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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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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

'Lillian Gish' claimed that D.W. Griffith invented false eyelashes for this film in 1916. Griffith wanted Seena Owen (who plays Attarea, the Princess Beloved, in the film's Babylonian segment) with lashes luxurious enough to brush her cheeks when she blinked. In collaboration with a wigmaker, who did the actual fabricating, the solution Griffith was credited with involved weaving human hair through a fine strip of gauze, creating false eyelashes. However, like many Hollywood legends, this claim proves to not be true. In 1911, a Canadian woman named Anna Taylor received a U.S. patent for the artificial eyelash; hers was a crescent of fabric implanted with tiny hairs. And even before that, hairdressers and makeup artists tried a similar trick. A German named Charles Nestle (nee Karl Nessler) manufactured false lashes in the early 20th century and used the profit from sales to finance his next invention - the permanent wave. By 1915, Nestle had opened a New York hair-perming salon on East 49th Street, with lashes as his sideline. Also, one of the earliest known attempts to enhance eyelashes was during the times of the Ancient Egyptians, when royalty used black powder called 'kohl' to protect their eyes against sand, dust and bugs. However, this was to provide practical benefits, rather than cosmetic. See more »

Goofs

While the vestal virgins of uplift are at the party given by Ms. Jenkins, and are indoors the whole time, the feathers on their hats flutter and their dresses are blown as if by a breeze. This sort of thing occurs in numerous indoor scenes throughout the film, since interiors were shot on outdoor sets. See more »

Quotes

Intertitle: When women cease to attract men, they often turn to reform as a second option.
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 Good morning Babilonia (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating - Even Its Flaws Are Interesting
7 November 2002 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Everything about this movie is fascinating, even its numerous flaws. It is as ambitious a movie as has ever been made, and if you adjust for the era, it might also be the most lavish, expensive, and painstaking. Even today the scope and detail stand out, despite the many technical limitations in its era. Likewise, the enormous cast list contains many names that silent film fans will recognize at once, with well-known performers even in some of the minor roles. Then, you could write many pages about the stories, which are filled with weaknesses, but which are also so interesting that you never want to miss what will happen next.

The concept behind "Intolerance" is as enterprising as it gets: no fewer than four complete, independent story-lines, with the movie switching back-and-forth among them, not necessarily in consecutive order but with a definite plan in mind, all in order to get across the idea suggested by the title - that is, that intolerance of others' beliefs or lifestyles has been a destructive force throughout history. It is generally understood that there is a strong dose of defensiveness behind this plan, since the ideas promoted in Griffith's previous film had earned for him some severe and well-justified criticism. This personal motivation could well explain why "Intolerance" is often so overblown, and it also is interesting in light of the stories chosen to illustrate the main themes.

The two most straightforward stories - the persecution of the Huguenots in 16th century France, and the persecution of Jesus Christ by the religious leaders of his day - are also the most believable, and yet they do not seem to get quite the screen time or the lavish detail of the other two. The contemporary story may have been the most important to Griffith, and it is a full-scale melodrama, full of heavy-handed developments and very unlikely coincidences, yet certainly a story that will hold your attention. The Babylonian story is at once the strangest choice, the most extravagant, and the most fascinating of all. As history, it is as distorted as (or more so than) any of today's movies. Trying to pass off Belshazzar of Babylon as a model of justice and tolerance is just weird, and the entire historical scenario is at best an imaginative embellishment of the truth. But the involved story that Griffith tells in this setting is so exciting and entertaining that you just can't take your eyes away from it.

Much, much more could be said, but anyone with an interest in silent movies or in cinema history will want to watch it and draw his or her own conclusions. Whether you want to analyze the vast array of themes, events, and ideas, or whether you just want to sit back and enjoy a fascinating spectacle, the three hours fly by very quickly, and it's a movie you won't forget.


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