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

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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)
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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 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 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:

The Unholy Love See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

24 February 1918 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Intolerance See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$385,907 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,180,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis appear as solo dancers on the Babylonian steps. Though St, Denis always denied this (insisting she had never appeared in silent films), Shawn confirmed the appearance. The couple operated their famous Denishawn dance school in Los Angeles at the time and were major dance stars of the era. See more »

Goofs

In the modern story, when Jenkins stops outside the dance hall, he picks up a coin in one hand. In the next shot (a close-up of the coin), it is in the opposite hand. See more »

Quotes

Judge of the Court: To be hanged by the neck until dead, dead, dead!
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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 movie was officially restored in 1989 by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill for Thames Television. It was transferred from the best available 35mm materials, color-tinted per D.W. Griffith's intent, and contains a digitally recorded orchestral score by Carl Davis. This 176-minute version was released on video worldwide, but has never been telecast in the U.S. See more »

Connections

Edited into The Fall of Babylon (1919) See more »

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User Reviews

The Greatest Movie of all time... almost
3 November 2002 | by jkogradySee all my reviews

I first saw this picture as a teenager some thirty years ago. I had no idea what to expect; all I knew was the famous still of Belshazzar's feast which has become one of the best known icons depicting the extravagance of crazy old Hollywood. But I was astounded and bowled over by what I saw. I will make no attempt at a plot synopsis here, since several other reviewers on this site have done so. Most readers already know that Griffith set out to tell four separate stories, laid in four widely spaced historical periods, and that he intercut freely between them, increasing the tempo as the film proceeded, and attempted to bring all four to a climax simultaneously. Clearly he bit off more than he, or anybody, could chew; but the fact that the limits of what cinema could do were being pushed so hard so early is what fascinated me then, and still fascinates me now. I wish to heaven that college film courses would just blow off "Birth of a Nation" and consign it to the oblivion it largely deserves, and show "Intolerance" instead, for this indeed is Griffith's monument, despite its poor state of repair; and at the risk of being technical I would like to address this. I have noticed that the one negative comment running most consistently through the reviews posted on this website is the relative lack of weight given to the French and Judaean sequences relative to the Modern and Babylonian narratives. This is largely the fault of the movie's checkered preservation history. When "Intolerance" failed to make huge sums at the box office, Griffith released the Babylonian and Modern stories as individual features in 1919, reshooting some scenes along the way. He cut up the original negative (gasp!) to do this, and by the time he decided to reassemble the whole movie in 1926, it turned out that all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't quite put Humpty Dumpty back together again. There was never a shooting script, or a written continuity; Griffith kept the whole thing in his head, and moreover could never stop tinkering with it while it was in release! Consequently, while the Babylonian and Modern stories have survived largely intact, the French and Judaean episodes were depleted by about half. So when we see it now we must recognize that we are viewing a broken sculpture. The movie is a restorer's nightmare; almost a third of its 2000- plus shots exist in variant versions, and the captions were rewritten more than once. But, broken as it is, it's still magnificent. There has never been, and will never again be, anything like it. It has all of Griffith's inconsistencies: subtle and naturalistic acting from Mae Marsh and Robert Harron as the luckless couple in the Modern Story are seen cheek by jowl with outrageous mugging by Walter Long as the Musketeer of the Slums, or Josephine Crowell's Catherine de Medici in France; but no masterpiece on this scale is ever consistent, after all. I love Connie Talmadge's Mountain Girl from Babylon; smart, funny and crazy. Other favorites: Tully Marshall as the villainous Priest of Bel; Seena Owen as the Princess beloved, my personal nomination for Most Fabulous Body of the Hollywood 1910s, never mind the deranged costumes; Alfred Paget as a genuinely humane Belshazzar; Howard Gaye as a believable and totally unforced Jesus. Everything the silent screen of 1916 could do, good, bad, subtle, overblown, crazy or glorious is embodied here; and Griffith never rode so high again. The most satisfactory version currently available, in my opinion, is the Kino on Video edition on vhs and dvd, the one illustrated when you first call the picture up on this site. There are some problems and a few missing bits that I take exception to, but overall this is the version that first time viewers should try.


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