The Birth of a Blockbuster
Urban legend has it that when President Woodrow Wilson first saw D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915), he said "it is like writing history with lightning." While the first epic movie in American film history was as deeply innovative as it was deeply racist, The Birth of a Nation ushered in a new era of blockbuster movie making in the early history of the medium.
Ebert, Roger. "The Birth of Nation." RogerEbert.com, March 30, 2003.
Franklin, John Hope. "'Birth of a Nation': Propaganda as History." The Massachusetts Review 20:3 (1979): 417-434.
Lennig, Arthur. "Myth and Fact: The Reception of 'Birth of a Nation.'" Film History 16:2 (2004): 117-141.
Rogin, Michael. "'The Sword Became a Flashing Vision': D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation." Representations 9 (1985): 150-195.
Simcovitch, Maxim. "The Impact of Griffith's Birth of a Nation on the Modern Ku Klux Klan." In Celluloid Power: Social Film Criticism from The Birth of a Nation to Judgement at Nuremberg, edited by David Platt, 72-82. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1992.
Simmons, Scott. The Films of D.W. Griffith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
This episode is part of our Film History Series.
Music by Kevin MacLeod (www.incompetech.com)
4/30/2014 07:38:51 am
interesting lecture. i had no idea that president woodrow wilson supported such a vile racist movie, especially given the fact that his name is attached to such august institutions (in current day dc) as the woodrow wilson center. a little research shows that wilson was a big supporter of racial segregation. who knew. is the picture of at the top from the actual release of the movie in 1915? it looks very 'modern'
5/4/2014 11:26:05 am
Leave a Reply.
© 2013-2023 Footnoting History. All rights reserved.
Footnoting History and the Footnoting History logo
are trademarks of Footnoting History, NY.
Footnoting History operates under a SAG-AFTRA New Media Agreement.
Logo design by Alica Desantis (https://adisantis.com/).