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Judith of Bethulia (1914)

 -  Drama  -  8 March 1914 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 870 users  
Reviews: 14 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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Title: Judith of Bethulia (1914)

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Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Mary Pickford, Blanche Sweet
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Director: D.W. Griffith
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Cast

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

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

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 March 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Her Condoned Sin  »

Box Office

Budget:

$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?

Trivia

Shot in 1913, not released until 1914. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Edited into Her Condoned Sin (1917) See more »

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User Reviews

Very Good
29 February 2008 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Judith of Bethulia (1914)

*** (out of 4)

D.W. Griffith's first feature as well as his final film for the Biograph company. Semi historical story from the Old Testament about Judith (Blanche Sweet), a strong willed woman who rises up to defend her town of Bethulia against Holofernes (Henry B. Walthall) and the Assyrians. Griffith was the first to take film-making to Los Angeles and that's how he got away with this film when Biograph refused to let him make longer running films. Griffith told the company he was going back out West so that he could film in better weather. The studio was under the impression that he was going to make six short films but instead he spent $36,000 (nearly five times the cost of a normal picture) and created his first feature. Even though the film became a huge hit, Biograph still refused to let him make features so Griffith left the studio, taking the majority of their actors with him and the rest is history. Needless to say but Biograph didn't last much longer. As for the actual film, it's a pretty good telling of events but for some reason that beautiful editing of Griffith's isn't to be seen here, which is a shame because it probably would have helped the film a lot. I think it would have also helped had he inserted more title cards but it's clear Griffith's mind was on the technical side of the epic battle scenes. The battle scenes here are very good and quite a treasure for the eyes. There's one scene where the Assyrians are trying to break down the gate leading into Bethulia and this here is where the greatest action is. People are on top of the gate throwing down large rocks, which was all done for real. Griffith paid the actors an extra $5 a day to let these rocks be thrown at them. The performance from Sweet is exceptionally good and the supporting cast also includes Mae Marsh, Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Harry Carey and Robert Harron.


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