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Entries in D.W. Griffith (2)

Monday
Sep052016

"Colossal Spectacle!"

Happy Labor Day, all! To mark this occassion I will be working very hard today because I have much to accomplish before I leave for TIFF, the best film festival on the planet, according to me, for its ease, it's breadth, and the quality of its movies. Any big plans today, whether or not its Labor Day where you live?

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

1916 One hundred years ago today the other über famous and influential D.W. Griffith epic, the one its OK to care about, opened. Intolerance, sometimes subtitled "love's struggle throughout the ages," was three and a half hours long and prominently advertised its then insane budget of $2,000,000. Wouldn't it be funny if today's movies were all "we cost $300,000,000 to make" (and all you get is a glossy commercial for merchandise / sequels)" on the posters? The epic stretched from Ancient Babylon through the Christ story and on to 1914 in its quartered parallel storylines to paint a morality story for audiences. The sick cosmic joke in retrospect was not that Griffith was apologizing for his own racist intolerance in The Birth of a Nation but offering a rebuke to people who he felt were intolerant to him because of that picture.

SIGH (Dir. Nathaniel R, running time ∞)

Other debuts on September 5th
Outlaw Jesse James who has been played by a gazillion actors, Old Hollywood titan Darryl F Zanuck, the inimitable prolific auteur Werner Herzog, charmed and outspoken Rose McGowan, Reigning Oscar good luck charm Michael Keaton (Birdman, Spotlight), Dan Gilroy's sick gripping Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal, 60s sex goddess and Myra Breckenridge herself Raquel Welch, Jack Kerouac's On the Road is published, Disney's pre-Mickey Mouse character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit premieres in his first short, one time Bond George Lazenby, and Black Book/Game of Thrones sensation Carice Van Houten.

And we'll close out our birthdays in history list with the iconic Freddie Mercury (remind me again why the Queen frontman STILL doesn't have a biopic?). This music video was chosen because it felt like something D.W. Griffith would approve of in all its "subtlety" and largesse...

Happy birthday / anniversary to all!

Saturday
Nov102012

"An Unseen Enemy" & Immortal Sister Act

Silent Saturday! 

 Cinema, our favorite artform, may have already celebrated its Centennial year but Movie Stars (our favorite part of the artform if we're being honest) were invented later. Lillian Gish, the honorary mother of screen acting if not quite "the first movie star", and her sister Dorothy Gish starred in their first D.W. Griffith short An Unseen Enemy a full one hundred years ago... or one hundred and one depending on where you get your silent film info.

Lillian & Dorothy

Not all pictures are worth a thousand words but if you wanna double down, make sure to include pretty girls.

The one-reeler -- which thankfully survived when so many films of its day didn't -- is about two sisters (Lillian Gish and Dorothy Gish) who are grieving the loss of their recently deceased father. Their brother liquidates their estate and suddenly the sisters are flush with cash -- boy does that wrap up their mourning process; they're giddy by the two minute mark! But mo money, mo problems. If someone has a lot of cash, someone else will want it and soon the cinema's first sibling darlings are under attack.

The short and an awesome Lillian Gish anecdote after the jump... 

Click to read more ...