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

Passed | | Drama, History | 24 February 1918 (Italy)
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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:

- 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:

24 February 1918 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mother and the Law 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

One of the intertitles is a quote from "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" by Oscar Wilde: "And wondered if each one of us/ Would end the self-same way,/ For none can tell to what red Hell/ His sightless soul may stray". See more »

Goofs

During the Babylonian bacchanal, the same extra, dressed as a slave girl, is standing behind both Belshazzar and Beloved. She is looking in different directions and has her arms in different positions in each shot. See more »

Quotes

The Boy: Say kid, you're going to be my chicken.
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 laserdisc version contains a scene not featured on the DVD: when the Boy escapes execution and rejoins his wife, the baby is brought back home (which would take the running time to 198 minutes if released on DVD). See more »

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User Reviews

 
This deserves a 10 for technical merit and a 3 for watchability today
29 June 2007 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

It's very hard to review INTOLERANCE today, as the film is so old fashioned that even comparing it to films made just a decade later is a problem. When it debuted in 1916, it was a technical masterpiece due to D. W. Griffith's insane spending habits--with the millions he sank into the film with these extraordinary sets, it couldn't help but knock the socks off the audience. The film featured live elephants (plus a few papier mache ones that were well camouflaged), thousands of extras and sets that even by today's standards are amazing. The huge walls of Babylon and the enormous statues are NOT matte paintings but were actually built for this amazing film. The problem, though, is that although people DID come to see the film, they never came in large enough numbers to recoup production costs and it was a huge box office failure. I think part of this might have been because while the film was beautiful to look at, the narrative was very confused (being made up of four separate films inter-spliced together) as well as extremely preachy AND sexy (now THAT's a unique combination).

A lot of these problems could have been avoided by simply making four separate films--or at least filming one or two of the best sequences only. Plus, two of the sequences (the story of Jesus and the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre) seemed too choppy and incomplete--like they were more afterthoughts of Griffith. The two remaining sequences, the Babylonian and the one set in 1916 had much more merit. While the Babylonian one was pretty silly in many ways, it was by far the most visually appealing and just overwhelms the viewer. The 1916 sequence had simple contemporary sets and had an excellent story that paralleled the stingy Puritanism of John D. Rockefeller--and this alone would have made an excellent film. But when all the films were combined with their tenuous and schmaltzy message, the overall picture really bogged down and is almost laughably bad in spots. What I particularly found interesting were scenes with Jesus appearing along with some very, very risqué scenes of practically naked dancing girls from Babylon! What this film DESPERATELY needed was a producer--not D. W. Griffith tossing in everything but the proverbial kitchen sink into an overblown mega-picture that couldn't help but fail.


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