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

Passed | | Drama, History | October 1916 (Canada)
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The story of a poor young woman, separated by prejudice from her husband and baby, is interwoven with tales of intolerance from throughout history.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writers:

D.W. Griffith (scenario), Anita Loos (titles)
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lillian Gish ... The Woman Who Rocks the Cradle / Eternal Mother
Mae Marsh ... The Dear One
Robert Harron ... The Boy
F.A. Turner ... The Dear One's Father (as Fred Turner)
Sam De Grasse ... Arthur Jenkins
Vera Lewis ... Mary Jenkins
Mary Alden ... Uplifter
Eleanor Washington Eleanor Washington ... Uplifter
Pearl Elmore Pearl Elmore ... Uplifter
Lucille Browne Lucille Browne ... Uplifter
Julia Mackley ... Uplifter (as Mrs. Arthur Mackley)
Miriam Cooper ... The Friendless One
Walter Long ... The Musketeer of the Slums / Babylonian Warrior
Tom Wilson ... The Kindly Policeman
Ralph Lewis ... 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:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

October 1916 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mother and the Law See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$385,907 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Babylonian orgy sequence alone cost $200,000 when it was shot. That's nearly twice the overall budget of The Birth of a Nation (1915), another D.W. Griffith film and, at the time, the record holder for most expensive picture ever made. 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: Seeing youth drawn to youth, Miss Jenkins realizes the bitter fact that she is no longer a part of the younger world.
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 »

Alternate Versions

The Kino version contains an alternate ending to the "Fall of Babylon" segment where the wounded Mountain Girl falls into the arms of the Rhapsode, and they leave happily to start a new life. See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent Historical Perspective
8 March 2005 | by LechuguillaSee 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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