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Judith of Bethulia (1914)

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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Cast

Credited cast:
... Judith
... Holofernes
... Naomi
... Nathan
... The Young Mother
... The crippled beggar
Kate Bruce ... Judith's maid
J. Jiquel Lanoe ... Eunuch Attendant
... Assyrian Traitor
W. Chrystie Miller ... Bethulian
... Bethulian Soldier
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

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

8 March 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Her Condoned Sin  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000 (estimated)
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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

Featured in Hollywood (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Griffith's Admirable Attempt at a Full-length Feature
20 September 2015 | by See all my reviews

Judith of Bethulia tells the story of the Assyrian attack on the Israelite city of Bethulia led by Holofernes (Henry Walthall), and devout widow Judith (Blanche Sweet) who is to be the savior of her people.

Judith of Bethulia is the precursor to Griffith epics such as Intolerance and Birth of a Nation. The film itself somehow lacks the harmony that the following films do, but this was Griffith's first attempt at a full-length feature (though it was his second to be released), and for that props must be given. In fact, he composed it without the knowledge Biograph, for the company had decided against producing anything longer than two reels. Biograph refused to release the film until 1914, by which time Griffith had left the studio.

It is evident that the finished product is not what Griffith intended. The subplot between lovers Naomi (Mae Marsh) and Nathan (Robert Harron) is somewhat abandoned for the primary action between Judith and Holofernes, and then is re-acknowledged and tied up very quickly. His impeccable story telling and ability to evoke emotion are evident as always and the film is very engaging, but I cannot help but feel that the film is lacking in some aspect. The sets and costumes are however gorgeous as are the performances by the cast. Had Biograph been initially supportive of Griffith's dream, I believe the film could have been a masterpiece equaling Intolerance. We are instead left with a beautiful early attempt at such an epic.


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