguilla8 March 2005
This silent film by director D.W. Griffith is well known to serious movie buffs and historians, but not to today's general public. I doubt that a lot of people these days would have the patience to sit through a film that contained three hours of silence. Nevertheless, the film's technical innovations inspired filmmakers in the 1920's and later, particularly in Russia and Japan. It also inspired filmmakers in the U.S., including Cecil B. DeMille and King Vidor. For this reason, and for other reasons, "Intolerance" is an important film.

The film's four interwoven stories, set in four different historical eras, are tied together thematically by the subject of "intolerance", a word which could be accurately interpreted today as "oppression", "injustice", "hate", "violence", and mankind's general inhumanity.

Griffith's narrative structure, though innovative, is uneven, because he gives more screen time to two of the four stories (the "modern" and the "Babylonian"). Equal time for three stories, thus deleting the fourth, might have worked better.

To me, the Babylonian story is the most interesting one because of its more complete coverage, and because of its elaborate costumes and spectacular sets. Even though there is no script, the viewer can easily discern the plot, which suggests that some of today's films might be just as effective, or more so, if screenwriters would downsize the dialogue.

What "Intolerance" offers most of all to contemporary viewers is a sense of perspective. Someone once said that despite the enormous advances in technology, society itself has advanced not at all. That may be true. In the eighty plus years since the film was released, technical advances in film-making have been obvious and impressive. But we are still plagued with the same old human demons of oppression, injustice, hate, violence, and ... intolerance.
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Fascinating - Even Its Flaws Are Interesting
Snow Leopard7 November 2002
Everything about this movie is fascinating, even its numerous flaws. It is as ambitious a movie as has ever been made, and if you adjust for the era, it might also be the most lavish, expensive, and painstaking. Even today the scope and detail stand out, despite the many technical limitations in its era. Likewise, the enormous cast list contains many names that silent film fans will recognize at once, with well-known performers even in some of the minor roles. Then, you could write many pages about the stories, which are filled with weaknesses, but which are also so interesting that you never want to miss what will happen next.

The concept behind "Intolerance" is as enterprising as it gets: no fewer than four complete, independent story-lines, with the movie switching back-and-forth among them, not necessarily in consecutive order but with a definite plan in mind, all in order to get across the idea suggested by the title - that is, that intolerance of others' beliefs or lifestyles has been a destructive force throughout history. It is generally understood that there is a strong dose of defensiveness behind this plan, since the ideas promoted in Griffith's previous film had earned for him some severe and well-justified criticism. This personal motivation could well explain why "Intolerance" is often so overblown, and it also is interesting in light of the stories chosen to illustrate the main themes.

The two most straightforward stories - the persecution of the Huguenots in 16th century France, and the persecution of Jesus Christ by the religious leaders of his day - are also the most believable, and yet they do not seem to get quite the screen time or the lavish detail of the other two. The contemporary story may have been the most important to Griffith, and it is a full-scale melodrama, full of heavy-handed developments and very unlikely coincidences, yet certainly a story that will hold your attention. The Babylonian story is at once the strangest choice, the most extravagant, and the most fascinating of all. As history, it is as distorted as (or more so than) any of today's movies. Trying to pass off Belshazzar of Babylon as a model of justice and tolerance is just weird, and the entire historical scenario is at best an imaginative embellishment of the truth. But the involved story that Griffith tells in this setting is so exciting and entertaining that you just can't take your eyes away from it.

Much, much more could be said, but anyone with an interest in silent movies or in cinema history will want to watch it and draw his or her own conclusions. Whether you want to analyze the vast array of themes, events, and ideas, or whether you just want to sit back and enjoy a fascinating spectacle, the three hours fly by very quickly, and it's a movie you won't forget.
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10/10
Possibly the Greatest Film of All Time
drednm2 November 2005
This mammoth production and DW Griffith's 1916 masterpiece was his followup to The Birth of a Nation. Intolerance blends 4 stories of historical intolerance as a warning against the current-day evils of war. The French and Judean stories are OK. The Babylonian and Modern stories are spectacular. Where Griffith experimented with closeups and intercutting stories in Birth of a Nation, these techniques are mastered in Intolerance. Griffith also continues his incredible eye for composition and scenery and costumes in this epic film.

The sets and costumes for the Babylonian story are among the best in film history. And the battle scenes equal anything in Birth of a Nation. Griffith's Babylonian set is so huge it allows for horse-drawn chariots to ride side by side on the road at the top of the towering walls. The camera shot that shows the chariots and the battle many stories below is astounding. There is also the famous camera shot that slowly moves closer and closer the the city steps and gates where hundreds of dancers perform a pagan production number. Just amazing.

The emotional oomph of this film comes from the modern story where a young couple living in a tenement apartment almost gets destroyed by society do-gooders. The intercutting of scenes here is masterful as the rescuers race to save the hero who is about to be hanged. Melodrama to be sure, but in a form never seen before 1916.

And as usual Griffith assembles a terrific cast and elicits great performances from many of them.

Constance Talmadge plays the cinema's first feminist heroine as the Mountain Girl in the Babylonian story. She's wonderful as the saucy girl who eats onions while on the block to be sold as a slave. As the men come near to examine her (she's dressed in a pelt) she shakes her onions at them and kicks at them. Hilarious. The story is complicated but she overhears a plot to attack the city and the ruler (who set her free) she adores. Great scenes of Talmadge racing a chariot through the desert. Great battle scenes that are unforgettable. Great orgy scenes. This is just a wonderful story that is so eye-filling, you have to watch it several times to take everything in.

The modern story boasts a perfect performance by Mae Marsh as the "Dear One." Robert Harron is the husband, and Miriam Cooper (very underrated) is the "bad girl." One of the most harrowing scenes I can remember is when the "do-gooders" (headed by Vera Lewis) come to take Marsh's baby after Harron is falsely arrest for murder. Marsh is so realistic in this frenzied scene that your heart just stops. Harron is also excellent as the hapless boy who gets framed for murder. The editing of this arc of the film sets the standard for decades to come.

Intolerance must be seen by any serious film buff. It's a long film but is unforgettable. The cast list is impressive and includes the above-mentioned Constance Talmadge, Mae Marsh, Robert Harron, Miriam Cooper, Lillian Gish, Vera Lewis, Ralph Lewis, Douglas Fairbanks, Bessie Love, Wallace Reid, Elmo Lincoln, Elmer Clifton, Mary Alden, Constance Collier, Carmel Myers, Erich von Stroheim, Donald Crisp, Carol Dempster, Marguerite Marsh, Tully Marshall, Natalie Talmadge, Alma Rubens, Seena Owen, Margery Wilson, Eugene Palette, Ethel Grey Terry, Owen Moore, Alfred Paget, Joseph Henabery, Josephine Crowell, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Mildred Harris, Walter Long, Sam De Grasse, Monte Blue, Kate Bruce, Nigel De Brulier, Pauline Starke, Lillian Langdon, and future directors King Vidor, Frank Borzage, and Tod Browning!
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10/10
Monumental Failure
Cineanalyst19 August 2005
"Intolerance" is D.W. Griffith's apologia for "The Birth of a Nation" mostly in that it surpasses its predecessor's epic scale, thus replying to his critics. "The Birth of a Nation" was a racist film, and nothing in "Intolerance" proves otherwise, but I don't think that's the point, either. And, while Griffith calls his critics hypocrites, it's just as easy to call Griffith one for his racism. Yet, I have no disagreement that his films are art despite their messages. "Intolerance" contains much more agreeable views than "The Birth of a Nation", anyhow: Christian pacifism; support of labor; moderated progressivism; and condemnation of intolerance, hatred and inhumanity throughout the ages.

The narrative structure of "Intolerance" was revolutionary and particularly surprising for a filmmaker who had cemented in cinema a traditional and theatrical form of linear storytelling with his previous work. In "Home, Sweet Home" (1914), Griffith linked four separate stories with a single theme, but with each story told in full before proceeding to the next. With "Intolerance", he employed parallel editing, thus continually crosscutting between time, suspending plots and commenting on stories with other stories, and I think it's ingeniously congruent considering the stories are supposed to run parallel in their morals, or messages on the general theme of intolerance.

The four stories include a modern story, which features a fictional representation of the Ludlow massacre of strikers and a progressive era foundation of busybody reformers that indirectly causes the massacre and directly applies suffering on the central characters. It was originally intended as a complete film in itself and was later released as such under the title "The Mother and the Law". Then, there's the Babylonian story, which was also released by itself, as "The Fall of Babylon". It almost seems to be more likely to have been directed by Cecil B. DeMille than by D.W. Griffith, for all its sex and exotic set design against a historical setting. A contemporary of Griffith, however, DeMille had not yet figured out that formula and may well have been thinking of the Babylonian sequences in "Intolerance" when he did; one of his early pictures and first attempts at an epic, "Joan the Woman" (1917), does demonstrate Griffith's influence on him. Additionally, the sequence features the best performance in the film by ingénue Constance Talmadge as the "Mountain Girl". She, too, seems out of place in a Griffith production, with her sexuality, impropriety and independence. The lesser stories of Christ's life and his crucifixion and the events leading up to the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre aren't especially interesting in themselves, as many have panned. Yet, I don't think that's essential, as they don't stand by themselves, but are part of a whole where they comment on and run parallel to each other and the other narratives.

The stories are connected by explanatory, as well as moralizing and poetical, intertitles and by glimpses of Lillian Gish endlessly rocking the cradle (taken from Walt Whitman). Reportedly, tinting also separated the stories upon initial release. Nearing the climax, however, these separations and transitions evaporate for an ever more merging and rapider plot. "Intolerance" is the apex of Griffith's innovations and developments in editing--the culmination of his achievements in "The Birth of a Nation" and his last-minute-rescue pictures and other Biograph shorts. Along the way, it was usually James and Rose Smith who aided him in the editing room. Doubtless, these achievements, especially in "Intolerance", greatly influenced the Soviet and European montage filmmakers, as well as subsequent filmmaking in general.

With the astounding success of "The Birth of a Nation", Griffith had the opportunity to make almost any film he wanted, and with "Intolerance" having cost nearly $400,000 to make, he did. (The some $100,000 budget for "The Birth of a Nation" had been unheard of in Hollywood.) The film's failure financially ruined Triangle Studios and considerably altered and limited Griffith's filmmaking career from thereon. As "The Birth of a Nation" demonstrated to Hollywood and the world how profitable and popular cinema could be, "Intolerance" told another important lesson on the risks and limitations involved.

Consuming much of the film's budget were Walter L. Hall's Babylon sets, and they are spectacular. They're also surprisingly imaginative and elaborate for D.W. Griffith, whose stagy, open-air sets in previous productions were generally unremarkable--besides those in "Judith of Bethulia" (1914), which pale in comparison. The influence of "Cabiria" (1914) is very evident, but where that film failed to equal the brilliance of its sets with the filming of them, "Intolerance" succeeds. The legendary crane shots are standouts.

Throughout the film, cinematographer "Billy" Bitzer masks the camera lens--more extensively than ever before--creating iris shots, a moving iris shot within a stationary shot and small-scale widescreen effects. Griffith and Bitzer are very much in control of the images, establishing us as spectators. The Babylonian scenes where characters look down at miniatures of the city, I think, also add to this emphasis. And, "Intolerance" is quite a spectacle, especially the Babylonian scenes. Overall, the cinematography, such as some extreme close-ups, is innovative and advanced. Additionally, Griffith and Bitzer once again proved themselves masters of filming battle scenes.

"Cabiria" and the other Italian epics were a great impetus for Griffith to have embarked on his own two epic masterpieces, but the Italian epics were merely super-theatrical, with "Cabiria" as its apex and somewhat of a bridge to Griffith making the epic a cinematic art and a cornerstone of the industry. Moreover, from his pioneering short films at Biograph, to the epics "The Birth of a Nation" and "Intolerance", and to a lesser extent, his work thereafter, nobody has had a greater influence on the course cinema would take than D.W. Griffith.
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The Greatest Movie of all time... almost
jkogrady3 November 2002
I first saw this picture as a teenager some thirty years ago. I had no idea what to expect; all I knew was the famous still of Belshazzar's feast which has become one of the best known icons depicting the extravagance of crazy old Hollywood. But I was astounded and bowled over by what I saw. I will make no attempt at a plot synopsis here, since several other reviewers on this site have done so. Most readers already know that Griffith set out to tell four separate stories, laid in four widely spaced historical periods, and that he intercut freely between them, increasing the tempo as the film proceeded, and attempted to bring all four to a climax simultaneously. Clearly he bit off more than he, or anybody, could chew; but the fact that the limits of what cinema could do were being pushed so hard so early is what fascinated me then, and still fascinates me now. I wish to heaven that college film courses would just blow off "Birth of a Nation" and consign it to the oblivion it largely deserves, and show "Intolerance" instead, for this indeed is Griffith's monument, despite its poor state of repair; and at the risk of being technical I would like to address this. I have noticed that the one negative comment running most consistently through the reviews posted on this website is the relative lack of weight given to the French and Judaean sequences relative to the Modern and Babylonian narratives. This is largely the fault of the movie's checkered preservation history. When "Intolerance" failed to make huge sums at the box office, Griffith released the Babylonian and Modern stories as individual features in 1919, reshooting some scenes along the way. He cut up the original negative (gasp!) to do this, and by the time he decided to reassemble the whole movie in 1926, it turned out that all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't quite put Humpty Dumpty back together again. There was never a shooting script, or a written continuity; Griffith kept the whole thing in his head, and moreover could never stop tinkering with it while it was in release! Consequently, while the Babylonian and Modern stories have survived largely intact, the French and Judaean episodes were depleted by about half. So when we see it now we must recognize that we are viewing a broken sculpture. The movie is a restorer's nightmare; almost a third of its 2000- plus shots exist in variant versions, and the captions were rewritten more than once. But, broken as it is, it's still magnificent. There has never been, and will never again be, anything like it. It has all of Griffith's inconsistencies: subtle and naturalistic acting from Mae Marsh and Robert Harron as the luckless couple in the Modern Story are seen cheek by jowl with outrageous mugging by Walter Long as the Musketeer of the Slums, or Josephine Crowell's Catherine de Medici in France; but no masterpiece on this scale is ever consistent, after all. I love Connie Talmadge's Mountain Girl from Babylon; smart, funny and crazy. Other favorites: Tully Marshall as the villainous Priest of Bel; Seena Owen as the Princess beloved, my personal nomination for Most Fabulous Body of the Hollywood 1910s, never mind the deranged costumes; Alfred Paget as a genuinely humane Belshazzar; Howard Gaye as a believable and totally unforced Jesus. Everything the silent screen of 1916 could do, good, bad, subtle, overblown, crazy or glorious is embodied here; and Griffith never rode so high again. The most satisfactory version currently available, in my opinion, is the Kino on Video edition on vhs and dvd, the one illustrated when you first call the picture up on this site. There are some problems and a few missing bits that I take exception to, but overall this is the version that first time viewers should try.
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10/10
Grandiose
GoatPoda27 January 2005
I put off seeing "Intolerance" for years, fearing that the bloated, silent epic would be more of a punishment than a reward. I was surprised by how intelligent and spectacular a movie it was. The parallels between the ages ancient, present, and in between are fascinating, and it's a shame to think that no filmmaker since 1916 has attempted a historical, epic, poem so grand. It would be easy to dismiss parts of the film, but that would be treason to its creator. It is a comment on the eternal struggle of goodness against it's adversary intolerance, a message to the future that we will never evolve without admitting this. Ninety years later,it seems that we haven't come that far, if we've made any progress at all. Some of the sights are remarkable: Babylon, the heavenly final sequence, the worker's strike, Christ, chariots... Too bad Griffith is mostly remembered for his vision of Klan and black culture in "Birth of a Nation".
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10/10
Love's struggle through the ages
lugonian14 November 2001
"Intolerance" (Wark Producing Corporation, 1916), directed by D.W. Griffith, became an immediate follow-up to the director's previous effort, a civil war story titled "The Birth of a Nation" (1915), using many of the same actors including Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Miriam Cooper, among others. Of the two, I find "Intolerance" the most interesting, mainly because of its advance style in story telling. Yet, "Intolerance" did not become as successful nor controversial as "The Birth of a Nation" when first released.

"Intolerance" consists of four separate stories into one movie, but what's unusual about it is that the stories are not told episodically, but presented simultaneously in parallel action, linked together with Lillian Gish as the mother rocking her cradle. The stories consist of THE MODERN STORY, THE JUDEAN STORY, THE FRENCH STORY and finally THE BABYLONIAN STORY. Of the four, only THE JUDEAN STORY is the shortest and less detailed, featuring the life of Jesus Christ, as played by Howard Gaye. THE MODERN STORY, starring Mae Marsh and Robert Harron, finds the young couple getting married, followed by the husband resorting to life of crime when unable to find work, and later accused of a murder he did not commit; THE FRENCH STORY is set during the Middle Ages with Brown Eyes (Margery Wilson) and Prosper Latour (Eugene Palette) of religious intolerance under the regime of Catherine De Medici (Josephine Crowell); and THE BABYLONIAN STORY finds the Mountain Girl (Constance Talmadge) treated kindly by Belshazzar (Alfred Paget) when she is forced by the judicial system to appear on the marriage market, and falls in love with her prince. The battle scenes in this segment are well staged, considering the time of when this movie was produced. The Belshazzar's Banquet Hall set is the most famous sequence of all, shown many times as a film clip segment in several documentaries about silent films. The sets are lavish and the expense of this production shows. In spite of some hokey acting and title cards, which was taken seriously by 1916 standards, it's still a worthy viewing, especially for film scholars. Of all the actors who have appeared in this production, and there are too many to mention, the one who's most remembered long after the film is over is the one with less footage, Lillian Gish.

"Intolerance" is available on video in several different versions. Besides public domain videos with bad copies and no music score whatsoever, the three noted mentions include, (1) The former Blackhawk Video Company distributed it in the 1980s at 135 minutes accompanied with clear picture, an organ score and intermission. The opening titles of that print claims it to be the most complete copy, which includes the list of cast actors and their roles. (2) When Blackhawk merged with Republic Video several years later, it presented another copy, a shorter but almost clearer print running at 121 minutes accompanied with a good piano score and tinted picture, but minus the listing of the cast of actors and their roles. This was the copy used for the Public Television presentation of "The Silent Years" (1971), as hosted by Orson Welles. (3) Then there is another video copy, compliments of Kino Video, which runs at silent accu-speed, making it as long as three hours, color tints, accompanied with organ score, this version which can be seen on Turner Classic Movies. With several video copies currently available, it would certainly make a difference as to which one would make watching this movie enjoyable. On a personal level, I'd recommend No. 2, the Republic Video copy with the piano score.

"Intolerance" can almost be said to be the first all-star movie production. But for what it's worth, this epic should rank as one of the greatest of all silent films. It's amazing that it wasn't named as one of the 100 Greatest American Movies of the twentieth century by the American Film Institute. Maybe a proposed TV special on the selection of 100 Greatest Silent Movies of All Time will amend that (****)
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9/10
Excellent if long!
Bry-26 January 2003
I saw a four hour, ten minute version of this as the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes Hall in February, 1993 -- restored with stills and copyright photos, with a new score by Gillian Anderson, featuring the composer conducting the University Symphony Orchestra -- what an experience!

And where, oh where, is this restored version to be seen today?

Somebody get on the copyright owner's case to release the 4:10 version, with Gillian Anderson's score!

This fine film, possibly the quintessential Griffith, has been in the shadow of the notorious Birth of a Nation too long. (Of course, without Birth of a Nation's controversy, this might never have been made). Intolerance has more spectacle than Birth, far more "speaking" parts (if that's not an oxymoron, I don't know what is!), and is far more PC -- but not in a negative way.

See it, in any form you can!
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10/10
A Masterpiece Presenting the Definition of Intolerance Through Four Different Period of Time, Full of Injustice, Betrayal and Conspiracy
claudio_carvalho27 December 2003
In accordance with 'The Heritage Illustrated Dictionary of the English Language – International Edition', intolerance means '(1) the quality or condition of being intolerant.; (2) inability to withstand or consume. D.W. Griffith, the creator of the cinematographic narrative, extends this definition, presenting a masterpiece along four marks in human history. The first one is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Then, the fall of Babylon, though the betrayal of the high priests to the King Belshazzar and his beloved princess and the conquest of the city (presently Iraq) by Cyrus. This set was the largest ever built in Hollywood. The massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve, in France is the third story. And a contemporary drama in 1916, with the story of the Dear One and The Boy and his involvement with The Musketeer's of the Slums, showing the fight between classes in the beginning of the Twentieth Century. In the end, a beautiful message of peace. The VHS copy I watched was restored and presents the music composed and conducted by Carl Davis and The Live Cinema Orchestra. An outstanding movie, recommended to those viewers who love cinema as art and mandatory for any collector. My vote is ten.
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The hand of god
chaos-rampant8 September 2011
My primary interest in this was as a foundation of cinema; so an academic interest, but - having influenced so many things I am very keen on - not without some excitement at the prospect of discovery of this early common source.

So much of cinema flows out from this; a host of recognizable names tutored on set - Von Stroheim, Tod Browning, Woody Van Dyke, Victor Fleming, Elmer Clifton, Jack Conway, King Vidor - and even more once the film rippled across the world. In Moscow, it was the raw material film students were given to dismantle in Lev Kuleshov's fledgling film school, the first ever. And in France Abel Gance must have been awe-struck by the sheer size of the canvas, if his own films offer any clue.

So yes, a fast-paced, lavish blockbuster - it cost at the time an unprecedented $2m to make - with literally a cast of thousands animating history, the story of Hollywood excess begins here - in Italy it had started earlier, with their Roman spectacles. The filmmaker as god, who does not simply photograph reality but constructs entire worlds, permits our vision to travel in the places that we could earlier only imagine.

But the fundamental technique is still from the theatre; that means a grand stage - elevated from us, separate - with every now and then a different backdrop, actors who pantomime sweeping emotion, the eye usually fixed in a distance. Oh the camera moves, but it moves with the stage. And what a grand stage it is.

I suppose it must have been desirable at the time when cinema, and so the possibilities of seeing, made the world feel so new and perhaps so alive again, when so many of the trials and heroism of the world narrative were yet to be immortalized in this new way, that a film like this should try to encompass so much; the Crucifixion, medieval France, ancient Babylon, they're all urgently envisioned in the same space.

It is in more ways than one that Griffith wrote the history of cinema then; by pioneering what he did in terms of a film language, but also by creating a vast expanse - a daunting 3 hours of film - that fills the prehistoric void, in terms of cinema, with a cachet of images, that creates a history of images. Now with the Pharisees or at the Persian camp of Cyrus, the court of Catherine or the harems of Babylon, common streets old and new; now we could point back and see, in a small measure, a history of film gathered in one place. So, when Kuleshov had tasked his students to rework the film, the choice was wise. There is so much here in terms of images, and so fertile for remodeling, that essentially he was presenting them with the empty sheet to write music on - that music, a deeply modernist product of synthesis, we called montage.

What does this filmmaker - as god - see though, what kind of worldview does he spring into life, this is more interesting I believe.

The title summarizes well. So, a cruel - but institutionalized, thus state sanctioned - evil threatening to engulf and dissolve all that is kind, which is the individual life, and of course the warm sentimentality that eventually restores faith in the personal struggle. But nothing casts a shadow in this world, no depth or dimension beyond the plainly conceivable. So the people are straight-forward beings, either good or bad - our heroine is simply called The Dear One - or misguided at their most complex; or, when en masse, they are part of the decor, collectively writhing in some extravagant background.

By the end, a heavenly chorus of angels illuminate the sky above a battlefield. The immediate contrast, like so much in the film, disarms with how much painstaking vision must have gone into making something so splendorous yet so naive. We can pretend like we ought to make amends with the time it was made, just like we can't pretend to look away with indifference, but the point remains; far more complex works of art had been made before, far less didactic about their humanitarian values.

You should at least see the segment with the siege of Babylon though, and the final scenes cross-cutting across time and space as we rush to the climax; it's things like these that so much was founded on.

(And another image that I recommend to those of you who have been charting all this; it is an inexplicable, tight close-up of the girl who is almost brushing, breathing into the camera. It happens once, and suggests intimacy that is never again encountered in the film. It's as though the girl, and so this cinema, is yearning to cross over into a new kind of film where faces hold all the mysteries and performances visualize innermost soul. Jean Epstein would make those films, ushering us in a new perception)
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6/10
This deserves a 10 for technical merit and a 3 for watchability today
MartinHafer29 June 2007
It's very hard to review INTOLERANCE today, as the film is so old fashioned that even comparing it to films made just a decade later is a problem. When it debuted in 1916, it was a technical masterpiece due to D. W. Griffith's insane spending habits--with the millions he sank into the film with these extraordinary sets, it couldn't help but knock the socks off the audience. The film featured live elephants (plus a few papier mache ones that were well camouflaged), thousands of extras and sets that even by today's standards are amazing. The huge walls of Babylon and the enormous statues are NOT matte paintings but were actually built for this amazing film. The problem, though, is that although people DID come to see the film, they never came in large enough numbers to recoup production costs and it was a huge box office failure. I think part of this might have been because while the film was beautiful to look at, the narrative was very confused (being made up of four separate films inter-spliced together) as well as extremely preachy AND sexy (now THAT's a unique combination).

A lot of these problems could have been avoided by simply making four separate films--or at least filming one or two of the best sequences only. Plus, two of the sequences (the story of Jesus and the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre) seemed too choppy and incomplete--like they were more afterthoughts of Griffith. The two remaining sequences, the Babylonian and the one set in 1916 had much more merit. While the Babylonian one was pretty silly in many ways, it was by far the most visually appealing and just overwhelms the viewer. The 1916 sequence had simple contemporary sets and had an excellent story that paralleled the stingy Puritanism of John D. Rockefeller--and this alone would have made an excellent film. But when all the films were combined with their tenuous and schmaltzy message, the overall picture really bogged down and is almost laughably bad in spots. What I particularly found interesting were scenes with Jesus appearing along with some very, very risqué scenes of practically naked dancing girls from Babylon! What this film DESPERATELY needed was a producer--not D. W. Griffith tossing in everything but the proverbial kitchen sink into an overblown mega-picture that couldn't help but fail.
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unsurpassed and unsurpassable
mats.wahlqvist8 July 2000
How on Earth was D.W Griffith able to make this movie back in 1916? Back in the days when the audience were having a hard time focusing on two parallell stories, Griffith gave them four... This is a tremendous spectacle, way ahead of its time, and hardly dated at all. OK, the acting is a little bit over the edge (although Mae Marsh is a personal favourite of mine) and the subtitles are sometimes ridiculous, but the message that this movie brings is absolutely timeless. In fact, this is really the first movie with a vision, an idea. A major influence on Russian director Eisenstein, one has to wonder: Would there have been a Potemkin without this masterpiece? The Birth of a nation is in some ways superior to Intolerance, but for pure strength, innovation and boldness, Intolerance is unsurpassed and unsurpassable. The greatest movie of all times.
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4/10
Poor
arlev-125 July 2005
I was kinda forced into watching this film having started reading through 'American Silent Film' by William Everson (a very good book, I hasten to add on, er, well the title says it all) and encountering an entire chapter on, first, 'Birth of a Nation' (which I duly watched) and, then, 'Intolerance'.

I was already a fan of the Silent Screen so I approached it with a great amount of expectation, especially as Mae Marsh and Lillian Gish were in it whose performances in 'Birth' I thought were two of the finest I'd seen in silent movies.

However, in my opinion, the film is as poor as 'Birth' is brilliant.

Sure, there are a great amount of high spots when you look at film technique (such as the moving camera in part two that zooms in over the heads of the crowds - and the grand sets of Babylon are stunning to say the least) but the film is a mishmash of ideas that are forced into employment as examples of 'Intolerance' when you could view alternate characters as equally displaying the trait.

The film started life as the 'Modern Story only' prior to 1916 which was then used as the basis to have the other two main and one rather sketchy story cut into it (the Jesus narrative is, to be honest, not a story but a series of excerpts from the life which support the other three stories at certain points). To me, it shows - it's just *too* chaotic a film to be enjoyable (even by 1916 standards).

A couple of other points - Mae Marsh's performance is semi-decent although there appears to be a bit too much over-dramatisation at points while Constance Talmadge's character (the Babylonian Mountain Girl) although sometimes implausible is a nice humorous insertion (I used to know a girl like that!).

Why Griffith gave Lillian Gish the sole acting role of rocking a cradle throughout the film with no other input, I can't imagine (there must've been some good reason for it) as her acting ability was, for me, the highlight of 'Birth'.

If you're a movie-buff, this film is a must-see. Don't miss it! But, like me, you may wonder 'Why?'.

One lighter point - did anyone notice that where the train stops is the same place that Keaton used in 'The Goat' for the shot of him riding the train?
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10/10
A Much More Acceptable D.W. Griffith...
framptonhollis8 February 2016
It surprises me that "Intolerance" was such a box office bomb when it first came out back 1916. Sure, it was especially complicated and hard to follow for the time, but the sheer spectacle of it feels like it would not only really attract audiences of that time, but even our time. The battle sequences are so exciting and suspenseful that it's hard not to love their intensity and well crafted nature.

"Intolerance" doesn't follow one simple narrative, but four narratives, each narrative from a separate time period, from the Babylonian era to modern day America. Instead of, more conventionally, presenting each story one at a time, D.W. Griffith cuts from one story/time period to another in an extremely influential way. It's clear that this makes the film horribly complicated for a 1916 audience. Heck, today the film still is pretty complicated!

Many people may say that the film is a bit melodramatic or-*GASP*-dated, but, to be honest, it's a film made 100 years ago! And, even if it is a bit corny at times today, there still is a lot of stuff in "Intolerance" that is still truly emotional and gripping to this very day.

If you hate "The Birth of a Nation", you still may love "Intolerance". It has the technical mastery of "The Birth of a Nation", but without the blatant and repulsive racism. So, if you feel like you should never give Mr. Griffith's work a chance after a film like "BOAN", please rethink your decision, because you sure will be missing out on an epic masterpiece!
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9/10
The most ambitious film ever made
derek-19924 September 2004
Incredible that in 1916 Griffith embarked on a film with four different stories intercut to indeed present "love's struggle through the ages". This really is the ultimate epic film, no film before or since can really match it for ambition or scope. Lillian Gish believed it was ruined when Griffith cut it down from his original version, destroying the narrative flow but the extensive intercutting gathering speed and intensity towards the end was hugely influential particularly on the Soviets and directors like Hitchcock who liked to turn the screw with mounting suspense. Its not a film though to show a newcomer to the silents, it requires some experience of silent drama. People in 1916 were either amazed by the spectacle or baffled by it, one reviewer said they feared Belshazzar would be knocked down by an automobile at any second.
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4/10
Pretentious Muddle
madbeast16 May 2005
I was greatly disappointed in this film after being greatly impressed by the powerful and moving "Way Down East" and the groundbreaking (though shockingly racist) "Birth of a Nation." Griffith felt that he needed to follow the epic "Birth" with something "important," but the result is an over-produced and pretentious mess. The only sequence which carries any dramatic weight is the modern sequence (which Griffith had originally planned to make up the entire movie, originally titled "The Mother and the Law"), but associates convinced him that such a modest project shouldn't follow "Birth of a Nation" so Griffith padded the project with three other episodes which are frankly nonsensical and boring.

Griffith's reputation as one of the most important figures in the evolution of film is well deserved based on such works as "Judith of Bethulia," "Birth of a Nation," "Broken Blossoms" and "Way Down East," but "Intolerance" is clearly an example of a man desperate to top a spectacular success without a cohesive idea of how to go about it.
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2/10
Intolerance: An Audience's Struggle Through The Hours
thinbeach20 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
In terms costume, design, and size of action, this Griffith epic is rightly considered one of the towering films in cinema's history, for it is a marvel to look at for an audience of any era - with the re-construction of Babylonian sets including towering walls, carved sculptures, and chariots, as the backdrop to religious worship and army sieges. It conjures up all number of memorable images and features a range of impressive technical feats - such as dolly's and what look like crane shots, as well as many close ups - which were very rare for the time.

Unfortunately however not nearly as much talent went into the script as the production. It attempts to tell four stories from four different eras and places in history, united by a single theme - that intolerance is bad. The problem is however, the film tells us this in opening title cards before the thing has even started, so that watching this film is not a journey of wonder and discovery and mystery and surprise, but the journey of watching a wealthy group of people make their point in a scripted way with re-creations of history that contain inaccuracies. On top of this, two of the four stories seem to just fall by the wayside and be largely forgotten about. It feels less like a fiction film than a documentary re-enactment, the purpose of which is to provide a moral which everybody understands to be true before they enter the theatre to watch this film anyway. The problem with corruption in politics and religion and wealth in our world, and through the ages, is not that people don't understand morals, it's that they don't act upon them for selfish reasons. This film just uses morals to try and leverage some gravitas. Well, it could have been told in half the time at least! It could have been told in ten minutes! They told it in the first few title cards!

The acting is fairly poor throughout, without any suspense the plot really drags, and relies heavily on title cards to progress the pretty pictures, but ironically it is the most modern story, the one with the least impressive set and costume visuals, that is the most affecting, as they choose not to provide a history re-enactment, but set a story of twists and turns in motion, melodramatic as they are.

Wikipedia will try to tell us "it has been called the first art film" - but that's rubbish, because all film is art, and Melies, to list just one, was there before Griffith, and Griffith himself made better art before this anyway. In my opinion this is the kind of film that will inspire more blockbusters than unique stories.
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4/10
Disappointing, but interesting
Arcturus198023 March 2013
Bored to sleep, literally, I watched the 178 min version over two days. The meaninglessly incoherent quadruple narrative is little helped by the captions. The film ruined the studio by boring audiences inapprehensively before its legacy took hold.

A negative review thus far, I grant you, so on with the positives: The techniques and visuals (magnificent Babylonian sets) are interesting; the significance to film history should interest anyone interested in the subject; and in my opinion, Constance Talmadge has a star quality otherwise lacking in the film.

Intolerance is rather a misnomer. The Struggle, interestingly a D.W. Griffith film of 1931, would be a more apt title.
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5/10
Is it just me, or is this not really the greatest film ever made?
anches-725-9763063 October 2011
It seems pointless adding another review to the long list already available, but, having spent three hours watching "Intolerance" in ,probably, the best version available, here I go. My copy is the Thames Silents version, with music by Carl Davis. Of course, this movie cannot be ignored, as its impact as an exercise in film making is still felt today, but its flaws are many and it is a demonstration of what can go wrong as much as what works. Long epic films are more prone to uneven moments than your average feature, purely because they are so long, but sometimes I wonder If Griffith let the concept overwhelm him, leading to such directorial slips as inserting close-ups into the narrative which seemed to have been posed and shot separately from the day's shooting, rather in the manner of the publicity stills which used to tempt us into the cinema in days gone by. His fondness for inserting spurious historical facts into the intertitles is distracting, but, to be fair, this is no different from any other director of epics - note the famous clerihew: Cecil B.DeMille/Much against his will/ Was persuaded not to put Moses/ Into the war of the Roses! In fact, historical accuracy is rarely seen as a sine qua non of historical films. The key thing about the film is that it set the standard which film makers have had to strive for ever since and by watching it they can learn where to cut a little, where to retain. Incidentally, my original draft for this review ran to four pages of foolscap, but I have learned that more is not always better.
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A Work of Ambition
johnny-m23 July 2004
Before 'Pulp Fiction' and 'The Lord of the Rings', at a time when films were just at an age of adolescence, D. W. Griffith produced 'Intolerance', a pure cinematic treat of grand proportions. Involved in practically every aspect of the craft, from direction to makeup, Griffith lavishly proved his artistic talent.

'Intolerance' is unarguably a work of ambition. The daring script structure that took almost eighty years to grow to its full potential, the jaw-dropping sets, disgustingly expensive for contemporary studios, a cast of thousands, and top class performances from the entire cast, particularly the female leads – radiate with freshness in the third millennium. The achievements make it irresistible to disconsider any flaw. But 'Intolerance' is flawed. Its dogmatic, utopic, and often historically inaccurate, plot makes room for wide criticism. And yet, the paced finale, with nail-biting suspense, redeem Griffith's attempt of delivering a mature product.

Often misunderstood, and characterised as Hollywood trite, the film is devoured by its own complexity. The four stories intertwine sporadically, disconnected, only to allude in the end at the similarity of human kind since the beginning of time. 'Intolerance', ultimately, is an epic on humanity, and its tenacity is a testament of its greatness.
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10/10
"Intolerance"(1916), by David Wark Griffith
titobacciarini2 October 2018
"Intolerance"(1916), by David Wark Griffith

Comment:

The narrative, contrary to the Director's previous feature film, is extremely fragmented and does not constitute the cornerstone of film, which is a generic "poetic" discourse, perhaps a little elusive, on the condemnation of all forms of intolerance (theme dear to the director, who will resume it in the future, in part, as for example in "The Broken Lily" (1919)). For this reason, Griffith sacrifices narrative linearity instead a more poetic means of emotion, as confirmed, above all, by episodes 1 and 4 (this last episode conceals a huge tribute to Giovanni Pastrone's Cabiria (1914)). In addition, Griffith determines the concepts through the choices linked to the framing (a glaring example is when the high priest watches from afar the kingdom, which he will betray, emphasizing the distance between them and therefore the intolerance that places them on the two opposite sides of the chessboard). Episodes 2, 3 and 4 differ from the first one as none of them has a happy ending, because they exist to witness intolerance as the architect of ruin, derived from non-acceptance (primarily religious, as evidenced by the various references: Jesus, the massacre of the Huguenots by the Catholics and the supplanting of the worship of Baal-Marduk by Ishtar, the goddess of sexual love). Also in all these three episodes there is an initial condition of intolerant climate. The first episode, however, encloses the very essence of the message of the American director: the love that the Dear Girl feels against The Boy is the only hope that separates him from his death by execution, due to both the intolerant misunderstanding of Uplifters and the governor's indifference. The happy ending underlines this basic dichotomy, bringing to light Griffith's thought, also misunderstood by accusations against the previous "The birth of a nation". Moreover, the omission of real protagonists with proper names is apt to demonstrate the concept in a broad sense and to identify the spectator in each of the characters of the various events (perhaps except for the second episode, Judeo, evidently framed compared to the work in its entirety). Inspired as told by Pastrone, there are a large variety of narrative techniques such as the use of the masks, filming that exploit the depth of field and use it, albeit significantly less than the previous film, close-ups that highlight the psychology of a character (a technique still absent in movies outside the United States and one of the first emblems of Griffith's innovative style). An immortal ancestor that reflects an extremely prolific historical period, from the point of view of the innovative ideas in the cinema's world, a real watershed between the narrative cinema and the poetic one, capable of expressing a concept or givig a message, in this case a hymn to non-violence.
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10/10
The Best Movie of silent era
Jazzy_san20 April 2018
Intolerance (which can be seen perhaps partly as a response to accusations of perpetuating racial stereotypes and glorifying the Klu Klux Klan in Birth of Nations) is considered by many to be his masterpiece, and indeed the greatest film of the whole silent era. Griffiths mammoth film, also subtitled: "A Sun-Play of the Ages" and "Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages.", consists of four distinct but parallel stories that demonstrated mankind's intolerance during four different ages in world history. Intolerance was a colossal undertaking filled with monumental sets, lavish period costumes, and thousands of extras.
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8/10
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle...
ElMaruecan8215 January 2018
In 1915, D.W. Griffith's gave birth to modern cinema with "The Birth of a Nation", a giant leap that proved the remaining skeptics that the 20th century wouldn't do without the reel, that there was a time for Chaplin's gesticulations and a time for serious storytelling.

Of course, Chaplin's contribution is more valuable because he understood the universality of cinema more than any other filmmaker, let alone Griffith who made his film culminate with the glorification of the KKK. ¨People from all over the world would rather relate to the little tramp than any Griffith's character, but as I said in my "Birth of a Nation" review, without that seminal film, there wouldn't even be movies to contradict it.

And D.W. Griffith was actually the first to do so by making a humanistic anthology named "Intolerance: Love's Struggle Through the Ages", a three-hour epic relating four separate stories set at different historical times, but all converging toward the same hymn to intolerance, or denunciation of intolerance's effect through four major storylines: the fall of Babylon, the crucifixion of the Christ, the Bartholomew Day massacre and a contemporary tale with odd modern resonances. The four stories overlap throughout the film, punctuated with the same leitmotif of a mother "endless rocking the cradle", as to suggest the timeless and universal importance of the film.

The mother is played by an unrecognizable Lillian Gish but it's not exactly a film that invites you to admire acting, the project is so big, so ambitious on a simple intellectual level that it transcends every cinematic notion. It is really a unique case described as the only cinematic fugue (a word used for music), one of these films so dizzying in their grandeur that you want to focus on the achievements rather than the shortcomings, just like "Gone With the Wind" or more recently "Avatar". Each of the four stories would have been great and cinematically appealing in its own right, Griffith dares to tell the four of them using his trademark instinct for editing. Technically, it works.

And while I'm not surprised that he could pull such a stunt since he had already pushed the envelope in 1915, bmaking this "Intolerance" only one year after "The Birth of Nation" is baffling, especially since it was meant as an answer to the backlash he suffered from, it's obvious it wasn't pre-planned, so how he could make this in less than a year is extraordinary. I can't imagine how he got all these extras (three thousands), the recreations of ancient Babylon, of 16th century France, and still have time for a real story, but maybe that's revealing how eager he was to show that he wasn't the bigoted monster everyone accused him of, as if the scale of his sincerity had to be measured in terms of cinematic zeal. That the film flopped can even play as a sort of redemption in Griffith's professional arc.

But after the first hour, we kind of get the big picture and we understand that Griffith tells it like he means it. It works so well that the American Film Institute replaced the "Birth of a Nation" from the AFI Top 100 with "Intolerance" in the 10th anniversary update. But after watching the two of them, I believe they both belonged to the list as they're the two ideological sides of the same coin. But if one had to be kept, it would be the infamous rather than the famous, if only because the former is more 'enjoyable' in the sense that there's never a dull moment where you feel tempted to skip to another part. "Intolerance" had one titular key word: struggle, I struggled to get to the end, and even then, I had to watch it again because I couldn't stay focused. Indeed, what a challenging movie patience-wise!

This is a real orgy of set decorations that kind of loses its appeal near the second act, and while the first modern story is interesting because you can tell Griffith wanted to highlight the hypocrisy of our world's virtue posers, who try to make up for the very troubles they cause and use money for the most lamentable schemes, it might be too demanding to plug your mind to so many different stories. And when the climax starts with its collection of outbursts of violence, I felt grateful for finally rewarding my patience than enjoying the thrills themselves, especially since it doesn't hold up as well as the climactic sequence of "The Birth of a Nation". Or maybe we lost the attention span when it comes to silent movies, but there must be a reason the film flopped even at its time, maybe the abundance of notes and cardboards that makes the film look like a literary more than visual experience?

I guess "Intolerance" can be enjoyed sequence by sequence, by making as many halts as possible in that epic journey, but it's difficult to render a negative judgment for such a heavy loaded film. For my part, I'm glad I could finally watch and review all the movies from the American Film Institute's Top 100 and I appreciate its personal aspect in Griffith's career. Perhaps what the film does the best is to say more about the man than the director. His insistence on never giving names to his characters ("The Boy", "The Dear Guy"...) calling a mobster a "Musketeer" and all that vocabulary reveal his traditional and sentimental view of America, and maybe the rest of the world.

That's might be Griffith's more ironic trait, so modern on the field of technical film-making yet so old-fashioned in his vision, he's one hell of a storyteller and he handles the universal and historical approach of his film like a master, but when it comes to his personal vision, he struck me as the illustration of his own metaphor, like a good mother-figure endlessly rocking our cradle.
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9/10
impressive for it's time as it is now, and just shy of a total masterwork (for me)
Quinoa19844 December 2016
The most remarkable thing about Intolerance while I was watching it was that I found myself engaging with it as I would a modern piece of movie-making. Sometimes, even often times, when watching silence cinema I try to take it on the context of when it was made: that the director and crew and actors were working back when storytelling was completely new with moving images, that the scenarios were a little rougher, and that the social mores and other things made it specific to that time and place. Or, to put it another way, at times it might be dated as far as the storytelling - in the worst case scenarios, in a word, creaky.

Intolerance begins in the first half hour sort of un-loading its four different scenarios - stories set in the modern day (of 1916) around the world of a company Jenkins and a feminist group; the Babylonians and Persians and their battles and quests for glory; the 16th century with turmoil in France; and the story of Jesus in Nazareth - but once the stories get going, Griffith's editing and storytelling work more like how one might see in a movie today. To say he was sophisticated in advancing the art of filmmaking is an understatement.

This does not necessarily mean that there aren't things about it that haven't dated; there are some beats that come off as sexist (one of the inter-titles actually says, "when women are no longer able to attract men they turn to reform as a second option," in the modern times story) and there are some points where Griffith ratchets up the melodrama so high that it becomes sort of hysterical. But that's something I just take as a given with his approach, and to be fair this isn't quite as hyper-WTF as Birth of a Nation... then again, what is? And what Griffith is after here is nothing short of creating storytelling as a kind of visual symphony, particularly in the last like 45 to 50 minutes as all of the stories reach their manic and highly dramatic climaxes all at one - all while that woman sitting by the crib (is that Lillian Gish, how about that) is there sort of like the unofficial God(dess) of these slices of the human condition.

There's a lot that can be dissected here, but I think what's telling, and what may actually be a slight (but only a slight) detriment to the filmmaking, is how much Griffith clearly prefers to tell more of two of the four stories: the modern day story and the Babylon epic. He gets to stage what I imagine were, with not much to compare to at the time (maybe aside from, uh, himself with BOTN and maybe Cabiria), the most spectacular battles recorded on film, and to bring together this story of "The Dear One" (Mae Marsh, gosh she's delightful and so ready to go full throttle with her acting) in a way that shows a sort of culmination of the melodramas he'd been making for years at Biograph. I didn't keep count of the minutes, but I'm pretty sure that these two tales - and by the way, the Babylon story also features a force of f***ing nature with Constance Talmadge as 'The Mountain Girl' - outnumber the French/Hugenot and Christ segments by quite a lot, and for the latter it almost seemed as if that was more allegorical to what was going on anyway in the other stories, especially the Boy's plight.

I wouldn't say those should've been cut down or taken out, despite the Babylon and modern time stories being stronger overall; it's more a question of pacing. A recent descendant of Intolerance's approach to multi-level storytelling is Cloud Atlas (and I'm sure Nolan is a fan of this as well, not a doubt in my mind), and while that film certain is more scattered and messy in the success of its segments, the pacing was actually an improvement at times as far as balancing all of the stories. But, again, this almost in an ironic way a compliment to Griffith, that I think of this epic in such a way that it's closer to what movies in the 21st century achieve as far as bringing a novelistic approach 100 years on. So while I might have wanted more of those stories in France and Nazareth, what I got was still very good.

I think the quality of Griffith's direction is what makes this so strong, along with some of the key performances and how he simply mounted such massive sets that, in their way, are more impressive than what you get today in CGI; your mind knows that all those figures are fake in modern films, no matter how much detail is put in here. In Intolerance, when I look at the people all in that Babylonian decadence, and then when the battle breaks out against the mighty Cyrus, it *feels* intense and sprawling.

Unlike Birth of a Nation, which has such an unpleasant and virulent 2nd half that makes me never want to see it again on principle alone, I could find myself coming back to Intolerance, perhaps getting into it a little quicker than I found on a first time (that first half hour takes a little time as I mentioned), and just to marvel at some of the acting which is both big AND small in equal measure. By this I should say that you can't help but see when actors really are milking the emotion for all its worth - Brown Eyes in the French scenes, or that female killer in the modern day story, where Griffith really gets to use his close-ups in such a way that must have changed movies forever - but there's subtlety when called for also. The more I think about it hours after watching it, the more it feels like a monumental (if imperfect) achievement. 9.5/10
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Intolerant? You will be...
feelinglistless29 August 2004
D W Griffith's Intolerance, his 1916 film which switches between four time frames to tell the story of man's inhumanity to himself. At a distance of eighty years, its surprising how much of the film holds up. For the uninitiated, the action tells the story of the crucifixion, the massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, the fall of Babylon and a contemporary story in depression hit America.

It's the latter two which have the most impact. This was the most expensive film of the time because in order to tell the story Griffith actually built Babylon on the backlot to scale and filled it with extras - imagine if Peter Jackson had actually built the whole of helms deep without any CGI material then hired all of those people instead of computer generating most of them and your there. It's famous because despite the larger cameras of the time he uses sweeping crane shots to demonstrate the epic sweep of the action.

The contemporary story, a sort of early century version of Ken Loach's Cathy Come Home works because the performances, despite the lack of sound have a naturalistic feel - although some of actors display over the top hand gestures (a real danger in the silent era), the leads all have a quiet dignity and by the end, a race to save a condemned man I found myself getting rather excited - again for the time the editing is surprisingly swift and contemporary.

This stuff isn't for everyone and it eventually took me four and a half hours to see the whole piece after pauses and intermissions. I would also recommend finding a copy with a decent soundtrack. The version I rented had a nasty Hammond organ plinky plonky noise in the background which distracted rather than enhanced the action; I ended up turning it off and putting on some world music compilation cds which worked surprisingly well, especially when the music co-incidentally fitted the action onscreen. Not that I would say this is the best way to enjoy the films. Georgio Morodor still has a lot to answer for because of what he did to Metropolis.
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