AFI #49: Intolerance

I’ll be perfectly honest, I wasn’t too hip on watching a three hour silent movie from 1916. I gave Intolerance 20 minutes or so and figured…well…I tried. But this is my journey through the AFI Top 100 and I get to make the rules. I got the gist.

Intolerance is D.W. Griffith’s response to criticism that his 1915 landmark film The Birth of a Nation was racist. I actually saw The Birth of a Nation in a college film class — it’s part of any decent history of film class — and it was definitely racist! Hell, it had the KKK in it. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important. Still, Intolerance seems like an obvious answer to critics: let’s make a film that shows the downside of intolerance.

I’ll give the film this much — it was an epic undertaking. I can’t imagine it was easy to film with all those locations and extras. The costume budget alone must have been overwhelming. Still, life is too short to watch three hours of it. 🙂

Next: Rear Window

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