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Judith of Bethulia (1914)

Not Rated | | Drama | 8 March 1914 (USA)
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.

Director:

D.W. Griffith
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Cast

Cast overview:
Blanche Sweet ... Judith
Henry B. Walthall ... Holofernes
Mae Marsh ... Naomi
Robert Harron ... Nathan - Son of Eliah
Kate Bruce ... Marah - Judith's Servant
Lillian Gish ... The Young Mother
J. Jiquel Lanoe J. Jiquel Lanoe ... Holofernes' Eunuch Attendant
Gertrude Bambrick Gertrude Bambrick ... Lead Assyrian Dancer
Dorothy Gish ... The Crippled Beggar
Harry Carey ... Assyrian Traitor
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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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Taglines:

This is the Picture pronounced by Ex-President Roosevelt to be "His Idea of the Pinacle of Motion Picture Achievements" (Print Ad- Independent Press, ((Bloomfield NJ)) 7 August 1914)

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "Judith of Bethulia" by Thomas Bailey Aldrich opened at Daly's Theatre on December 5, 1904 and ran for 16 performances. 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 »

Quotes

Judith: Hear me and I will do a thing which shall go through all generations.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Birth of Hollywood: Episode #1.1 (2011) See more »

User Reviews

 
JUDITH OF BETHULIA (D. W. Griffith, 1914) **1/2
2 April 2009 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This was something of a milestone – denoting a leap for pioneer D.W. Griffith from his customary one or two-reelers to a then considerable length of 49 minutes in this version (its length may vary on account of differing speeds utilized during projection of Silent movies) as well as from a modern-day, or at least American, setting towards apparently unlimited scope. In that regard alone, JUDITH OF BETHULIA is worthy of attention – but Griffith's Victorian sensibilities (which he could never, or would not, shake off) still ground it into the antediluvian quality of film-making which is perhaps the most common objection raised by certain viewers nowadays to watching Silent pictures! Anyway, this was obviously inspired by the Old Testament tale in which a saintly woman sacrifices her dignity in order to release the Jewish people (depicted as long-bearded stereotypes which would not go down well today!) from oppression by the Assyrian army: she ingratiates herself within the affections of King Holofernes, whom she gets drunk one night and decapitates – after which the invaders disperse. Apart from a lengthy offensive outside the city walls, the running-time is padded-out with the plight of a young couple (the boy is a brave warrior and the girl eventually enslaved inside the enemy camp) and, also appearing from time to time, is Lillian Gish in a typical role symbolizing motherhood. Unfortunately, the print I acquired of this 95-year old title was extremely fuzzy – rendering the elaborate and often chaotic visuals even harder to make out – and it was accompanied besides by one of the most incongruous scores I have ever heard, approximating to a circus jingle (complete with laugh track!) which one finds at its most jubilant when the on-screen events seem to demand emotions of an entirely different nature!!


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 March 1914 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Her Condoned Sin See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Biograph Company See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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