The Mighty “Intolerance” Turns 100 Today

Image result for intolerance 1916 babylon

D.W. Griffith’s massive, dramatic, beautiful 1916 epic Intolerance, to this day one of the most ambitious film projects ever devised, is a century old today. On September 5, 1916 its world premiere was held at the Liberty Theater in New York. This is arguably one of the biggest milestones in cinematic history. It’s partyin’ time.

Image result for intolerance 1916 dance

As demonstrated.

In 1958 Buster Keaton (who parodied the film in The Three Ages) reminisced: “Griffith’s Intolerance was] terrific…It’s a beautiful production. That was somethin’ to watch then. You weren’t used to seein’ big spectaculars like that.”

I’ll be devoting some posts to this cinematic masterpiece later this month, so until then, have a celebratory banner.

Intolerance at 100 2

‘Tis an historic day!!

10 thoughts on “The Mighty “Intolerance” Turns 100 Today

  1. I’ve been looking at the Los Angeles reviews for this for an upcoming post (it didn’t get to LA until October 17th) and they were just bonkers — to the point of nothing being able to live up to them. Here’s a few excepts:

    Harry Carr, LA Times: “With Intolerance, David Wark Griffith has made his place secure as one of the towering geniuses of the world. As a medium for expressing art, moving pictures may not stand the test of time, but Intolerance is greater than any medium. It is one of the mile posts on the long road of art, where painting and sculpture and literature and music go jostling eagerly along together.”

    Guy Price, LA Herald: “Nobody had dreamed that Intolerance would be so stupendous, so wonderful, so inspiring, so thrilling and so vitriolic, yet so true, an indictment against the universe’ most cherished weaknesses—deceit and bigotry… It was more than they eye anticipated, more than it could understand and digest at a moment when the brain was befuddled from the joyous shock.”

    Have fun with all of the “ardent typewriter rhapsodies,” as Photoplay called them!

    • Can’t say I blame them! 😉 Even when I watch it today, I’m blown away by the sheer scale of the sets and battle scenes. I’m not sure if it was really matched up until Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers and Return of the King–but he had to use a lot of CGI!

      • You’re a better person than I am! I shouldn’t admit this in public, but I’m on the side of Film Fun magazine, which said in November 1916 “there is too much of it.” We’re Philistines, I know.

  2. Excited to see what you’ve got cooking, Lea!!!! It certainly is a film that deserves to have multiple articles written about it! I always say….before there was “Citizen Kane” or “2001: A Space Odyssey”….there was “Intolerance”!

  3. I always like hearing Buster’s reactions to other movies!

    I have heard a lot of bad talk from other silent movie fans about Intolerance in recent years, but I think it deserves it’s good reputation, and I am hardly a big Griffith fan in any capacity. I am astonished every time I see it. Even if some segments work less than others, the ambition and artistry on display are astounding.

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