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Birth of a Nation [DVD] [2015] [US Import]


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Birth of a Nation [DVD] [2015] [US Import] + Intolerance [1916] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall, Miriam Cooper, Mary Alden
  • Directors: D.W. Griffith
  • Writers: D.W. Griffith, Frank E. Woods, Thomas Dixon Jr.
  • Producers: D.W. Griffith, H.E. Aitken
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, Silent, PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Nov 1998
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305130949
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,293 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Review

" It is an unavoidable fact of American movie history, and must be dealt with " --Roger Ebert

" Birth of a Nation is a great epoch in picture making " --Variety

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lhl12 on 25 July 2014
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I've seen several video editions of this movie, but for my money this Connoisseur VHS, produced by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill, is the best of them all. It was taken from a slightly damaged original nitrate print from 1921, and so the imperfections were maintained. There are several shots that had been shattered and survived as only maybe three frames each, which were stretched out. This is not a problem in the other video editions, certainly not in the current blu-ray. But on this positive side, despite the occasional damage, the tinted/toned 1921 reissue print was transferred at the proper speeds (unfortunately through a prism, the only option available in the 1990s), and the visual quality is staggering. Furthermore, this has the original Joseph Carl Breil 40-piece orchestral score, though it is 'adapted' by John Lanchbery. I'm not sure what the word 'adapted' means in this context, but as far as I am aware, this rendition does not violate the integrity of the original, and after hearing this score, I would never want to hear a different accompaniment. Previous video releases from Lumivision and Triton attempted to re-create this score on synthesizer. The Kino had a small ensemble perform several rearranged excerpts from the Breil score, which excerpts were re-edited and repeated to fill out the full running time. But here, on this VHS, we get a full orchestra playing the entire score. Hooray!

As for the movie itself, yes, it is every bit as magnificent as you've heard. The film's magnificence is diminished to the point of imperceptibility in many other video releases.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By R. M. M. on 2 Nov 2003
Format: DVD
It's a great nuisance the Connoisseur Video version is only on video, because to my mind it's considerably superior. This one lacks the tinted sequences (sepia in parts, red for the burning of Atlanta) and, much worse, the music sounds like the third form doing its best. That may, for all I know, be more authentic, but music is so important in a silent that this is authenticity I could do without. On the other hand, the sharpness and overall quality of the print is really quite amazing - especially compared to much more recent films such as Lost Horizon.
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48 of 57 people found the following review helpful By roderick.hall@telia.com on 17 Feb 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The first, and perhaps the greatest of the feature films, D.W. Griffith's wonderful and controversial film is a must have for anyone with any serious interest in cinema.
The beginning of the film deals with life in the old South, and much like Gone With The Wind, showed nothing of the harsh cruelty of slavery. However, this film does not bare the title 'Based on a true story' and so, as with the racist struggle at the end, with a little education, this may be judged purely in terms of cinematography. .. I simply saw it through Griffith's eyes, and could not help but give a broad smile many times at the wonderful atmosphere that the film created.
The film centres mainly around the Northern Stonemans and the Southern Camerons, and the relationship between them. The civil war presents some spectacular scenes, including the superb sequence where the eldest Cameron boy rushes forward to the front line towards the guns and rescues the Confederate flag. The horrors and tragedies of war are shocking, but spectacular. What follows is the heartbreak of loss, the surrender of General Lee, the beginning of the revenge that plagues the characters throughout the rest of the film and finally, April 14th 1865. Ford's Theatre is recreated, and one of history's greatest men is gunned down in a tragic scene.
The heroin of the film is a Northerner, played by the ravishingly beautiful Lillian Gish. Her love for the founder of the Ku Klux Klan creates an interesting situation. She condemns her lover but forgives him when the villain of the film, a mulatto named Syrus Lynch tries to force her into marriage and is rescued by our 'heroes' in white hoods.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ray Price-Evans on 23 Feb 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great piece of history. Told about it by a friend at work. Loved the extras on the DVD.
Why more words required?
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 April 2003
Format: VHS Tape
A truely facinating, but hughly alrming film. It is bemusing how a film which lasts over three and a half hours can be so compelling when there is not one word of spoken dialogue! However, the mastiful soundtrack somehow makes the lack of dialogue obsolete.
The story line covers the period of the American Civil War and is littered with huge amounts of racism; look out for the heroic intgerpretation of the Klu Klux Klan charging to the rescue to the "Ride of the Valcaries" in the latter part of the film.
However, the distastefull racist eliments of the film can be overcome when one looks at the film as a piece of cinematic history. The fact that this film was the first long feature film, the melodramatic style of acting, the use of sound track, editing and camera techniques make it a revolutionary film of it's age and well worth watching 88 years on.
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