A fascinating work of high artistry, "Judith of Bethulia" will not only rank as an achievement in this country, but will make foreign producers sit up and take notice. It has a signal and ... See full summary »
A fascinating work of high artistry, "Judith of Bethulia" will not only rank as an achievement in this country, but will make foreign producers sit up and take notice. It has a signal and imperative message, and the technique displayed throughout an infinity of detail, embracing even the delicate film tinting and toning, marks an encouraging step in the development of the new art. Ancient in story and settings, it is modern in penetrative interpretation - it is a vivid history of one phase of the time it concerns, and is redemptive as well as relative, a lesson from one of those vital struggles that made and unmade nations as well as individuals, yet it is not without that inspiring influence that appeals powerfully to human sense of justice. The entire vigorous action of the play works up to the personal sacrifice of Judith of Bethulia, a perilous chance she takes for the sake of the lives and happiness of her people. She dares expose herself to overwhelming humiliation and dishonor ... Written by
Moving Picture World 1914
When Judith goes out into the city and begins to bless the young mother's baby, an extra enters the shot in the left foreground, blocking the action. She or he quickly retreats back out of view, as someone obviously yelled out. See more »
The first feature-length film from DW Griffith, JUDITH OF BETHULIA tells the story of a young widow who saves her city (Bethulia) from the Assyrians by an act of treachery.
It's a warm-up for Griffith's masterpiece, INTOLERANCE, a few years later but still has merit of its own despite hammy acting and lackluster sets.
Blanche Sweet (then 18) stars as Judith and is very pretty but the acting style (it is 1914 after all) is still crude with waving arms and long dramatic poses. Henry B. Walthall is the head of the Assyrian army, Mae Marsh and Robert Harron play the young lovers, Lillian Gish is a young mother, Dorothy Gish is a young cripple, Kate Bruce is the loyal maid, Harry Carey is the traitor.
The extras (in heavy makeup) include Lionel Barrymore, Antonio Moreno, Elmo Lincoln, Mary Gish (mother of the stars), and someone named J. Jiquel Lanoe who is quite excellent as the head eunuch.
Certainly worth a look but this seems very amateurish compared to what was coming. The film is also famous for going well over budget and getting Griffith fired from Biograph Studio.
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