THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) B/W "silent" 191m dir: D.W. Griffith

w/Lillian Gish, Henry B. Walthall, Mae Marsh

This "silent" classic directed by Griffith made the idea of a full-length feature film a commercial reality. President Woodrow Wilson described the film as "... writing history with lightning ...," and its impressive achievement hasn't diminished with time. Griffith's Civil War epic recreates both battle scenes and the Reconstruction period: some of the intimate family scenes, such as the Little Conolel's return from the War, are the most moving reunion scenes ever committed to film. But, as great a filmmaker as Griffith was, the film must be viewed as morally inexcusable because of its racial bias. It's a tough one to call: the quality of the film is excellent, but the end it justifies taints it. It's said that the Ku Klux Klan was essentially dead before this film was issued and revived it.