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Judith of Bethulia (1914)

 |  Drama  |  8 March 1914 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 906 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 6 critic

A religious woman seeks to save her people from destruction by seducing and murdering the enemy leader, but her plans get complicated once she falls for him.


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Credited cast:
Henry B. Walthall ...
The Young Mother
The crippled beggar
Kate Bruce ...
Judith's maid
J. Jiquel Lanoe ...
Eunuch Attendant
Assyrian Traitor
W. Chrystie Miller ...
Gertrude Robinson
Charles Hill Mailes ...
Bethulian Soldier
Edward Dillon
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gertrude Bambrick ...
Lead Assyrian Dancer


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

8 March 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Her Condoned Sin  »

Box Office


$40,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original company that made "Judith of Bethulia" (American Mutoscope & Biograph Co.) is in development and planning a feature re-make of the film. See more »


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 »

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User Reviews

JUDITH OF BETHULIA (D. W. Griffith, 1914) **1/2
2 April 2009 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This was something of a milestone – denoting a leap for pioneer D.W. Griffith from his customary one or two-reelers to a then considerable length of 49 minutes in this version (its length may vary on account of differing speeds utilized during projection of Silent movies) as well as from a modern-day, or at least American, setting towards apparently unlimited scope. In that regard alone, JUDITH OF BETHULIA is worthy of attention – but Griffith's Victorian sensibilities (which he could never, or would not, shake off) still ground it into the antediluvian quality of film-making which is perhaps the most common objection raised by certain viewers nowadays to watching Silent pictures! Anyway, this was obviously inspired by the Old Testament tale in which a saintly woman sacrifices her dignity in order to release the Jewish people (depicted as long-bearded stereotypes which would not go down well today!) from oppression by the Assyrian army: she ingratiates herself within the affections of King Holofernes, whom she gets drunk one night and decapitates – after which the invaders disperse. Apart from a lengthy offensive outside the city walls, the running-time is padded-out with the plight of a young couple (the boy is a brave warrior and the girl eventually enslaved inside the enemy camp) and, also appearing from time to time, is Lillian Gish in a typical role symbolizing motherhood. Unfortunately, the print I acquired of this 95-year old title was extremely fuzzy – rendering the elaborate and often chaotic visuals even harder to make out – and it was accompanied besides by one of the most incongruous scores I have ever heard, approximating to a circus jingle (complete with laugh track!) which one finds at its most jubilant when the on-screen events seem to demand emotions of an entirely different nature!!

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