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1. D.W. Griffith: An American Life
2. D.W. Griffith and the Origins
3. D.W. Griffith's the Birth of a
4. The Films of D. W. Griffith (Cambridge
5. Adventure With D.W. Griffith
6. D.W. Griffith's Intolerance: Its
7. Adventures with D.W. Griffith
9. The Man Who Invented Hollywood
11. D. W. Griffith: The Years at Biograph
12. D. W. Griffith's Film, The Birth
13. Dinner with D. W. Griffith and
14. Orphans Of The Storm
15. Thinking in Pictures: Dramatic
16. Stagestruck Filmmaker: D. W. Griffith
17. The Finite Element Method
18. Billy Bitzer, His Story, (The
19. D. W. Griffith, titan of the film
20. D.W. Griffith (Cinema/pluriel)

1. D.W. Griffith: An American Life
by Richard Schickel
Paperback: 672 Pages (2004-07-01)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$14.00
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Asin: 087910080X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"This magnificent and important biography...is the best ever written on the man." -The New Republic "Mr. Schickel's excellent and important biography makes it clear that when the movers of our century are tallied, D.W. Griffith, flawed genius that he was, can never lose his eminent position." -Peter Bogdanovich, The New York Times Book Review ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars He lost it at the movies
Believe it or not, in five yearsD W Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation" will be a century old. Griffith's remarkable career, his successes and his failures, are closely described in Richard Schickel's long biography "D W Griffith: An American Life", published by Simon and Schuster in 1984. Schickel, author and film critic of Time, obviously admires Griffith, that "paragon of energy", but he sees the faults that even Griffith's most ardent film-school admirers must acknowledge. The adjective in that subtitle is not arbitrary: Griffith was born and raised in Kentucky, the son of a CSA veteran, and he was nurtured on Civil War stories and a worship of "the South's best friend" Abraham Lincoln. He wandered into show business almost by accident, starting off as an actor (with the stage name Lawrence Griffith), first on the stage and then in the very early silents. He also fancied himself a poet, and one of his effusions, published in Leslie's Weekly, is presented by Schickel in toto, leaving the astonished reader to wonder how such drivel ever got into print. It must have been much easier to get published in 1907. At any rate, it was as both writer and actor that he entered Biograph, casually located on 14th Street, not far from Union Square, and soon he became one of the studio's primary directors, introducing the technical innovations which some historians say were not entirely his, handling literally dozens of one-reelers and in the process discovering personalities like Mary Pickford and the Gish sisters. Incidently, I have to say I never cease to be amazed at the rapidity with which the studio and star systems developed, not only in the United States but in Europe and even in Japan, where Griffith's films have been admired and re-made. (Amazon.com readers who are interested in Japanese movie history should check out "The Japanese Film: Art and Industry" by Joseph L Anderson and Donald Richie, a fascinating volume packed with stills and information.) Eventually Griffith had such trust from executives he could demand the control of a 12-reel Civil War epic, America's answer to European spectacles such as Italy's pre-Metro "Quo Vadis". Griffith had moved operations to California by then, and "The Birth of a Nation" was partially filmed in what is now Universal City. Upon release it was an enormous hit, but almost immediately the claims of racism began to be leveled against Griffith. Most of the Negroes in "The Birth of a Nation" (played by whites in black-face) are presented as arrogant and dangerous, but in retrospect it can be understood that Griffith saw them not as villainous but as ignorant and misguided. Griffith, like so many Southern aristocrats, claimed to have a special fondness for Negroes; but that fondness was tempered by his seeing them as simple souls, the "good ones" honest and easily frightened by the idea of ghosts. It was supposedly in answer to the accusations of prejudice that Griffith filmed "Intolerance", which really has little to do with the title attribute. In the years that followed Griffith made successful films like "Broken Blossoms" and "Way Down East", but also put out duds. Soon the duds began to outnumber the hits, and Griffith began losing his power. One of his problems in the '20s was his difficulty with talking pictures, odd for a man who foresaw the importance of color and widescreen. A few years before the release of "The Jazz Singer" he was quoted as saying: "We don't want now and we never shall want the human voice with our films." Later when he gushed "I am nutty over talking pictures!" it seems forced. It wasn't just the technology of talking pictures he had a problem with, it was the talk itself.As Schickel points out, the tough smart dialogue of the screwball comedy and the film noir would be completely at odds with Griffith's quaint sentimentality. Soon he was not working at all. His last film, a demon-rum diatribe, was released in 1931; he lived 17 more years. Compare that with some directors who virtually directed from their death beds. Displaced Romantic that he was, he turned to alcohol, and soon he was often behaving badly in public. "In all the long years of wandering and confusion ..." Schickel writes, "he had lost touch with his best self."But Schickel ends his big strong book (which only gets a little dry when Schickel is dealing with Griffith's incredibly complicated financial affairs) with the observation that, because of Griffith's accomplishments, we "have new ways of seeing ... the world through fresh eyes, in a new light". Finally in the biography is a "checklist" of Griffith's films, including (after 1914) the dates of release and the New York theaters where they were first shown. Sadly, most of those theaters are long gone.

4-0 out of 5 stars More about Schickel Than Griffith, Sometimes
When I started reading this book, I was advised by a friend that while it is the best book on Griffith thusfar, it is still somewhat superficial. Another friend referred to it as "ponderous."While I gathered my own thoughts during the reading of this 600-page tome, I have to agree with both assessments.

Richard Schickel did meticulous research in the years that he worked on this biography (which was released in 1984).He was blessed to have access to people who actually knew and worked with Griffith, all of whom are now gone.Schickel is also a well-known film critic, so he had his "street cred" before the book was ever released.There is a lengthy sections of notes, a filmography and bibliography.The research, and the film criticism, are both blessings and curses from a reading standpoint.

An abundance of research without a light hand in the sharing of what's learned can lead to a dry, heavy-handed read.Schickel has moments when he tries to be entertaining as well as education, but we are still treated to long passages regarding stock options and contract clauses.For all his digging however, the information he provides can be frustrating.Clarine Seymour is barely mentioned, while Carol Dempster is discussing in exhausting, annoying detail.

Given that Schickel is never able to shed his critic's hat as he writes, the biography is not an objective look at Griffith's work or life.Previous biographers who were sympathetic to Griffith are universally referred to as "apologists," and the reader often feels that the author is viewing Griffith's films by looking down his nose at them.We are treated to opinion offered as fact, such as "so-and-so says, correctly, that ...."Asides regarding silent film in general reflect Schickel's biases about the genre, disappointingly.

All in all, I learned a bit about D.W. Griffith in the book.I only wish that it had been presented a bit more objectively.

5-0 out of 5 stars Griffith: The real man.
D.W. Griffith is by far a fascinating and confusing character in film history.He gets the obligatory nod though Im still sad to say I meet many an aspiring director/writer/actor who doesnt even know the name (dang youth.)If he is known hes 'that old guy who made that racist movie and was in the Klan'.A heavy, and somewhat inaccurate statement (he wasnt aware of his racisim, he wasnt in the Klan, true he was older when he got into film).

Many books have been written about Griffith, and many of them took ancedotes at their word.What Griffith said was truth.In fact they overlooked the fact that he was a showman first, and tended to cast history and his legacy as he saw fit.This biography (at a weighty 800 some pages) painstakingly sorts through all this.For instance Griffith didnt go broke on Intolerance (it didnt sell well but he did turn a modest profit), he didnt make Intolerance to recitify Birth (in fact he made it as a dig at the 'moralizers' and busy bodies), he barely made any films involving race, and he wasnt ever really broke (though given his risky business dealings it was always possible).

In Whitfield's "Pickford a Woman who Made Hollywood" she says everything Griffith did he did with style.Thats true of how he portrayed his life, how he really lived his life, and even how he died (under the big chandelier of the Knickerbocker Hotel).You can debate Griffith and his work to death, but there is no more authentic, well researched, and well written biography out there then "Griffith: an American Life".

I'd like to add despite how dry such a big meaty book could be Schickel tells it an in entertaining way (after rationalizing various reasons Griffith's brother may have turned down a independence saving business move Schickel says of the brother, "Or he may just have been an idiot.")Shickel tries to dig beyond the myth and piece together the real man.I suspect hes succeeded better than anyone ever has and probably ever will.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Biography of a Film Pioneer -- Marred by Presentism
This is a lavishly detailed biography of the pioneering film director David Wark Griffith (following the prevailing custom of the time, Griffith typically was referred to by his initials and his last name, hence D. W. Griffith). Griffith is a controversial figure on account of his groundbreaking feature film success, "The Birth of a Nation." The film was set during the Civil War and Reconstruction and revolutionized movie making.

Griffith was the son of a last ditch Confederate veteran who served until Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. As a small child, Griffith idealized his father, a gentle ne'er do well, for whom the War for the Confederacy was the singular highlight of his entire existence. When his father died, Griffith was still a child of tender years and this separation only served to romanticize Griffith's memory of his beloved father to a greater degree. The significance of these vivid memories of his parent's storytelling are to be found in Griffith's landmark film "The Birth of a Nation."

Key battle sequences in the film are precise recreations of events that Griffith's own father experienced firsthand such as subsisting on parched corn when the Confederates were unable to supply their dwindling army with daily rations. Likewise, Colonel Griffith participated in a heroic battlefield charge quite like the one shown in the film.

Ostensibly an adaptation of Thomas Dixon's sensational bestselling novel and the subsequent stage play, "The Clansman," Griffith kept the billing for publicity purposes, but freely reworked the scenario to suit his own preferences. One testimonial to the effectiveness of the drama, to my mind at least, is to see how much of Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With the Wind" simply built upon the structure of Griffith's film. The original was an overwhelming financial success and fixed innumerable cliches about the Civil War in the consciousness of a generation who had only read about the fighting.

The movie radically changed the nascent film industry and soon the public demanded more feature length films and exhibitors needed to erect large theaters as the flickers were no longer a novelty to be watched solely in nickle and dime arcades. Theater owner Louis B. Mayer, the future leader of the powerful Metro Goldwyn Mayer studio, financed his entry into Hollywood by underreporting the total box office receipts from "The Birth of a Nation" and shortchanging Griffith of his rightful share of the profits.

Griffith was such a seminal figure during the development of the film industry that many of his assistants became celebrated directors after apprenticing under the master. Raoul Walsh, John Ford, Tod Browning, Erich von Stroheim, W. S. Van Dyke and William Beaudine all worked for Griffith. Following the success of "The Birth of a Nation," Griffith staged a lavish four part film entitled "Intolerance" in partial response to efforts to boycott, censor or enjoin the showing of his previous film. The film was not profitable, but Griffith became increasingly interested in staging epic spectacles and lost his way when he was unable to bring pictures in on time and on budget. Frequently, he courted financial disaster. Studio executives wanted immediate profits while Griffith was engrossed in the art of cinema. Soon he was deemed to be unreliable.

Changing public tastes also were a factor in his decline. Griffith produced melodramas that could have been staged in the limelight era. Once audiences had become more sophisticated and other movie makers had mastered his techniques, there was a greater demand for more modern and realistic stories than Griffith's homespun rural romances. After the production of the biopic "Abraham Lincoln," in 1930, Griffith was effectively finished in Hollywood. Although he had filmed the crime drama "The Musketeers of Pig Alley" on the streets of New York, employing actual gang members, no less, Griffith was considered politely old fashioned not twenty years later.

There is one major fault that must be mentioned with respect to this biography. Schickel's seems utterly nable to come to terms with Griffith's racial attitudes and his oftentimes patronizing depictions of Negroes in his films (African Americans was not the accepted term in Griffith's era). As such, the book becomes Exhibit "A" as a definitive example of the historical error of "presentism." Presentism occurs when historical figures are judged not according to the prevailing attitudes and standards of their own era, but according to contemporary and, oftentimes, politically correct standards. Using these criteria, many past persons are found guilty of having failed to conform to the societal expectations of an enlightened future era in which they did not live.

In fairness, men such as Griffith are entitled to be judged based upon their own generations, not ours. While it is valid to compare and contrast differences in opinions and standards by way of explanation, it is unjust to condemn Griffith for failing to join the civil rights movement decades before such a movement came into existence.

The racist sentiments contained in Griffith's films are an accurate reflection of the biased opinions that were widespread in 1915. It should be remembered that President Woodrow Wilson was instrumental in segregating the District of Columbia at the same approximate time that "The Birth of a Nation" was being filmed. The newly established NAACP attempted to have the film suppressed and numerous lawsuits were filed seeking to enjoin its exhibition. In certain cities, their efforts were successful.

To Schickel's credit, he summarizes virtually all of Griffith's many films, including many short subjects and feature films that no longer exist. Griffith was a largely forgotten man when he died in a nondescript Los Angeles hotel. Hollywood's leading hypocrites belatedly staged a fitting memorial service to honor Griffith after neglecting him for more than a decade and a half. Not quite thirty years earlier, Griffith had founded United Artist Studios.

There is a wealth of information to be found in this book, but the biographer's liberal biases detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book.

4-0 out of 5 stars a few points of correction.
because this book has been so obsessively researched --&, largely, that shows-- it is discomfitting to find easily fixed errors in it.

i refer, spefically, to the years the author thinks antia loos & lillian gish were born-- not a big deal, perhaps, if the errors were off by a single year, but they are off by closer to 10.

lillian gish, terribly important (obviously) in this biography, was around *30*, not 23, when she played the 15-year-old in "broken blossoms."

similar mistake as concerns the age of anita loos: she was NOT a teenager when she sold her first script ("the new york hat" or no) to biograph.

again, simple & seemingly somewhat insignificant errors, but when this information is so easily checked, & has not been bothered w/, it makes one wonder about the other facts in this book. ... Read more

2. D.W. Griffith and the Origins of American Narrative Film: THE EARLY YEARS AT BIOGRAPH
by Tom Gunning
Paperback: 328 Pages (1993-09-01)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$21.66
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Asin: 025206366X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Only for the serious film student!
This book is a very academic study focussing on D. W. Griffith's work in the years 1908-09, which marked the transition from moving pictures as a novelty or gimmick to an actual `story film' as we know them today.Griffith has been honoured with titles like `the Father of Film', and is credited with introducing many directing, filming and editing techniques which are commonplace today, and anyone with a serious interest in the development of cinema would most likely benefit from this book.But put your thinking-cap on first; this is no easy, entertaining read before bedtime!The approach, the language and the analysis used by the author demand concentration, proper attention and respect.It would also be very helpful for the reader to have some previous knowledge of early film development in the first decade of the 1900s, or at least have seen Griffith's `shorts' from the years prior to 1913. Fortunately, I had just finished reading "The Transformation of Cinema, 1907-1915" by Eileen Bowser which was a good, solid introduction to all the factors which led to cinema developing into what it is now, and therefore I was able to follow "The Origins of American Narrative Film" reasonably easily, although one or two chapters at the beginning and end were slightly challenging.

The author, Tom Gunning, has made a very fine effort in drawing together some of the main factors which moulded the film industry in the years 1908-09, and attempts to be fair by explaining how Griffith found ideas and inspiration from previous film makers, the social trends and the push by `reformers' who were trying to make moving pictures appeal to the middle-class audiences.I found these aspects very interesting, and they give a good, well-rounded picture of history and how certain people like Griffith find and make their place in history.Apart from these accounts, the author has gone into great detail with some of Griffith's films to clearly explain certain techniques which Griffith employed, such as cut-ins and parallel editing - things that we take for granted today, but were a surprising novelty nearly a century ago.There are quite a few photographs from the films in question and also many notes for further reference and reading, but for me personally, I enjoyed gaining a deeper insight into how the narrative film, ie the story film, emerged.Films were not always as they are now, with good stories and plots, suspense, intrigue, close-ups, editing to create excitement, etc.These things had to be thought-out and developed:the format of a good book had to be `translated' to the new film medium, and Griffith was at the forefront in America in these critical years of 1908-09.There is only one chapter dealing with Griffith's work after these years up to 1915, and the book discusses only Griffith's work, not any aspects of Griffith personally - the main focus of the book being this turning point in film history, and having all these techniques explained to me more thoroughly has left me with an even deeper appreciation and respect for both Griffith and films in general.Definitely a worth while read for the serious silent film enthusiast or film historian.
... Read more

3. D.W. Griffith's the Birth of a Nation: A History of the Most Controversial Motion Picture of All Time
by Melvyn Stokes
Paperback: 432 Pages (2008-01-15)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$19.97
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Asin: 0195336798
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive analysis of the film and the reaction to it
If you are interested in the The Birth of a Nation, how it came to be made, its place in movie history, and the reaction to it, this is the book for you.For the casual movie fan, the level of detail is probably overkill.Melvyn Stokes, a British academic, appears to have read the entire voluminous scholarly literature on the movie; he also did significant archival work, particularly in the papers of the NAACP.As can be seen from the picture of an NAACP protest on the cover of the book, that group's decades long attempt to suppress the movie is a key focus of the book.In addition, though, Stokes provides useful and interesting background on the life of Thomas Dixon, the now (thankfully!) forgotten author of the books The Birth of A Nation is based on, as well as on Griffith's pre-Birth movie career.I found the discussion of how the film was marketed to be particularly interesting.Stokes also is quite good on the contrast between the actual history of the Reconstruction era and the history of this period contained in the film.Griffith apparently offered $10,000 to anyone who could show that there was a significant historical inaccuracy in the film.It's amazing that no one took him up on it!Stokes's discussion of the film's impact seems evenhanded.Although there are those who blame it for significantly helping to bring about a revival of the Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s, Stokes doubts that the film's influence was that extensive.

I have a few small quibbles:I was surprised that there wasn't more discussion of the actual filming.I don't know how much is known about this, but it would have been interesting to have had a longer discussion of how Griffith decided what to include in the film, what changes he may have made during the months of filming, and whether he always intended to make the Ku Klux Klan the heroes of the film.The film is often described as having various running times, so it would also have been useful to have had a discussion of the different versions of the film and some indication of which of the existing versions comes closest to what audiences in 1915 are likely to have seen.

The book inspired me to finally watch The Birth of a Nation all the way through, and there was quite a lot in it that I found surprising.Although it was apparently a technical leap forward for the time, not being a silent movie buff, I will have to take the opinion of Stokes and other scholars for this.To my mind, the picture is technically quite primitive.The makeup on many of the actors seems crudely applied, the acting is often overwrought, and -- most surprisingly -- it doesn't seem well photographed.Even the famous battle scenes are difficult to make out and trees often block the action.The Cameron's home in Piedmont is apparently supposed to be a plantation house, and some scenes are set in the cotton fields, yet the house is plainly shown as being on a street in the town, with houses on either side, which seems odd because you would expect a plantation house to be on its own land outside of town.As Stokes points out, Griffith -- apparently, for racist reasons -- insisted on using white actors in burnt cork makeup to play the key African-American parts, which reduces whatever scant realism the film might otherwise have had.I can accept that movie audiences in 1915, used to very short films with minimal stories and no production values, might have found The Birth of a Nation to be quite a spectacle, but it's surprising that the film was still being shown in theaters as late as the 1940s; the protest shown on the cover dates from 1947!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Birth of an American Art Form
Melvyn Stokes has written a book that should provide most people with everything they need to know about D.W. Griffith's epic film "The Birth of a Nation."The author includes background on the sources for the film, the life and career of Griffith, details on the making of the film, the initial reception of the film, the contemporary controversy, subsequent history of the film and some of the main people involved with it, a discussion of the historical veracity, and a some overview of modern scholarly opinion about the film.The book itself is a scholarly work, with large bibliography and extensive footnotes.However, the book itself is not very long and reads quite well, so that anyone with an interest in this subject should find it difficult to put down.

"The Birth of a Nation" has to be considered as the greatest film in the history of American film.Most films up to this time had been short, fairly simple and direct amusements seen inexpensively largely by working class and immigrant audiences.Audiences at the time had never seen anything with this epic sweep, spectacular historical recreations, emotional intensity, and gripping suspenseful action.Audiences and commentators were bowled over, the film was seen by millions, and it made a ton of money.The form and perception of movies were changed forever.

On the other hand, the film must be the most racist ever to come out of mainstream Hollywood.Not just casually or unconsciously, but really ideologically racist.Though the film deals with Northern and Southern characters and historical figures (and caricatures) through the Civil War into Reconstruction, the main thrust of the plot is toward the birth of the Ku Klux Klan and its brave riders restoring white supremacy and saving white women from the old fate-worse-than.Though the source material book (or two) and play by Thomas W. Dixon (well-discussed by Stokes) may make their points more explicitly, the blood and thunder of Griffith's film technique make them more powerfully.Perhaps it is somehow fitting that this seminal American film should be infused with the stain of racism, not unlike the U.S. Constitution.

The book contains a fair number of factual repetitions, and I would have liked some discussion the state and variations among existing prints of the film.Aside from these minor points, I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this film, D.W. Griffith, or film history.It may even provide you with sufficient context to enable you to watch the film.
... Read more

4. The Films of D. W. Griffith (Cambridge Film Classics)
by Scott Simmon
Paperback: 192 Pages (1993-07-30)
list price: US$27.99 -- used & new: US$22.72
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Asin: 0521388201
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Editorial Review

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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. ... Read more

5. Adventure With D.W. Griffith
by Karl BROWN
 Hardcover: Pages (1973-01-01)

Asin: B000HJD6M8
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6. D.W. Griffith's Intolerance: Its Genesis and Its Vision
by William M. Drew
Paperback: 208 Pages (2001-09)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$28.00
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Asin: 0786412097
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A critical study of the background of D.W. Griffith's film masterpiece, the 1916 epic Intolerance. The most expensive ($2,000,000) film made prior to 1920, Intolerance was criticaly acclaimed and is now considered a classic.The book traces the artistic and political influences that shaped the director's vision, discusses the influences of the Progressive movement, and connects the film to the social and political climate of the early 20th century. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly review of a complex film
While D.W. Griffith is famous (or infamous) for his breakthrough feature THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915), his critics are just as divided over his follow-up, INTOLERANCE (1916).This epic tells four distinct stories at one time.The stories are linked thematically, as they show how one powerful person's intolerance of others can have tragic results.This film was the most expensive film produced up to that point in time, yet its structure remains "experimental" to this day.

Mr. Drew's analysis of this film is easy to read, and he does not indulge in some of the intangible film theories that many books of this type trot out.He begins by sketching Griffith's life and his career at this point in time.Next, he breaks the film down into the different "stories".From that, he explores the sources that Griffith used as a reference for his story, costumes and sets.This section is very interesting because the author points out the historical points that were important to Griffith as well as the facts he ignored. Griffith was also influenced by contemporary and historical authors, poets, and films.Finally, Griffith and the film were influenced by the Progressive political reform movement of the time.

The last two chapters of the book deal with the impact of INTOLERANCE at the time of release, and what major film critics have said about it.Griffith claimed that the film was a financial disaster.While the film did not make a lot of money, Drew shows that the film did quite well until the outbreak of World War I caused a major shift in the public's attitues toward the film.

I would recommend this film to anybody who is interested in D.W. Griffith and silent films of the 1910s.Just make sure that you see the film before reading the book. ... Read more

7. Adventures with D.W. Griffith
by Karl Brown
 Paperback: 272 Pages (1988-05-03)

Isbn: 0571150993
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars An exciting time during the birth of the feature film
If you are interested in silent films or David Wark Griffith, then you won't be able to put this book down until you are finished!Karl Brown worked for the Kinemacolor company as a teenager in the 1910s.Just when this company went out of business, D.W. Griffith and his stock company arrived in Los Angeles.He quickly became a camera assistant to cameraman Billy Bitzer.He worked on Griffith's THE AVENGING CONSCIENCE, BIRTH OF A NATION, and INTOLERANCE, among other films. His book is funny, exciting, and informative.He is in awe of Griffith and actress Lillian Gish.He works his hardest to satisfy Griffith's demands on the job, but this sometimes makes Bitzer jealous of him.Brown is confused by many of the things that Griffith does while making these films, but he soon learns why Griffith works this way. The book also includes a chapter on Brown's stint in the Army during World War I, where he was given a one-week leave of absence to help Griffith with BROKEN BLOSSOMS.This is the finest memoir by any silent film vetran that I've read, and I've read quite a few.

4-0 out of 5 stars Quite a different account of a long gone era
Many books has been published about the silent movies era, from picture books to great actors to the eternal Chaplin and Pickford. This one is from one of Griffith cameramen's so for once, we stand behind the camera. Whatis different about Brown's account is the way the narration goes: hisautobiographical experience of going through that time where everything wasalmost new and a lot had to be done. He states the important and not soimportant anecdotic facts while using a sometimes ironic tone and asemi-chronological pace of remembrance. He even explain, matter-of-factly,some technical aspects of the trend, etc... This book has a lot to offerfor the silent movies or Griffith fans, especially if you have seen"Birth of a Nation" and "Intolerance". This is not thetypical movie-related-good-for-the -fans-only book with Ohs! and Ahs! andWow! to sustain you throughout your reading. It is a very specific momentin the life of a guy who was there when movies were at their beginning, atime long gone...

3-0 out of 5 stars A very personal memoir of a vanished period in film making.
D W Griffith figures as the patron and idol of Karl Brown. There is no doubt that D W Griffith, the director of "Birth of a Nation" and "Intolerance". the supposed inventor of the "close-up"and discover of the Gish sisters, contributed immensely to the developmentof motion pictures as a distinct art form (perhaps THE art form of thiscentury). Even so, the Griffith which emerges from these pages is halftyrant and "control freak" who ultimately is made obsolete by apublic becoming increasingly sophisticated in its tastes. Karl Brown wastaken on as a junior camera man by Griffith, and it is through hisrecollections that the early years of the American cinema comes alive.Still, this is an autobiography so we are treated to a Norman Rockwellaccount of the early years of this century that illuminates the millieufrom which Griffith's work sprung. There is more than an element ofdefensiveness from Brown as he tries to reconcile Griffith's persona as a"gentleman" with his often reactionary views as exemplified in" A Birth of a Nation" ( afilm that was almost banned inAustralia and parts of the US). Griffith does not emerge from this workunscathed. Worth reading for historical interest. ... Read more

8. D W GRIFFITH LIFE & WORK (Cinema classics)
by Henderson
 Hardcover: 326 Pages (1985-08-01)
list price: US$16.00
Isbn: 0824057635
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9. The Man Who Invented Hollywood (The Autobiography Of D. W. Griffith)
by D. W Griffith
 Hardcover: 170 Pages (1972)
-- used & new: US$24.50
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Asin: 0879630019
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Only As a Curio
This book is the result of an effort by a local Kentucky newspaperman to complete David Wark Griffith's unfinished autobiography.

Griffith had played out the string in Hollywood and retreated to his boyhood hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where he lived for a few years. In local circles, he was still something of a minor celebrity. Despite his past success as a director, he was considered passe after 1930. His methods of staging harkened back to the proscenium arched stages of the Nineteenth Century. The film industry had no further use for him after the close of the Silent Era (Griffith made only two talkies) and his final directorial credit, "The Struggle," a study of alcoholism, was poorly received and scarcely exhibited at all. Griffith agreed to write his memoirs solely for the money. He eventually abandoned the long delayed project without completing too much material.

Griffith imagined the story might be entitled "David and the Wolf." Throughout his life, the proverbial wolf seemed to be at the door as he faced imminent poverty. Given his proclivities towards embellishing the truth, many of the charming and fanciful episodes that Griffith described must be seriously discounted. Almost all of the text relates to Griffith's early life and his beginnings in the theater. There is precious little material from the feature film period of his directorial career in Hollywood. As such, the title is a misnomer.

Apart from Griffith's incomplete manuscript, the remainder of the book is a definite patch job. Numerous captioned still photographs round out the the volume. Taken as a whole, the book is eminently forgettable. If you want to learnmore about D. W. Griffith, you need to look elsewhere. ... Read more

 Unknown Binding: Pages (1972-01-01)

Asin: B003KDODDY
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11. D. W. Griffith: The Years at Biograph
by Henderson
 Paperback: 280 Pages (1970-12)
list price: US$22.00
Isbn: 0374509581
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12. D. W. Griffith's Film, The Birth of a Nation: The Film that Transformed America
by Michael R. Hurwitz
Paperback: 172 Pages (2006-09-18)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$13.99
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Asin: 1419642642
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insight Into the Creation of The Modern Day Feature Film
This book is thoroughly researched with in-depth analysis of the pioneer filmmaker, D.W. Griffith, his contribution to filmmaking, and the genesis of the modern-day feature film. As well as educational, this is an entertaining, easy read, filled with insight into the early days of motion pictures. As movie consumers, we must be informed viewers. Having a glimpse into the process of both the film and the filmmaker empowers us to view films today with more perspective.We are better able to seperate opinion of the artist from facts.Art versus propaganda persists as much today as at any time in our history. ... Read more

13. Dinner with D. W. Griffith and Other Memories
by Joseph Woodson Oglesby
Paperback: 120 Pages (2006-03-22)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.89
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Asin: 0809550725
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Join writer Joseph Woodson Oglesby on a memorable trip through his boyhood years in the 1930s and 40s, when he: . Sits down to Sunday dinner with Cousin David (legendary film director D. W. Griffith) and other relatives and witnesses an unexpected confrontation. . Attends a séance where an uninvited guest "materializes" with a cryptic message for Madame Stone, the medium. . Narrowly escapes the raging waters of the Great Flood of 1937 to find refuge and adventure in the village of Peewee Valley. . Experiences the pleasures and pangs of first love as he and his best friend fall for the same girl. Accompanying these and many other memories are rare, previously unpublished photos of D. W. Griffith, classic photos by noted Kentucky photographer Kate Matthews, and black and whites from the author's collection. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars A Literary and Social History Masterpiece
Review of Oglesby book

Oglesby's "Dinner With D. W. Griffith And Other Memories" surely is both a literary and social history masterpiece.This is anything but the typical "coming of age" memoir -- largely because of the quality of its writing - although surely it presents many of the usual child-to-adolescent transitions."Dinner" for me brought back a host of time-and-place memories, sweet in their intimately recalled details and the richness of the prose, without being sickly overwritten.
As to the social history, Oglesby's memoir sketches the life of an American boy growing up in, and affected by, the Great Depression and World War II without his awareness of their lasting changes.The place was Louisville, "Gateway to the South," where first-hand memories of the Civil War still remained in the 1930s and 40s.Not the least of these is the author's recollection of a famous cousin at a family reunion, captured in the book title.
There are views of social and cultural institutions long gone from the American scene: genteel fortune tellers, orphanages, amusement parks reached by electric streetcars, the Ohio River flood of 1937 - probably the nation's most serious until the 2005 inundation of New Orleans - of a child's perceptions of civilian life downsides in a war, and, finally some of the peculiar social rituals of high school students in that time and place.
If there is a flaw with "Dinner," it is simply that there is not enough of it.At 120 pages, it could well be twice as long and therefore twice as enjoyable a read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Oglesby is a master storyteller. This book is a triumph!
Everyone will have a favorite from this collection of sixteen stories covering people and events in the childhood and teenage years of author Joseph Woodson Oglesby. Mine is "The Two Faces of Love". But it's difficult to choose.The stories tracing his complex relationship with his father--"Tiger in the Alley", "The Great Flood", "Buttons", and Black Market Spy"--are all quite moving.Perry, his ally and best friend at school who lives in an orphanage, makes a poignant appearance in "The Tin Boy". Each of these stories contains a moment of strong emotion--a "growing up moment"--that shaped the author's life.
We see a cousin, early Hollywood director D. W. Griffith, make a dramatic appearance at a Sunday dinner, which ends in an uproar. Another cousin is a suspect in one of the most sensational murder cases in the state. In "The Death Sentence", the young Oglesby is forced to carry a weight almost to heavy to bear.
The writer grew up in Louisville and nearby towns. He writes in a clear and honest yet lyrical style that is easy to follow. Photos or other graphics accompany each story, making the characters he reveals and the events he chronicles even more real.
No one else can lay claim to these memories, but this collection may stir a lot of readers to recall people and events in their own lives, no matter where or when they were born or who their relatives and friends were, that helped shape their lives.
I highly recommend DINNER WITH D.W. GRIFFITH AND OTHER MEMORIES. It's a beautiful book. ... Read more

14. Orphans Of The Storm
by D. W. Griffith, Henry MacMahon
Paperback: 224 Pages (2010-09-10)
list price: US$19.96 -- used & new: US$19.94
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Asin: 1163772240
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Product Description
This scarce antiquarian book is a selection from Kessinger Publishing's Legacy Reprint Series. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment to protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature. Kessinger Publishing is the place to find hundreds of thousands of rare and hard-to-find books with something of interest for everyone! ... Read more

15. Thinking in Pictures: Dramatic Structure in D. W. Griffith's Biograph Films
by Joyce E. Jesionowski
Paperback: 304 Pages (1989-11-06)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$13.94
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Asin: 0520067924
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Thinking in Pictures shows for the first time, in rigorous shot-by-shot analyses, what Griffith really did--and allows us to understand the implications for film narrative in general. Anyone with an interest in early cinema will find the book compelling, but the text will also intrigue readers seeking understanding of film usages on a more general, theoretical level.
When Griffith began making films, the shot had been recognized as a basic element of film, the camera had a certain amount of freedom, transitional effects had been explored, audiences displayed an appetite for narrative. It was the synthesis of these elements, as Jesionowski traces it, that was Griffith's great achievement--for which he has always been honored by other filmmakers, by critics, and by audiences who continue to be moved and excited by his films. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thinking in Pictures : Dramatic Structure in D.W. Griffith's
I believe this book captures the mindset of D.W. Griffith.It allows the reader to look into the mind of D.W. Griffith.A must read. ... Read more

16. Stagestruck Filmmaker: D. W. Griffith and the American Theatre (Studies Theatre Hist & Culture)
by David Mayer
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2009-03-16)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$37.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1587297906
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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An actor, a vaudevillian, and a dramatist before he became a filmmaker, D. W. Griffith used the resources of theatre to great purpose and to great ends. In pioneering the quintessentially modern medium of film from the 1890s to the 1930s, he drew from older, more broadly appealing stage forms of melodrama, comedy, vaudeville, and variety. In Stagestruck Filmmaker, David Mayer brings Griffith’s process vividly to life, offering detailed and valuable insights into the racial, ethnic, class, and gender issues of these transitional decades.

Combining the raw materials of theatre, circus, minstrelsy, and dance with the newer visual codes of motion pictures, Griffith became the first acknowledged artist of American film. Birth of a Nation in particular demonstrates the degree to which he was influenced by the racist justifications and distorting interpretations of the Civil War and the Reconstruction era. Moving through the major phases of Griffith’s career in chapters organized around key films or groups of films, Mayer provides a mesmerizing account of the American stage and cinema in the final years of the nineteenth century and the first three decades of the twentieth century.

Griffith’s relationship to the theatre was intricate, complex, and enduring. Long recognized as the dominant creative figure of American motion pictures, throughout twenty-six years of making more than five hundred films he pillaged, adapted, reshaped, revitalized, preserved, and extolled. By historicizing his representations of race, ethnicity, and otherness, Mayer places Griffith within an overall template of American life in the years when film rivaled and then surpassed the theatre in popularity.
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Any college-level library strong in modern stage history will find this an absorbing study
D.W. Griffith was an actor and dramatist before he became a filmmaker and used the resources of the theatre to create pioneering films, using older stage forms of comedy, vaudeville and variety to translate to film. His blending in of traditional theatre forms to create new visual motion picture displays made Griffith an early American film artist, and STAGESTRUCK FILMMAKER traces his techniques and films as it considers his impact on the American stage. Any college-level library strong in modern stage history will find this an absorbing study.
... Read more

17. The Finite Element Method
by K.C. Rockey, etc., H. R. Evans, D. W. Griffiths
 Paperback: 256 Pages (1985-11)

Isbn: 0003832775
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The finite element method has now gained acceptance amongst engineers as a powerful numerical technique for solving an extremely wide range of problems. This book provides a basic introduction to its application in structural engineering, for students and practising engineers who are approaching the finite element method for the first time. Since the first edition was published, the pace of development of the finite element method has necessitated a new chapter to enable the reader to appreciate its current capabilities. New references and a revised bibliography have also been provided. ... Read more

18. Billy Bitzer, His Story, (The Autobiography of D.W. Griffith's Master Cameraman
by G.W. Bitzer
 Hardcover: 266 Pages (1973)

Asin: B000EPKO5C
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Product Description
Definitive autobiograpohy of the man who defined the art of narrative film story telling as it was carved out of the visual tropes of the mellodrama and the age of narrative realism. ... Read more

19. D. W. Griffith, titan of the film art: A critical study (D. W. Griffith series)
by Leona Rasmussen Phillips
 Unknown Binding: 416 Pages (1976)

Isbn: 0879683341
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20. D.W. Griffith (Cinema/pluriel) (French Edition)
 Paperback: 216 Pages (1982)

Isbn: 2864250357
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