“ Intolerance ” ( eng. Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages , 1916 ) is David Griffith's American epic dumb 3.5-hour feature film, which became a landmark  in the development of world cinema ( art house in particular). The film is considered to be a masterpiece of the silent film era  and was named by one historian as the “ only film fugue” ( “the only film fugue” ).   
|Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages|
|Composer||Jozov Karl Blier |
|Budget||$ 385 907|
Griffith showed 4 epochs: ancient Judea (in the heat of religious intolerance the Pharisees crucified Christ ), Babylon (fighting for power, the priests betrayed King Belshazzar ), France ( 1572 ) (the struggle between Catholics and Huguenots caused a massacre on the night of St. Bartholomew ), our days ( 1914 ) (enmity almost leads to the death penalty of an innocent person). Griffith builds the action of his film at the same time, moving freely from Babylon to modern times and back, and not in chronological order. The parts are connected in a single whole by the image of a woman ( Lillian Guiche ), rocking the child, and with lines from Walt Whitman : “And the cradle will always be rocking, / Weaving times a connecting thread, / Singing and joy, and bitter suffering.”
These different stories will flow first, like the four streams that you look at from the top of the mountain. At the beginning, these four streams will run separately, smoothly and calmly. But the further they run, the more and more they will come closer, the faster their flow will be, and finally, in the last act, they will merge into a single stream of agitated emotions.- David Griffith 
The episode "The Fall of Babylon"
Babylon is threatened by the Persian king Cyrus , but King Balthasar (Alfred Pedzhet) is more busy with his queen (Sina Owen) than with state affairs.
A capricious girl from the mountains (Constance Talmedzh), her own brother is trying to marry. But nobody wants it, even for money. At that moment, Balthasar appears and gives her the “Right” to marry whom she wants. The girl gives a vow to be faithful to Balthasaru. She rejects the courting of the court poet Rhapsodus (Elmer Clifton) and the high priest of Baal (Tulli Marshall).
The high priest, wishing to establish the cult of the new deity, is fighting with supporters of religious tolerance Nabonidus. With the help of the Rhapsody, the high priest is negotiating with Cyrus. As a result, Cyrus goes to the siege of Babylon . Belshazzar, repelling the onslaught, orders to arrange a feast .
The priest warns Cyrus that supervision is weak. Rhapsody blurted out about the betrayal of a girl from the mountains. She wants to warn Belshazzar, but too late. Persians penetrate the chambers of Valtasar. Belshazzar and his beloved Queen commit suicide.
Episode "Mother and Law"
The sister of the industrialist Jenkins at the magnificent ball asks his brother to support the Puritan organization.
By order of wages was reduced by 10%. The general strike begins. Among the strikers is a young man. The troops suppress the strike. The girl and the boy leave the working village and move to the city.
The young man is engaged in robbery and becomes a pimp . The girl's father dies, and she marries a young man. He begins to lead an honest life, but his gang substitutes for him, and he is unjustly arrested . During the time of serving the sentence, a child was born to his wife. But the Puritans, along with Jenkins' sister, kidnapped him. Mother refers to the leader of the former gang of her husband.
In the evening, the leader of the gang ("the musketeer of the slums") enters the woman's room, and his mistress at this time is watching him. The leader wants to rape a girl, but this is prevented by her husband, who has been released from prison. The mistress of the leader, taking the opportunity, kills her lover from a revolver , and then throws the revolver into the room. The young man raises him, the police come, and he is accused of murder.
The girl is present at her husband's process He is sentenced to death by hanging. The girl in despair, along with a police officer who believes in her, runs to the governor to ask for pardon. But he just left. The real murderer, tormented by conscience, is recognized throughout the young spouse of the convict. The wife of the young man and the killer in a race car rush for the train. Meanwhile, in prison, the condemned man prepares for death, takes the last communion; he is led to a scaffold in the courtyard. The car caught up with the train, the governor signed a pardon, the paper was brought into prison at the moment when the executioner throws a noose around the neck of an innocently convicted person. The unjust law is defeated - husband, wife and child finally together.
Episode "Bartholomew's Night"
The heroes of this story are a young Huguenot couple, a girl nicknamed Brown Eyes and her lover Prosper Latour. On the eve of St. Bartholomew's night, they concluded an engagement. The next morning the massacre begins. Catholics rush into the house, the girl’s mother is killed, her little sister is thrown out of the cradle: the theme of the cradle of the “eternal mother” (Lilian Gish) runs through the entire film. A soldier-mercenary who has long glanced at the girl, grabs her and tries to drag her into the bedroom. She resists, and in the fight he pierces with her sword. Prosper tries to save his beloved, but comes too late: he finds a mortally wounded girl on the floor. With the corpse of the bride, he runs out into the street and prays to the King’s soldiers to shoot him.
Episode "The Life and Suffering of Christ"
Includes scenes of "Jesus among the Pharisees", "Marriage in Cannes", "Pir Valtasar." The scene ends with the crucifixion of Christ at Calvary. Moment is key to understanding the film’s missionary intent. Only after the completion of the storyline about the life and suffering of Christ, ending with the crucifixion scene - the atonement for the sins of mankind - does the main “American” storyline end.
The idea lying on the surface - American democracy, multiplied by technical and social achievements (racing cars, telephone, justice system) allows to complete the movie with a happy ending, to prevent the death of the innocent of crime. The latest achievement of technology - cinema - is also implicitly contrasted with the classic missionary efforts to “correct morals”, shown satirically in the film, as a much more effective way of spreading ideas of tolerance and changing beliefs.
The deeper purpose of "Intolerance" is the deliverance from suffering for all people, due to the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The ending of the film (shining cross, angels, world peace) is devoted to this topic.
Thus, Griffith was one of the first to attempt to convey Christian values and worldviews with the latest means for that time. American democracy, multiplied by the latest technology, he considers the solution of the age-old problems of mankind and a step forward in the embodiment of Christian values. To strengthen this idea, he completes the film with a revolutionary for that time happy ending .
In the finale, with the help of the first applied cross-cutting, the completion of all storylines is shown: Christ is led to Calvary ; a girl in love with Belshazzar is in a hurry to warn him about the betrayal of the priests, but they all die; Huguenot does not save his beloved; the wife of a worker rushes by car with the order of the governor to pardon her husband. Only in the last storyline everything is completed safely. The film ends with an epilogue consisting of episodes shot in the general plan.
Seymour Stern about the epilogue  :
In the epilogue, Griffith shows in the bright frames of Armageddon the coming times, unleashing a world war, as well as the bombardment of New York , the overthrow of the last world tyrants , the destruction of prisons and all instruments of oppression, the liberation of all people and all nations from all types of enslavement, the beginning of universal peace on the foundations universal love and, as if the crown of everything - an apocalyptic vision, accompanied by a subtitle: "And true love will bring us eternal peace."
- Lillian Gish / mother rocking the cradle
Episode "Mother and Law"
- Mae Marsh / "the sweetest of the girls"
- Robert Harron / boy
- Sam De Grass / Jenkins Beast Manufacturer
- Miriam Cooper / "abandoned"
- Walter Long / Slum Musketeer
- Marguerite Marsh / debutante
- Lloyd Ingrem / Judge
- Todd Browning / Thief
- Edward Dillon / Thief
- Monty Blue / Striker Organizer
- A.-U. Mac Lure / Pastor
Episode "The Life and Suffering of Christ"
- Howard Gay / Jesus of Nazareth
- George Walsh / groom from Cana
- Bessie Love / Bride
- Olga Gray / Mary Magdalene
- Erich von Stroheim / Pharisee
Episode "Bartholomew's Night"
- Margery Wilson / Brown-eyed, Huguenot
- Eugene Pellet / Prosper Latour, Groom, Huguenot
- Josephine Crowell / Ekaterina Medici
- Frank Bennett / Karl IX
- Spottiswood Aitken / Admiral Coligny
- Douglas Fairbanks / man on a white horse
The episode "The Fall of Babylon"
- Constance Tolmage / girl from the mountains
- Elmer Clifton / Rhapsody
- Olfred Paget / Valtasar
- Sina Owen / Favorite Queen
- Telly Marshall / High Priest of Baal
- Cheval Carmen
- Mildred harris
- Carol Dempster
- Polina Stark
- Herbert Birbom Three
- Donald Crisp
- Owen moore
- Noel Coward
- Colleen moore
- Silvia Ashton
- Constance collier
- Madame Sul-Te-Wan
- Carmel myers
Work on the film
The film was created in response to the criticism that hit Griffith’s previous film, The Birth of a Nation , because of its explicitly racist content. While still at the stage of editing The Birth of a Nation, Griffith began to film the new film Mother and the Law. The theme for the film’s script, which later became the basis of the Intolerance episode, was the trial of the Stillow case and the Federal Industrial Commons report on the strike, which, according to Lewis Jacobs , 19 workers were shot by order of the owner of the chemical enterprise. 
In early 1915, the film “Mother and the Law” was completed, but its release on the screens was delayed. Georges Sadoul names 2 possible reasons: 
- Griffith was going to supplement the film.
- Financiers of "Triangla" were afraid of unrest, which could have arisen due to "... some social" free-thinking "film ..."
Filming "Intolerance" began in the summer of 1915 with the financial support of the company " Work Company ", the main founder of which was Griffith. The film consisted of four episodes: "The Mother and the Law", "The Life and Sufferings of Christ", "St. Bartholomew's Night" and "The Fall of Babylon". The episode “Mother and the Law” cost less than others. [one]
The main one was the “Babylonian episode”, which required huge expenses. Georges Sadoul specifies the following amounts: 
- $ 650,000 is the feast of Belshazzar, which, in Sadoul’s opinion, is more expensive than a genuine biblical feast.
- $ 96,000 - extras (about 16 thousand people);
- $ 7,000 - the queen's outfit;
- more than $ 1,000 - the mantle of the queen;
- $ 20,000 - corps de ballet;
- $ 360,000 - dresses for rent;
- $ 300,000 - building materials.
Griffith commissioned the shooting of each scene of the "Babylonian episode" to a large number of cameramen. Shooting was conducted simultaneously from different angles of the site, thus taking pictures from different angles and at a different pace.  “Traveling” in the “Babylon episode” was carried out with the help of a tethered balloon. This method of shooting and subsequently rarely repeated.  Griffith called his film "solar drama", as he rarely filmed in artificial light.  On the part of the foundation of the "Babylonian scenery" were built pavilions of the studio "Walt Disney"  .
For the filming of "St. Bartholomew's Night" a whole quarter of old Paris was reproduced. $ 250,000 was spent on the shooting of the episode, 2,500 extras participated in them. The “Passion of the Christ” episode cost the creators $ 300,000, 3,500 extras were invited for it.  This episode is mainly based on general plans. Recreation of the temples of Galilee and other decorations involved Frank Wortman. The wedding scene was staged according to Jewish traditions, with the participation of Rabbi Myers. 
For extras, giant kitchens were organized, and soup bowls circulated in trolleys along the narrow-gauge railway of the Dequeville system . [one]
In the completed film was almost 14 reels, that is, about 4.1 thousand meters. This means that Griffith used only one meter out of 30 meters of the filmed film.  Almost entirely the scenery for the film was destroyed in the years 1930-1932, but some turned into houses  .
Seymour Stern on the premiere  :
At the end of August 1916, the New York press published half-page announcements about the upcoming premiere of Intolerance, which was called "a colossal performance, a brilliant spectacle of the era."
The premiere took place on Friday evening, September 5, 1916, in the Liberty Tiater ( English Liberty Theater ) in New York . [one]
At the premiere came hundreds of famous artists, theater and film workers. [one]
Due to the large number of people, the session, which usually began at 8 o'clock, could begin only at 9 o'clock. During the show, two intermissions were made. The demonstration of the painting ended only at one in the morning. The projection of the original copy took 3 hours and 35 minutes. Fees for the first month exceeded the four-week “Birth of the Nation” gathering in the same theater. [one]
From the announcement in London  :
The working title of the painting was “Mother and Law”. For more than five years D.-U. Griffith personally engaged in this film ... Adding to his modern history the events of the past years, Griffith was completely excluded from all the old concepts that came from the theater ... Research work to develop these ancient episodes was carried out by a team of experts who worked for three or four years Griffith's material with a volume of six volumes in which they collected the most recent discoveries in this field.
In England, the premiere took place on April 7, 1917, at the Drury Lane Theater, a preliminary film was shown to the royal family and George V at Buckingham Palace. Lloyd George , Winston Churchill , Lord Beaverbrook, Herbert George Wells came to the premiere. [one]
The film did not meet the expectations of the director and failed at the box office.  Despite such widespread advertising, Intolerance suffered a huge commercial collapse. The film lasted for five months on the screen of the Liberty cinema (half the period of the exclusive rental of The Birth of a Nation). In England, "Intolerance" failed to get two months of exclusive hire. [one]
Despite the wishes of the director, the distributors (especially abroad) divided the film into several series and showed them in chronological order. Nowhere, except for the premiere on the screen "Liberty", the film was not a success. 
The key factors that contributed to the failure, according to Sadoul: 
- the film was too long; there were many blunders in the script;
- rivals in American cinematography;
- US entry into the war .
Terry Ramsey on the causes of the collapse  :
Griffith decided to use examples taken from history in order to excite the general public ... But the audience came to Intolerance just in sufficient quantity to find out that they did not understand anything at all in this story. Those for whom the work of art is created, which requires the largest audience, are faced with an almost algebraic film designer. It ended in confusion.
Renee Bella on the causes of the collapse  :
How to treat absurd thoughts, consider a judicial error an example of intolerance in our day? In this case, only the misfortune of a person takes place ... The case of a judicial error has been brought to the point of absurdity, and this surprises viewers who want only one thing - entertainment.
Sergey Eisenstein  :
... there was a combination of “four different stories”, rather than a fusion of four phenomena into a monotonous generalization ... the formal failure of their merging into a single image of Intolerance is only a reflection of the thematic and ideological fallacy ... The secret here is not professional-technical, but ideologically mental.
According to Sergey Komarov, a number of scenes and episodes of “Intolerance” literally repeat “ Kabiriy ” by Giovanni Pastrone , namely the statues of elephants, who raised their trunks in the central scenery of the Babylonian episode.  Montesanti  and Bellucchio  also spoke about the influence of Pastron on Griffith.
Georges Sadoul wrote about the obviousness of the influence of the Kabiriyas on Griffith, as well as on the borrowing of the “narrative form” and the “manner of continuous change of places of action” . [one]
Griffith himself stated that he had not even seen this film. [eight]
Interestingly, Pastron was very hostile to any plagiarism. So, in order to avoid borrowing, he even built the false scenery of Cabiria  . However, despite this, elephants were borrowed even before Griffith and appeared in the film "Salammbo"  .
From the memoirs of the assistant of Griffith Joseph Henabury  :
Griffith was completely in love with these elephants. He wanted for such an elephant to stand on each of the eight columns of the palace of Valtasar. I began to rummage through my books. “I am sorry,” I said, “I do not find any excuse for these elephants. I don’t care what Dore or some other Bible illustrator drew there. I see no reason to put these elephants here. First, there were no elephants in this country. They could have known about them, but I did not find a single link to this. ”
In the end, this guy Wales (head of Traiengl’s established research department) somewhere found a comment about the elephants on the walls of Babylon, and Griffith was delighted to literally jump on him, he really wanted those elephants.
Mikhail Yampolsky claims that the Babylonian scenery has another pictorial source - the painting “The Feast of Belshazzar” by the English painter John Martin (1820).  . Henson points out that Griffith knew this picture well, since its reproduction was in an album of visual materials collected by him for the film  .
In the picture, as in the Griffith film, there are huge columns, but topped with not elephants, but snakes. Interestingly, the director replaces snakes with elephants, since elephants are traditionally considered to be snake antagonists  .
In 1831, X. S. Silous created the engraving, The Destruction of the Tower of Babel, which is a clear imitation of John Martin. But in an engraving of Sizlow, four sculptures of an elephant appear  .
General artistic intent
The main artistic feature of the film is that it touches upon and illustrates the classic Christian biblical themes presented by the new medium - the language of cinema. The director made a rather bold and decisive attempt to find a way to solve the age-old problems of mankind in modern time and society.
It is important that, as an illustration of his main idea, along with the dramatic events of the past and biblical scenes, he also chose a storyline that is relevant and well understood by the majority of viewers - the Americans, for whom the film was primarily created. All the artistic, technical, plot and other, even not very significant, features of the film (up to the title design, slightly resembling the Bible) cannot be correctly understood and appreciated if the general missionary idea of the film is not taken into account.
The director made a lot of revolutionary innovations that remained forever in the arsenal of cinema, precisely in an attempt to create a grandiose cinematic cathedral, all the constituent elements of which are subordinated to a single common idea.
Georges Sadoul on the structure of the film  :
At the beginning of Intolerance, these four stories really sound almost epic, since there is a relative balance between the “heads” still clearly separated from one another. But, starting from the middle, the pace of action accelerates, the rhythm becomes more intermittent and all the episodes, all eras seem to merge into one — into persecution, obeying Griffith’s favorite technique — last-minute salvation.
Vsevolod Pudovkin noted the expressiveness of close-ups; deep understanding of the role of detail; skillful use of frame composition to underline the psychological state of the characters; the grand scale of the production; variety in the use of means of imaging equipment - assaults, influxes, darkening and, finally, a perfect sense of rhythm in the installation constructions. 
An important technical innovation in the film was that all four plots from different eras and different countries were developed not separately, but simultaneously.  The monoliths between episodes, which carry viewers from one era to another, are broken up with captions decorated as a double page spread of an old book-folio. Nowadays, scientific footnotes on some titles appear peculiar - who exactly recreated the marriage ceremony in ancient Babylon, according to the monograph of which scientist this or that scene was filmed, etc. In the modern understanding, a kind of mixture of artistic and popular science takes place.
The traditional ending of the happy end , which later migrated from American cinema to all others, began with the Griffith films. Initially, he was even called "the happy griffit rescue at the last moment." Before Griffith, it was considered good practice to film not just dramas, but tragedies . The main character should have certainly died in the final, the audience went to the cinema, waiting in advance for this, as now many are waiting for the traditional happy ending.
"Intolerance" was one of the first films where the main (most relevant for American viewers) storyline ends happily. This innovative for the time artistic decision reinforced the film, allowed to convey to the viewer the missionary plan of the director and made the film a classic of world cinema.
Georges Sadul on installation  :
Editing, used as a creative method, as a stylistic device and almost as a world view, is the essence of Intolerance. Greater frame saturation almost eliminates the movement of the apparatus. Several "Trevelling" in the first part of the film emphasize the significance of the scenery.
The montage swallowed such a huge amount of film because Griffith, having sketched a literary script, was shooting without a working script.
Initially, Griffith wanted to put "Intolerance" in 80 parts and release it in series. However, for the implementation of such a project, he did not find enough money.  The film turned out in 14 parts, which was also an extraordinary phenomenon at that time.
The film had a complex structure, a complex installation system. For its time, "Intolerance" was an innovative film, ahead in many respects the spirit of the times. Contemporaries could not give him the correct rating. [eight]
Griffith became the founder of a new approach to film editing. Such a seemingly purely technical device, such as assembly gluing, was used by him to fundamentally change the concept of screen time and scene. The maximum that the directors dared to Griffith dared was an intra episodic montage (enlargement of the plan for fixing mimicry of the characters) or montage of several consecutive episodes. Griffith was the first to go beyond this framework, using the montage to go over to other scenes, scenes, time epochs. At the beginning of the film, each such transition is accompanied by a text commentary, designed as a page from a folio-book, which helps the viewer to realize and prepare for the transition to a new space-time dimension. As events accelerate in all storylines at the end of the film, Griffith moves on to a direct assembly glue between dissimilar episodes.
Innovation has led to a huge overrun of the film (1:30), as well as to the fact that the audience did not understand the film, and it turned out to be a commercial failure . However, the film went down in history, in fact becoming one of the first feature films in the modern sense.
Intolerance, along with Kabiriya , is a harbinger of the peploom genre. Cecile Blount de Mille restored and used the “Babylonian scenery” for his “ Ten Commandments ”  .
In 1958, in Brussels, as part of the World's Fair, Belgian cinematics conducted a survey among the world's leading film critics to determine the “twelve best films of all times and peoples”. David Griffith's “Intolerance” is rightfully included in the honorary list. 
“Kidnapping a Child” is a masterpiece that has had a profound influence on the subsequent evolution of cinema with its plot and style ... Another famous episode comes out of this episode: kidnapping of the “kid” from the “charity” in the movie “The Kid ” (1920). It is strange that they often do not pay attention to this obvious duty of Chaplin to Griffith.- Georges Sadoul 
Griffith represents the past of cinema art, although no one has the honor of cinema art recognizing his right to have his past ...
D.-U. Griffith is fascinated by details, but he avoids dryness. And yet other shots of the "Hearts of the World" are rather dry ... "Intolerance" is more rhythmic. The symphony is growing, growing in unison, disintegrating, transforming from the wealth of detail; she is flawless. The rhythm of the picture is amazing. It is he who turns "Intolerance" into a true work of art, and Griffith - into an artist ...
He, if you like, is the first introduction to cinema, Ince is the second.- Louis Delluc 
... in Intolerance, he already introduces the synthetic concept of editing, from which Soviet cinema will draw extreme conclusions and which at the end of a silent period will receive, albeit not in such absolute terms, universal acceptance.- Andre Bazin 
In the LA Noire video game released in 2011, in one of the investigations, a photo of the scenery for the Babylonian episode from the film “Intolerance”, in which the suspect played the plot, was in the clue, and at the end of this investigation there will also be a pursuit of the suspect according to these scenery. Also in the same game, but in another case, among these decorations, it will be necessary to look for a maniac.
- Georges Sadul . The general history of cinema. - M .: Art, 1958. - T. 1.
- Tim Dirks, "Intolerance (1916)", The Best Films of All Time - A Primer of Cinematic History, (English) . The appeal date is July 15, 2009. Archived March 4, 2012.
- Joe Franklin. = Classics of the Silent Screen. - New York : The Citadel Press, 1959.
- Stefan Zito. = American Film Institute and Library of Congress. - Washington : Cinema Club 9 Program Notes, Post Newsweek Stations, 1971.
- Theadore Huff. = Huff, Theodore quoted in Classics of the Silent Screen. - New York : The Citadel Press, 1959.
- Jerzy Toepitz . The history of cinema 1895-1928. - M .: Progress, 1967. - T. 1.
- I. A. Muski. 100 great foreign films. - M .: Veche, 2008. - 480 p. - 5000 copies - ISBN 978-5-9533-2750-3 .
- Sergey Komarov . Silent cinema // History of foreign cinema. - M .: Art, 1965. - T. 1.
- S. M. Eisenstein . Dickens, Griffith and we. - M .: Art, 1956. - P. 195. - (Collection of articles "Selected articles").
- Montesanti. = Pastrone e Griffith: mito di un rapporto. - N: Bianco e nero, 1975.
- Bellucchio. = "Cabiria" e "Intolerance" tra il serio e il faceto. - N: Bianco e nero, 1975.
- B. Henson. 54 // = DW Griffith: Some Sources. - The Art Bul letin, 1993. - p. 493-515.
- Cherchi Usai. 5-8 // = Cherchi Usai P. Pastrone. - Bianco e nero, 1975. - 77-279 p. - (Intertextualism and cinema).
- C. Brownlow. = The parade's gone by ... - N. Y .: Bonanza Books, 1968.
- Mikhail Yampolsky. Memory Tiresia. - M .: RIK "Culture", 1993. - (Intertextuality and cinema). - ISBN 5-8334-0023-6 .
- Fiver. = The Art of Jonh Martin. - Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975. - P. 110-111.
- Comp. P. Atashov, S. Akhushkov. Collection of articles // Griffith, D. W. - M. , 1944.
- Louis Delluc . Photogenia cinema. - Digest of articles. - M. , 1924.
- Andre Bazin . What is a movie? - Digest of articles. - M .: Art, 1972.
- Full movie on archive.org
- Review and detailed presentation of the film (English)
- Intolerance on the Internet Movie Database (Checked April 25, 2012)
- "Intolerance" (English) on the site Rotten Tomatoes (Checked April 25, 2012)
- Intolerance (eng.) On the site allmovie (Checked April 25, 2012)