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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lillian Gish claimed that D.W. Griffith invented false eyelashes for this film in 1916. He 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 wig maker, 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 US patent for the artificial eyelash; hers was a crescent of fabric implanted with tiny hairs. 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 profits from sales to finance his next invention--the permanent wave. By 1915 Nestle had opened a New York hair-perming salon on E. 49th St., with lashes as his sideline. Also, one of the earliest known attempts to enhance eyelashes was by 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 »
As the Jenkin's factory militia goes to attack the striking workers, the shadows of a camera and two cameramen, one on either side, are cast onto the ground in front. See more »
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 »
A print of Intolerance was put together by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, restoring to the film scenes that were excised and that survive only in single badly-damaged still frames. These scenes were:
In the Jerusalem scenes: more shots of the market with a dove seller that is visible in a long shot that exists in the film; an interlude between the priests and Mary Magdalen; an extension of the wedding ceremony for the bride and groom of Cana.
In the Babylonian scenes: more shots of the battle scenes and feasting; a scene at the jury where Josef Henaberry has a cameo as an agonized husband. Henaberry talked about this scene in Kevin Brownlow's book The Parade's Gone By.
In the French scenes: a whole subplot in which the assassination of a Huguenot politician (not Coligny) is plotted and carried out (this story is real, the actual events having occurred at Blois in 1572); a street scene that occurs before we meet Brown Eyes and Prosper - a woman calls out from a window "Look out below!" and dumps the (liquid) contents of a chamber pot into the street below, just as a pedestrian jumps out of the way; a couple more shots of the wedding procession.
In the Modern scenes: more scenes of the Modern Pharisees doing their evil deeds.
How on Earth was D.W Griffith able to make this movie back in 1916? Back in the days when the audience were having a hard time focusing on two parallell stories, Griffith gave them four... This is a tremendous spectacle, way ahead of its time, and hardly dated at all. OK, the acting is a little bit over the edge (although Mae Marsh is a personal favourite of mine) and the subtitles are sometimes ridiculous, but the message that this movie brings is absolutely timeless. In fact, this is really the first movie with a vision, an idea. A major influence on Russian director Eisenstein, one has to wonder: Would there have been a Potemkin without this masterpiece? The Birth of a nation is in some ways superior to Intolerance, but for pure strength, innovation and boldness, Intolerance is unsurpassed and unsurpassable. The greatest movie of all times.
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