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Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)

Not Rated | | Drama, History | 5 September 1916 (USA)
The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

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(scenario), (titles)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
The Boy
F.A. Turner ...
The Dear One's Father (as Fred Turner)
...
...
Mary Jenkins
...
Uplifter
Eleanor Washington ...
Uplifter
Pearl Elmore ...
Uplifter
Lucille Browne ...
Uplifter
...
Uplifter (as Mrs. Arthur Mackley)
...
...
The Musketeer of the Slums / Babylonian Warrior
Tom Wilson ...
The Kindly Policeman
...
The Governor
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Storyline

Intolerance and its terrible effects are examined in four historical eras. In ancient Babylon, a mountain girl is caught up in the religious rivalry that leads to the city's downfall. In Judea, the hypocritical Pharisees condemn Jesus Christ. In 1572 Paris, unaware of the impending St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, two young Huguenots prepare for marriage. Finally, in modern America, social reformers destroy the lives of a young woman and her beloved. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Sun-Play of the Ages See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

5 September 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Intolerance  »

Box Office

Budget:

$385,907 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2000 video release) | (DVD) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the intertitles is a quote from "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" by Oscar Wilde i.e. 'And wondered if each one of us/ Would end the self-same way,/ For none can tell to what red Hell/ His sightless soul may stray'. See more »

Goofs

In the opening of the Babelonian story, shortly before the intertitle reading "Dearest one - in the ash heaps of my back yard...etc." (spoken by the Rapsode), a group of extras behind the Mountain Girl are shown get up and walk off to the left. In the next shot, when the Rapsode puts his face up to the Mountain Girl's ear to speak his line, these extras are shown to still be seated in their former places. See more »

Quotes

Intertitle: Universal justice, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a murder for a murder.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Constance Talmadge is credited as 'Georgia Pearce' for her performance as Marguerite de Valois in the French Story. She is credited under her own name in the role of The Mountain Girl in the Babylonian Story. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Post-War Cinema (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent Historical Perspective
8 March 2005 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

This silent film by director D.W. Griffith is well known to serious movie buffs and historians, but not to today's general public. I doubt that a lot of people these days would have the patience to sit through a film that contained three hours of silence. Nevertheless, the film's technical innovations inspired filmmakers in the 1920's and later, particularly in Russia and Japan. It also inspired filmmakers in the U.S., including Cecil B. DeMille and King Vidor. For this reason, and for other reasons, "Intolerance" is an important film.

The film's four interwoven stories, set in four different historical eras, are tied together thematically by the subject of "intolerance", a word which could be accurately interpreted today as "oppression", "injustice", "hate", "violence", and mankind's general inhumanity.

Griffith's narrative structure, though innovative, is uneven, because he gives more screen time to two of the four stories (the "modern" and the "Babylonian"). Equal time for three stories, thus deleting the fourth, might have worked better.

To me, the Babylonian story is the most interesting one because of its more complete coverage, and because of its elaborate costumes and spectacular sets. Even though there is no script, the viewer can easily discern the plot, which suggests that some of today's films might be just as effective, or more so, if screenwriters would downsize the dialogue.

What "Intolerance" offers most of all to contemporary viewers is a sense of perspective. Someone once said that despite the enormous advances in technology, society itself has advanced not at all. That may be true. In the eighty plus years since the film was released, technical advances in film-making have been obvious and impressive. But we are still plagued with the same old human demons of oppression, injustice, hate, violence, and ... intolerance.


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