A young wife and her musician husband live in poverty in a New York City tenement. The husband's job requires him to go away for for a number of days. On his return, he is robbed by the ... See full summary »
The young village minister was not quite as discreet as he might have been in fulfilling the strange trust left by the dying mother, but it certainly worked for the common good. By the ... See full summary »
Charles Hill Mailes,
A gang of thieves lure a man out of his home so that they can rob it and threaten his wife and children. The family barricade themselves in an interior room, but the criminals are ... See full summary »
The physician's death orphans his two adolescent daughters. Their older brother is able to convert some of the doctor's small estate to cash. But it is late in the day, and with the banks ... See full summary »
Two business partners pursue the same woman. She accepts the marriage proposal of the irresponsible partner, much to her later regret. He squanders money on gambling, as his interest in her... See full summary »
Henry B. Walthall,
A lonely young woman lives with her strict father who forbids her to wear make-up. One day at an ice cream social, she meets a young man you seems interested in her. However, unknown to her... See full summary »
Charles Hill Mailes
A young couple struggle to get ahead, the wife always assuaging the troubles of her melancholy husband. As he climbs the ladder of success, he abandons the homely values and takes up with ... See full summary »
When her father becomes ill, a young woman takes over the telegraph at a lonely western railroad station. She soon gets word that the next train will deliver the payroll for a mining ... See full summary »
Francis J. Grandon,
On the day of the dog feast at the Indian encampment, the waifs arrived at Elderbush Gulch. Their pet pups came with them. '"Now we eat," said the chief's son, when he saw the pup's fat little hides, but he met his death instead. "The blood of the whites," cried the red men, and all on account of two small dogs, the settlement at Elderbush Gulch was wiped from the map. Yet many strong hearts lived to tell the tale, along with the dogs, the waifs and the baby.Written by
Moving Picture World synopsis
In 1972 Kemp Niver and Historical Films of Los Angeles published 'D. W. Griffith's The Battle of Elderbush Gulch,' a reconstruction of the film from frame enlargements. See more »
In the 1920s, the Aywon Film Corporation distributed a 37 minute version; the added length is due to the editing and new titling by M.G. Cohn and J.F. Natteford. This version includes extended opening credits and added intertitles in the style of 1920s titling. See more »
No other film before "The Birth of a Nation" better shows the potential D.W. Griffith could direct something of such scope than does "The Battle at Elderbush Gulch". His direction of the battle scenes here are the best precursor to those in "The Birth of a Nation", even so much as for this website to say that the later film references this one. Griffith's last picture for Biograph, "Judith of Bethulia", had battle scenes, too, but nothing was added to the grammar. It was a larger battle than the one in this film, yet Griffith didn't have the budget or time to make it grand. He was going over-budget and making a feature-length film without permission from studio-heads.
The battle scenes in this film are on a smaller scale. Within that battle, there's focus on small skirmishes via extensive crosscutting. It's brutal--an infant is tossed around at one point, which I hope was a trick-shot of some sort. There's lots of smoke. There are multiple plot lines throughout, which are interlinked fluently in the climax.
All of this creates an omniscient, unrestricted narrative. The bird's eye views of the fighting are a style still used today, although the irises aren't. Griffith and Billy Bitzer further display their mastering of camera distance with frequent use of medium shots. They hadn't figured out how to do an onrush shot yet, though, as the camera position of the cavalry is boring; they'd correct that in "The Birth of a Nation". There's the missing wall in interior shots; they'd never correct that.
As fellow posters have condemned, this film is a precursor of "The Birth of a Nation" in another way: racism. Although I suppose it is racism either way, I doubt that Griffith intended to portray Native Americans ridiculously (he clearly stated that he considered Blacks to be childlike, although he didn't agree that was racist), but rather it was the result of his lack of understanding any particular tribal culture or fully understanding film representation. Bad acting didn't help, either. Only Lillian Gish and Mae Marsh really knew what they're doing. Anyhow, Griffith's earlier short film, "The Redman's View" was an attempt to be respectful of the Native-American population, even though it's a boring movie.
(Note: This is one of three short films by D.W. Griffith that I've commented on, with some arrangement in mind. The other films are "A Corner in Wheat" and "The Girl and Her Trust".)
16 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this