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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Birth of a Nation ninety years on
Today is the 90th anniversary of the premier of The Birth of a Nation, a fact that would have escaped me were it not for Jesse Walker's excellent article on the film at Reason Online today, The Outsiders: How D.W. Griffith Paved the Way for Ed Wood.
Ninety years ago today, at Clune's Auditorium in Los Angeles, 2,500 people watched the premiere of The Clansman, a 12-reel saga of the Civil War and Reconstruction directed by the Kentucky-born filmmaker D.W. Griffith. Later retitled The Birth of a Nation, the movie climaxes with a horde of Negroes besieging a cabin full of whites. If you've seen any modern zombie movie, then you've seen an echo of the cabin scene: In Griffith's eyes, the blacks outside that little house are the Living Dead, their monstrous arms reaching through the doors and windows while our heroes try desperately to fend them off. In Griffith's movie, the whites are rescued by the Ku Klux Klan, who subsequently strip the blacks of their arms and of the franchise.
You'll have to read on if you want to know the connection to Ed Wood.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 2/08/2005 Comments (1)
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1 Comments:

At 10:52 PM, Anonymous said...

I think that this article is true and that the film does potray a racist backgroung!

 

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Archives prior to April, 2005 are from Donald Melanson's personal film blog.

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