Find This Film 7 – Intolerance

Intolerance 1916

Director: D W Griffith Cinematographer: G W Bitzer

Starring: Lillian Gish, Robert Herron, Mae Marsh

The cruel hand of intolerance.

DW Griffith was a great director. He has the Birth of a Nation hanging over him forever. It overshadows all of his other work which is a shame as he made some great films.

Intolerance is epic in every sense. It tells four complete love stories in four different time periods. The sets were so big that Griffith directed from a balloon so he could see everything.

With a cast of more than 25,000, it tells tales of Babylon, Christ, Egypt and modern day. The spectacle is easily bigger than De Mille. It is astounding in its scale.

Hundreds of background actors fill the nooks and crannies. The sets are super detailed. The costumes are grand. How can one not be influenced by the spectacle?

This changed my idea of what could be done in a silent film. It changed how epic in scope a film can drive. I had seen around twenty silent films before Intolerance. I was not naive about how good a silent film could be, but this stunned me.

Being silent adds to the grandeur. Your imagination fills in more sound than they could have ever done. The exaggerated acting lends to the grandeur. There is so much going on that each large set piece has to be viewed multiple times to soak it all in

I feel that Griffith makes an effort to be authentic. He imbues the entire scene, not just the actors, with such character. The film pays out extra with repeated viewings. The 3 hour 17minute running time does not slog.

I found some interesting advertising for the film.

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