Sunday, September 8, 2013

1916 - Intolerance

Here's the simplified and probably inaccurate story in my head about how this movie was made, in steps:
1) D.W. Griffith starts making a contemporary movie about the evil results of proto-prohibition
2) Griffith's previous movie makes a shit load of money and gets heavily criticized as racist.
3) Griffith adds _three more stories_ to the film, around the theme of "intolerance".

The result was a massive flop that's kind of all over the place. It was easy to hate every part of "Birth of a Nation," but "Intolerance" is only... half... evil?

The contemporary story is about how a bunch of old spinsters try to wreck society by banning booze and stealing babies. Here they are trying to steal a baby:
What's wrong with these "uplifters"?? Are they crazy or something? Well, sort of:
Ha ha, D.W. Griffith is obviously a sexist asshole. But then the non-uplifter women somehow get to do super rad things. Like climb onto a ledge to shoot an attempted rapist:

Then jumping off of said ledge to escape.

And in the Babylon story the hero is a woman so troublesome that she gets sent to the marriage market:

But she decides to say "screw that," insults all of her potential purchasers to chase them away, and joins the Babylonian army, shooting arrows from battlements:
 ... and stealing chariots to save the day:

Heck, even the good-guy god is a woman, with magical glowy powers:

That's right! The guy who glorified the KKK somehow decided to glorify Ishtar. _Maybe_ because the other side of the battle (Cyrus) had more non-whites. But the linguist in me wants to believe it's because of the cuneiform. DO NOT MESS WITH CUNEIFORM:

The sets in this story are unbelievably elaborate:

And generally pretty great, as Griffith is happy to point out himself:


So, yeah, just watch the Babylon story, if you can. Of the other two stories, one is about Huguenots or something, but this is all I remember from it:

(By "pastimes", Griffith means "Crotch pouch full of puppies," pictured above.)

The fourth story is about Jesus so I kind of ignored it. I think I know the story pretty well already. And I prefer to see it told using 70's rock songs.