Description : He transformed a nickelodeon novelty into a new art form and a powerful, glamorous American industry. He codified the rules and techniques of screen story-telling, and pioneered the conventions that brought films to life, from surging spectacle to soul-baring close-ups. A poor farm boy from the South, Griffith rose to fame with The Birth of a Nation, a cinematic masterpiece stained by the racism that infected his heritage. Though he went on to direct some of the most legendary films of the silent era, Griffith was doomed by his over-reaching drives, and he died an embittered man, shunned by the community he had largely created. His story is told here with unsparing truth and compelling narrative sweep.
Description : The most comprehensive volume on one of the most controversial directors in American film history A Companion to D.W. Griffith offers an exhaustive look at the first acknowledged auteur of the cinema and provides an authoritative account of the director’s life, work, and lasting filmic legacy. The text explores how Griffith’s style and status advanced along with cinema’s own development during the years when narrative became the dominant mode, when the short gave way to the feature, and when film became the pre-eminent form of mass entertainment. Griffith was at the centre of each of these changes: though a contested figure, he remains vital to any understanding of how cinema moved from nickelodeon fixture to a national pastime, playing a significant role in the cultural ethos of America. With the renewed interest in Griffith’s contributions to the film industry, A Companion to D.W. Griffith offers a scholarly look at a career that spanned more than 25 years. The editor, a leading scholar on D.W. Griffith, and the expert contributors collectively offer a unique account of one of the monumental figures in film studies. Presents the most authoritative, complete account of the director’s life, work, and lasting legacy Builds on the recent resurgence in the director’s scholarly and popular reputation Edited by a leading authority on D.W. Griffith, who has published extensively on this controversial director Offers the most up-to-date, singularly comprehensive volume on one of the monumental figures in film studies
Description : Exhaustively researched and accessibly written, D.W. Griffith: Master of Cinema is a remarkably comprehensive biography of the legendary director and his days creating his craft at the American Biograph Company between 1908 through 1913. Meticulously detailed, utilizing a wealth of archival documents and photographs, the book effectively details Griffith’s place as a film pioneer. Even a casual film fan can see the lines being drawn from the techniques Griffith developed to modern cinematic experience. Ira Gallen’s exploration of Griffith’s family and his early life sets the stage for his career, and give great context for who he would become. His intricate details about early stage and film paint such a vivid and evocative picture of the time that you will be truly drawn into another world while reading it.
Description : Iris Barry (1895–1969) was a pivotal modern figure and one of the first intellectuals to treat film as an art form, appreciating its far-reaching, transformative power. Although she had the bearing of an aristocrat, she was the self-educated daughter of a brass founder and a palm-reader from the Isle of Man. An aspiring poet, Barry attracted the attention of Ezra Pound and joined a demimonde of Bloomsbury figures, including Ford Maddox Ford, T. S. Eliot, Arthur Waley, Edith Sitwell, and William Butler Yeats. She fell in love with Pound's eccentric fellow Vorticist, Wyndham Lewis, and had two children by him. In London, Barry pursued a career as a novelist, biographer, and critic of motion pictures. In America, she joined the modernist Askew Salon, where she met Alfred Barr, director of the new Museum of Modern Art. There she founded the museum's film department and became its first curator, assuring film's critical legitimacy. She convinced powerful Hollywood figures to submit their work for exhibition, creating a new respect for film and prompting the founding of the International Federation of Film Archives. Barry continued to augment MoMA's film library until World War II, when she joined the Office of Strategic Services to develop pro-American films with Orson Welles, Walt Disney, John Huston, and Frank Capra. Yet despite her patriotic efforts, Barry's "foreignness" and association with such filmmakers as Luis Buñuel made her the target of an anticommunist witch hunt. She eventually left for France and died in obscurity. Drawing on letters, memorabilia, and other documentary sources, Robert Sitton reconstructs Barry's phenomenal life and work while recasting the political involvement of artistic institutions in the twentieth century.
Description : The Films of D. W. Griffith serves as an introduction to, and a cultural argument for, the work of the first widely acknowledged master filmmaker. Situating D. W. Griffith within film history and American studies, Scott Simmon addresses Griffith's competing reputations as a genius of cinematic form and a retrograde purveyor of reactionary and racist tales. His study includes extended discussion of Griffith's controversial drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction, The Birth of a Nation, and of his grandiose historical epic, Intolerance, but identifies his enduring work within the approximately 450 shorter films that he directed for the Biograph Company between 1908 and 1913, years of rapid change in the film industry. Major discussion is given to the evolution of Griffith's Biograph films about contemporary city life and to his early domestic melodramas or 'woman's films'. In this cultural reading, Griffith's films are located at a crisis point between two centuries, drawing power from the popular attitudes of nineteenth-century America as they create the patterns for the twentieth century's most distinctive art form.
Description : The Biograph Company was the most influential American film studio of its time. In 1908 D.W. Griffith, the most important filmmaker in the history of world cinema, joined the company. Until late 1913 he served as Biograph's leading director and/or production supervisor for over 800 films. This fundamental reference guide details that work. Each film is fully documented, with production information, cast, and credits. Biograph refused to release the names of its players but here, for the first time, all of those players, major and minor, are authoritatively identified. With complete cross-index.
Description : In this deeply researched and vividly written volume, Melvyn Stokes illuminates the origins, production, reception and continuing history of this ground-breaking, aesthetically brilliant, and yet highly controversial movie. By going back to the original archives, particularly the NAACP and D. W. Griffith Papers, Stokes explodes many of the myths surrounding The Birth of a Nation (1915). Yet the story that remains is fascinating: the longest American film of its time, Griffith's film incorporated many new features, including the first full musical score compiled for an American film. It was distributed and advertised by pioneering methods that would quickly become standard. Through the high prices charged for admission and the fact that it was shown, at first, only in "live" theaters with orchestral accompaniment, Birth played a major role in reconfiguring the American movie audience by attracting more middle-class patrons. But if the film was a milestone in the history of cinema, it was also undeniably racist. Stokes shows that the darker side of this classic movie has its origins in the racist ideas of Thomas Dixon, Jr. and Griffith's own Kentuckian background and earlier film career. The book reveals how, as the years went by, the campaign against the film became increasingly successful. In the 1920s, for example, the NAACP exploited the fact that the new Ku Klux Klan, which used Griffith's film as a recruiting and retention tool, was not just anti-black, but also anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish, as a way to mobilize new allies in opposition to the film. This crisply written book sheds light on both the film's racism and the aesthetic brilliance of Griffith's filmmaking. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the cinema.