A family goes out for a nice trip along the riverside during a sunny summer’s day. A gypsy walks by them, and attempts to sell his baskets to the family. The Mother doesn’t want to buy anything from him, and attempts to move on, but this angers the gypsy, who begins to attack the mother and her daughter Dollie until the Father appears and drives the gypsy off. —w-cinema
Griffith was born in rural Kentucky to Jacob “Roaring Jake” Griffith, a Confederate Army colonel and Civil War hero. He grew up with his father’s romantic war stories and melodramatic nineteenth century literature that were to eventually mold his black-and-white view of human existence and history. In 1897, Griffith set out to pursue a career both acting and writing for the theater but for the most part was unsuccessful. Reluctantly, he agreed to act in the new motion picture medium for Edwin S. Porter at the Edison Company. Griffith was eventually offered a job at the financially struggling American Mutoscope & Biograph [us] where he directed over 450 short films, experimenting with the story-telling techniques he would later perfect in his epic The Birth of a Nation (1915). Griffith and his personal cinematographer G.W. Bitzer collaborated to create and perfect such cinematic devices as the flashback, the iris shot, the mask, and crosscutting. In the years following Birth… read more
Yes, it is raw and loosely-formed. But the genius reveals itself behind the simple kidnapping plot: the subtlety of emotion packed into the dense action sequences is overwhelming. It's right there next to 'Funny Games' and 'Novecento' in terms of drama. As to racism: that time period was not enlightened, indeed. But somehow Griffith's French counterparts managed to make films without resorting to stereotype, so, ugh.