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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Deep And Complex Moral Lesson But Also A Splendid Film
D.W. Griffith's previous great 'Birth of a Nation' had aroused such controversy that he decided to fight back. Intolerance is a superb piece of filmmaking and one that I most strongly recommend to all true lovers of the cinema. The lesson is made in four stories: The first story is of how the Priest of Bel betrays Belshazzar in ancient Babylon, with the final conclusion...
Published on 17 Feb 2001 by roderick.hall@telia.com

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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor DVD version
Great, great film. Terrible, terrible DVD.
Substandard visuality... No restoration... Painful to watch even if you're not hi-definition blue-ray freak...
VHS with this level of quality would be unacceptable, not to speak of DVD.
Published on 26 Mar 2010 by Nikica Gilic


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor DVD version, 26 Mar 2010
This review is from: Intolerance [1916] [DVD] (DVD)
Great, great film. Terrible, terrible DVD.
Substandard visuality... No restoration... Painful to watch even if you're not hi-definition blue-ray freak...
VHS with this level of quality would be unacceptable, not to speak of DVD.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Deep And Complex Moral Lesson But Also A Splendid Film, 17 Feb 2001
This review is from: Intolerance [VHS] (VHS Tape)
D.W. Griffith's previous great 'Birth of a Nation' had aroused such controversy that he decided to fight back. Intolerance is a superb piece of filmmaking and one that I most strongly recommend to all true lovers of the cinema. The lesson is made in four stories: The first story is of how the Priest of Bel betrays Belshazzar in ancient Babylon, with the final conclusion being the savage destruction of the great city. The battle scenes more than rival those of Ben Hur, Alexander the Great or any other tale of heroism in old times. The second story is that of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and of those who allowed it to happen. This story is not explored upon much and is given less treatment than the other three, although its impact remains potent. The third story takes place in renaissance France, where the Catholics slaughter the Protestants. The massacre is more violent than one would expect from a film of 1916, and despite its rather crude delivery, it still manages to shock and appal. The final story is set in what was then the modern world. A group of women fighting for decency and a proper society reduce life to a boring and monotonous existence. A man is to be hanged for a murder committed by one of the women who does not confess and when she finally does, a gang of men rush to save the boy just in time. All these stories are linked by an image of Lillian Gish rocking a cradle, symbolic of the innocence she protects.
Intolerance is extremely meaningful and poignant with good performances and shocking moments throughout. Its breathtaking sets and scenes are enough to keep anyone entertained, and this film comes to a superb climax four times. However, it also has to set the scene for four different stories which makes the first forty minutes very dull, but stick with it as it improves.
Griffith could hardly hope to match the brilliance of The Birth of A Nation which was released a year before this, but this film alone is enough to make him worthy of remembrance.
Eureka Videos has done a superb job in restoring this great film. Of the three silent films I owned before this (Nosferatu, Phantom of the Opera and Metropolis) all were badly in need of restoration, which reduced the viewing pleasure. The picture quality is very clean and adds to the experience. The film is also tinted for those of you who prefer a more colourful look, I however do not and always turn off the colour on my TV with tinted films, either have it in colour or in black and white is what I say.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best dramitic acting performance ever, 11 Mar 2004
By A Customer
This film, made in just nineteen days, along with Way Down East represents D W Griffiths finest achievement. The atmosphere of limehouse was expectly recreated and is a perfect setting for the story.
Lillian Gish's plays the part of a fifteen year old girl called Lucy totally convincingly (she was actually twenty six at the time). The scenes of her trapped in the cupboard turning hysterically, while Battling Burrows (Donald Crisp) beats down the door is truely harrowing and must represent one of the finest moments in motion picture history.
If there had been academy awards available at this time Gish would have deserve the best actress award for this performance.
The addition of Broken Blossoms on this DVD has been restored by David Sheppard and the picture quality is therefore stunning, it includes the original colour tints of the films release as well as a score written especially for the film in the 1920's.
I can not recommend this DVD more, it is one that you will want to watch again and again.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great film but DVD quality is appalling, 15 Feb 2012
This review is from: Intolerance [1916] [DVD] (DVD)
Having seen this great film with live music during a Thames Silents festival, I was keen to obtain a copy of this film. However, the film is entirely ruined by the appalling quality of the DVD. The pictures shown on the box are clear and give the impression this is a restored, quality print. In fact, it proved impossible to watch. The many lines and graininess of the print are bad enough but the real killer are the white captions over a brighter flickering light in the centre of the screen which gave us all a headache and forced us to stop watching after only ten minutes.

I can recommend this film but DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS VERSION.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D.W.Griffith And Intolerance In The 21st Century., 13 April 2007
By 
Chip Kaufmann (Asheville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Intolerance [1916] [DVD] (DVD)
Imagine that Steven Spielberg was no longer directing movies and that WAR OF THE WORLDS would be the one film he is remembered for. Would that be a fair assessment of his career? Absolutely not but that is what has happened to cinema pioneer D.W. Griffith. The film he is remembered for today is the 1915 BIRTH OF A NATION which was the first important American epic. Unfortunately its source material THE CLANSMAN (the film's original title) is a Southern view of the Civil War which glorifies the Ku Klux Klan and is extremely racist (although toned down considerably from the book by Thomas Dixon). Griffith made 34 feature films and over 400 shorts between 1908 and 1931. In the overwhelming majority of these he is a social progressive tackling such issues as poverty, political corruption, worker exploitation and interracial romance. He even made an anti-Klan film THE ROSE OF KENTUCKY back in 1912. I mention all of this because in this current climate of political correctness Griffith is being judged and censured on the basis of one film as opposed to his whole body of work and the damage being done to his reputation is still going on. In the recent Oscar nominated film JUNEBUG, one of the characters is a Southern racist Civil War painter who happens to be named David Wark (the D.W. in Griffith's name).

INTOLERANCE, the follow-up to NATION, was the most ambitious and expensive film ever made up to that point (1916) and forever changed the way that movies would be made after it. Because of the lifesize sets of Ancient Babylon and the thousands of extras employed, the movie would cost over $500 million to remake today. Its central theme shows how intolerance through the ages breeds anger, anger then breeds repression and repression breeds more intolerance. Set in four different historical time periods (including then present day 1916), the film shifts back and forth from story to story with ever increasing frequency until it reaches its dramatic climax followed by a fanciful epilogue of what the world would be like if we could only banish our fear and hatred. Virtually every visual film technique you can think of appeared in this film inspiring filmmakers around the world who quickly followed suit. After 90 years it still remains a wonder to be seen. There are several different versions of INTOLERANCE currently available on DVD. This Eureka edition follows Griffith's reissue wishes for the film and has the added bonus of allowing you to separate the four stories so they can be viewed by themselves. AVOID at all costs all the low budget DVDs of this cinematic milestone as they are of inferior visual quality and have uncoordinated sound accompaniment. It's time once again to give D.W. Griffith his due and this is the place to start. Follow this up with his BIOGRAPH shorts and then some of his features such as BROKEN BLOSSOMS or SALLY OF THE SAWDUST and see just what he was capable of. Griffith's wheel of fortune has come full circle a number of times and will continue to do so. That is the measure of a true artist.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D.W.Griffith's Intolerance, 5 Aug 2009
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This review is from: Intolerance [1916] [DVD] (DVD)
The DVD cover says "Colossal Spectacle" and, if anything, it is an understatement. Films if this type simply aren't made any more at 2 and 3/4 hours it examines the deep subject of man's intolerance to his fellow man through time in four historic settings (Babylon, 1st century Judea, 16th century Paris and "Boom" America in the early 1900's.)The cinematography is excellent and often sumptuous especially Babylon, the largest film set ever constructed and it's staggering "zoom in" sequences. It isn't so much a "Movie" as a moving (in both senses) work of art! Some of the acting, especially Paris and the US is a little "hammy" while some of the performances are tender and full of sentiment, seen well in the many close up shots all of which add to the piece.
This version is of good , if not brilliant quality, sometimes the (sub?)titles are barely visible, especially the white on "book background" ones (more expensive "re-conitioned" versions are availible, but in my opinion, a little "rawness with age" is no bad thing and adds context and a certain authenticity.) Overall detail and context are still clear enough but at the very reasonable price paid, one cannot quibble! This staggering masterpiece should be watched by all fans of modern cinema with it's "same old" computer generated effects and formula "acting" and see how it should be done, and how it indeed was done in 1916. The Babylon sequences are simply stunning.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sun-Play of the Ages, 12 Mar 2009
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Intolerance [1916] [DVD] (DVD)
For his follow-up to (and, some suggest, apology for) Birth of a Nation, D. W. Griffith was not content to merely make another epic but rolled four epics into one to create his 'Sun-Play of the Ages.' At the time, many of its innovations were rejected by public and critics alike (many complained that the tracking shots brought on dizziness) and its reputation has suffered more from the subsequent mindless repetition of the 'accepted opinion' by people who have not actually seen it than its own failings. Taken on its own merits, these are far outweighed by its achievements.

The project grew out of the section that would become The Mother and the Law, later released as a separate feature, in which an industrialist cuts the wages of his employees by 10% to finance a moral crusade ("They squeeze the money out of us and use it to advertise themselves by reforming us" cries a surprisingly sympathetically depicted union man). In the resulting strike the troops are called in, with the ensuing deaths throwing the families of two of his workers into desperation and crime. Alongside this are three other tales of intolerance through the ages; the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of the Huguenots in 16th Century France; the death of Christ; and, with little relevance but mighty spectacle, the fall of Babylon. Linking them all is Lillian Gish, rocking a child through the cradle of the ages.

Griffith's brand of sentimentality is sometimes hard to take, especially with character names like Brown Eyes and The Little Dear One. The final scene of soldiers throwing down their weapons and prison bars replaced by fields of flowers seem particularly over-optimistic when viewed in its context of a world at war by the time the film was released in 1916, and some sequences have dated in the worst way: he Sacred Dance in memory of the resurrection of Tammuz in the Temple of Love is a surreal cross between the Charleston and Monty Python, while its orgy scenes seem an obvious inspiration for De Mille's later excesses. But amid the miscalculations there are a few astonishingly natural moments and performances.

The cross-cutting between the stories is the film's boldest stroke, although not always successful due to their varying quality and relevance. The French and Judean episodes come off worst, the latter being a series of dreary tableaux where the only interest is trying to spot future directors Erich Von Stroheim and Todd Browning. Despite the fame and cinematic sweep of the Babylonian story, it's the modern story, with its genuine sense of outrage that is the best and most powerful of the quartet. After a rather over-sentimental start, as an example of the filmmaker's art it's a work of genius with few equals in early silent cinema.

Intolerance is still a great cinematic experience that has much to recommend it, although you do have to b e careful which version you pick up with so many public domain versions available - many cut or even transferred at the wrong speed. Eureka's UK DVD is the best available to date and even offers the ability to play each of the four stories in their entirety as separate movies.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars i'm intolerant, of elstree, 20 Nov 2007
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This review is from: Intolerance [1916] [DVD] (DVD)
good film, not one of the greats, but merely a history lesson. but avoid nevertheless. the quality is appalling, and it would seem no restoration has occured. scenes and characters are barely recognisable and the picture is grainy and just awful to endure. buy a better edition.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly Flawed DVD (Unrestored), But Great Film, 5 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Intolerance [1916] [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the great films of history (and I can say that having seen it in film shown on screen by William K. Everson in New York in the 1960s). However, this is a "cheapo" unrestored print, a flickery and often damaged print in which the music bears next to no relation to what is happening on screen at the time. It is better than nothing, but can never be a real substitute for a fully restored version of it. Elstree Hill, as several reviewers have remarked, have done little here. Better this than nothing; however, if a decent restoration were to be found (as with "Birth of a Nation") than I would gladly donate this to Oxfam.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Physical Acting at it's Best, 15 Jun 2011
This review is from: Broken Blossoms [1919] [DVD] (DVD)
As we are unable to hear how a character speaks in a silent film, the inflections of voice and use of langauge, how can we know a characters thoughts and motivations? How do we understand the emotions behind a scene? Captions can slow the action, the film effectively being paused while we read. The answer lies in a style of physical acting that requires a different set of skills than those of today. We have to know in moments whether a character is strong, weak, shy, confident, healthy, trustworthy, a friend or enemy and this has to be done through physical performance. Lillian Gish excels at such skills in this marvellous, but harrowing film.
Lillian Gish plays tragic heroin Lucy, the teenage illegitimate daughter of 'Battling' Burrows, a brutish heavy drinker who earns his pennies through winning back-street prize fights. She lives a life of domestic servitude to her bullying father, who enjoys exerting his power over her through intimidation and violence. Even to this day the scenes of domestic violence are powerful and heart rending. Lucy's terror is apparent as she squirms and cowers. The scene in which her father forces her to "Wear a smile" as tears poor down her cheeks produces what must be one of the most tragic expressions in cinema history. However, the great emotional scene is when her father attacks the wardrobe with a hatchet, inside of which Lucy has sought refuge. This is very similar to the "Here's Johnny' moment in The Shining as a panicked Lucy turns like a trapped animal, searching for an impossable means of escape. In this scene the silence of the film adds to the drama as her screams for help cannot be heard. This compounds the sense of entrapment and isolation, putting distance between Lucy and the audience and therefore the world. She seems all the more pittyful as, at her greatest moment of need, she has no voice.
There is respite from the domestic misery when Lucy is befriended by young Chinese shop owner Cheng Huan. Having initially travelled to the west to spread the peace and wisdom of Buddhism, he looses his way in the face of ignorance and casual racism. When his path crosses with Lucy, he finds his chance to help another outsider like himself, and sees a beauty behind her world weary exterior that is unnoticed by others.
Most of the silent movies that I have seen have been the comedies, the work of Chaplin, Keaton and Harold Lloyd. This was the first silent movie I have seen that is a tragidy and if you're a fan of silent films, or want to get into them and start a collection, then I must recommend this film highly. Lillian Gish puts on a performance which is not only wonderful and powerful, but heart aching in it's emotional intensity. A must see for all fans of movie history and the silent era.
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Intolerance [1916] [DVD]
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