Intolerance Blu-Ray

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SilentsPlease
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by SilentsPlease » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:27 pm

Hi Rodney, I understand what you're saying. But the Image DVD was created by Russell Merritt, who writes in the Image DVD's "visual essay" that he included extra footage in the main film only when it was clear that Griffith had intended for the footage to be included. Conversely, Merritt also writes that if it was clear that Griffith had wanted the footage left out, he (Merritt) would not include it even if there was footage available. So it seems that the inclusion and exclusion of footage have been well thought out in the making of the Image DVD. And my viewing of the Image DVD also has led me to believe the Image version is better because of the extra footage -- footage that doesn't seem extraneous, but actually serves useful purposes. Also, just because Griffith had extra footage included in "The Mother and the Law" and "The Fall of Babylon" doesn't necessarily mean he wanted it out of the main film.

Wasn't Mr. Brownlow the restorer for the 1989 edition that was the basis of this Cohen Media edition? It is way too modest of him not to point this out in the interview. Does anyone know if there is any difference between his 1989 restoration and the current version?

I saw only a few seconds of "The Fall of Babylon" last night before I got too tired and went to bed. It opens with an alternate take of the Rhapsode flirting with the Mountain Girl that is FAR INFERIOR to the corresponding scene in the main film. It's hard to believe it was directed by the same man.
Last edited by SilentsPlease on Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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silentfilm
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by silentfilm » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:35 pm

In the silent era, there was not always a "definitive" or "official" cut of a film. This is magnified with Intolerance because Griffith recut the film several times during the original release. Censors would remove scenes like the beheading scene if they offended local sensibilities. Because a negative was only good for a certain number of printings, foreign versions would almost certainly have alternate takes and possibly be missing shots. It was such a massive editing job, I feel sorry for the guy/gal who had to construct the foreign version using the American version as a guide. The film was also re-released several times, with and without Griffith's supervision.

SilentsPlease
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by SilentsPlease » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:46 pm

silentfilm wrote:In the silent era, there was not always a "definitive" or "official" cut of a film. This is magnified with Intolerance because Griffith recut the film several times during the original release. Censors would remove scenes like the beheading scene if they offended local sensibilities. Because a negative was only good for a certain number of printings, foreign versions would almost certainly have alternate takes and possibly be missing shots. It was such a massive editing job, I feel sorry for the guy/gal who had to construct the foreign version using the American version as a guide. The film was also re-released several times, with and without Griffith's supervision.
My point is, rather, that the Cohen edition is missing shots compared to the Image edition. It is missing shots not really because of the ravages of time or the film having passed through many hands. It is missing shots because, in my opinion, the restorers for the Image DVD seemed to have done a better job assembling the necessary footage than the restorers for the Cohen & Kino editions. That's really my point. The restorers for Image did a better job overcoming the ravages of time and other challenges you mentioned and were able to restore more footage and edit it better as well.

SilentsPlease
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by SilentsPlease » Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:10 pm

Not surprisingly, the Cohen Media edition also has footage not seen in other editions. During the epilogue segment, I noticed two shots I had never seen before. After a cannon fires, we see a shot of a city (miniature model) getting hit by the cannon (at time 2:45:13). A few seconds later, another never-before-seen shot shows some people dropping something into ground (2:45:59). Anyone know what those people are doing?

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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by jacksonwalker2000 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:01 am

Just a heads up that Amazon currently has this on sale for $17.49 (58% off):http://www.blu-ray.com/link/click.php?i ... id=020&c=7
I don't know how long this will last, though.

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Saint-Just
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by Saint-Just » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:54 pm

The Cohen media version is missing the title cars that states that the militia men's rifles are loaded with blanks - that's an important piece of information and without it the action in that sequence becomes somewhat inexplicable. Also the Cohen version is step printed, as is their version of The Thief of Bagdad, which all but destroys the experience of watching both films.

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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by SilentsPlease » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:57 pm

Saint-Just wrote:The Cohen media version is missing the title cars that states that the militia men's rifles are loaded with blanks - that's an important piece of information and without it the action in that sequence becomes somewhat inexplicable.
Kevin Brownlow believed that Griffith's original intention was not to use that title card in "Intolerance," and that he did use it in "The Mother and the Law." That is why Cohen's supplement of "The Mother and the Law" does have said title card.

On the other hand, David Shepard's version of "Intolerance" (on the old Image DVD) does have the title card, because Shepard often found Griffith's intentions ambiguous, and Shepard tended to include material rather than excise it when there was uncertainty. That is one reason the old Image DVD has the most footage of any versions of "Intolerance" (as I pointed out earlier in the thread).

Also, the Kino DVD version of "Intolerance" does not have the title card. But then, the Kino DVD is generally less complete than the Image DVD, as I mentioned earlier.

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Saint-Just
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by Saint-Just » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:36 am

SilentsPlease wrote:
Also, the Kino DVD version of "Intolerance" does not have the title card. But then, the Kino DVD is generally less complete than the Image DVD, as I mentioned earlier.
The Kino version also has Joseph Turrin - that's a deal breaker for me.

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Rodney
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by Rodney » Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:58 am

Saint-Just wrote:The Cohen media version is missing the title cars that states that the militia men's rifles are loaded with blanks - that's an important piece of information and without it the action in that sequence becomes somewhat inexplicable.
I find it quite the reverse -- if the militia's guns were loaded with blanks, then why do so many strikers die when they are shot? To me, it looks like an after-the-fact edit to soothe complaints. "Surely, an American company would never shoot at striking workers. What are you, some kind of Bolshevik?"

To those who know their history (I live about eight miles from where two miners were shot down by coal company militias around the time this film was made during the Colorado coal-field war), it's terribly true and is a story that bears telling.

The titles in Birth of a Nation that try to make Gus more sympathetic ("I won't hurt you, miss") also look to me like later revisionist additions trying to calm the controversy that the attempted inter-racial rape scene generated. Since DW Griffith never stopped editing his feature films, and was very sensitive to public criticism, it's hard to know exactly what is historically correct and what isn't; and it varies depending on which screening you're trying to recreate.

But in any case, the strike scene in Intolerance / The Mother and the Law makes a lot more sense to me without that clearly inaccurate title.
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SilentsPlease
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by SilentsPlease » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:29 am

Saint-Just wrote:
SilentsPlease wrote:
Also, the Kino DVD version of "Intolerance" does not have the title card. But then, the Kino DVD is generally less complete than the Image DVD, as I mentioned earlier.
The Kino version also has Joseph Turrin - that's a deal breaker for me.
The Kino DVD is slowed down, and runs 197 minutes. If the film's pace is too slow, it is hard to score it satisfactorily. These scores are "accompaniments," which means the composer has to "go with the flow" of the film, so to speak.

SilentsPlease
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by SilentsPlease » Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:36 am

Rodney wrote:
Saint-Just wrote:The Cohen media version is missing the title cars that states that the militia men's rifles are loaded with blanks - that's an important piece of information and without it the action in that sequence becomes somewhat inexplicable.
I find it quite the reverse -- if the militia's guns were loaded with blanks, then why do so many strikers die when they are shot? To me, it looks like an after-the-fact edit to soothe complaints. "Surely, an American company would never shoot at striking workers. What are you, some kind of Bolshevik?"

To those who know their history (I live about eight miles from where two miners were shot down by coal company militias around the time this film was made during the Colorado coal-field war), it's terribly true and is a story that bears telling.

The titles in Birth of a Nation that try to make Gus more sympathetic ("I won't hurt you, miss") also look to me like later revisionist additions trying to calm the controversy that the attempted inter-racial rape scene generated. Since DW Griffith never stopped editing his feature films, and was very sensitive to public criticism, it's hard to know exactly what is historically correct and what isn't; and it varies depending on which screening you're trying to recreate.

But in any case, the strike scene in Intolerance / The Mother and the Law makes a lot more sense to me without that clearly inaccurate title.
The title card explains this by saying, "The militia having used blank cartridges, the workmen now fear only the company's guards." In other words, while state militia used blanks, the factory guards use real bullets. Kevin Brownlow believed Griffith was trying to soften the atrocity by the state militia here.

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Rodney
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by Rodney » Sat Sep 16, 2017 11:30 am

SilentsPlease wrote:The title card explains this by saying, "The militia having used blank cartridges, the workmen now fear only the company's guards." In other words, while state militia used blanks, the factory guards use real bullets. Kevin Brownlow believed Griffith was trying to soften the atrocity by the state militia here.
I agree that that's what the title seems to be doing. But it still seems like an after-the-fact revision. How many militias with guns carry blanks to a protest? If the intent when he filmed it was to have the militia be good or neutral, why have them shoot at people at all? It is far easier to change a title card than to reshoot crowd scenes, and -- to me, at least -- that seems to be the simplest explanation.
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by Brooksie » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:56 pm

Having surveyed some of the original reviews, I have to concur with Rodney here. I've found multiple, unambiguous references to Jenkins authorising lethal force to deal with the strikers. There's also the fact that all four stories are supposed to mirror each other. Why would there be three stories of violence and massacre, and one where it was all a fake show of force?

It's worth noting that one of the most laudatory Australian reviews came from H.E. Boote of the Sydney Worker, the official organ of the Australian Workers' Union. Boote would have been keener than anyone to point out the anomaly of the contemporary storyline deviating from the others. Instead, he says:
"The slaughter of the Babylonians becomes the massacre of the Huguenots, and both these dreadful events in turn merge their outlines in the shooting down of the workers employed by Jenkins, the American millionaire and philanthropist, when they dare to go on strike for an improvement of their wretched conditions."
Setting aside the issue of whether or not the explanatory intertitle belongs in a 'definitive' version of Intolerance, it would be interesting to see whether any extant censorship records could shed more light on this.

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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:18 pm

Yeah, I was just thinking that softening how a state militia is depicted is exactly what a state censor board might want.

This or that shot or title aside, the Cohen Intolerance blu-ray is an excellent edition that shows the film as a whole off very well.
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Saint-Just
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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by Saint-Just » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:01 am

SilentsPlease wrote:
Saint-Just wrote:
SilentsPlease wrote:
Also, the Kino DVD version of "Intolerance" does not have the title card. But then, the Kino DVD is generally less complete than the Image DVD, as I mentioned earlier.
The Kino version also has Joseph Turrin - that's a deal breaker for me.
The Kino DVD is slowed down, and runs 197 minutes. If the film's pace is too slow, it is hard to score it satisfactorily. These scores are "accompaniments," which means the composer has to "go with the flow" of the film, so to speak.
But they don't have to do it with a new-agey synthesizer.

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Re: Intolerance Blu-Ray

Unread post by Brooksie » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:45 am

Having read the Russell Merritt essay that Mike cites way back at the beginning of this thread, with reference to this earlier Nitrateville thread, it appears that the intertitle in the strike sequence was added earlier in the film's life than I had estimated.

Merritt claims it was in 'every' version prior to Griffith's 1921 re-edit, but of the major sources for the intertitles, including the original copyright registration frames (June 1916) and a subsequent continuity lodged with the DGA (1916-1917), it seems to appear first in the latter.

For the reasons Rodney cites - why go to the trouble of filming an incident that you then explain away in an intertitle? - I still don't believe that it was part of Griffith's original design. The strike sequence was definitely the subject of later censorship concerns; you can imagine Griffith pre-emptively horsetrading away some of its nuances in order to include a few more semi-clad maidens. If it were not for that evidence, I'd be more inclined to agree with Kevin Brownlow's theory that it was introduced during the recutting of the modern sequence into The Mother and the Law.

It would also not surprise me if - as in the case of the so-called 'Venezuelan version' (the basis of David Shephard's version, considered the closest to its 1917 form) - an earlier cut was sent to Australia, without some of Griffith's subsequent alterations.

Merritt's piece (available here) is lengthy but well worth reading. I knew that the history of the film was vexed, but not quite as tangled as it actually is.

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