Never Has It Looked Like This ...
Blu-Ray Journey Through Intolerance (1916)
Came across a Babylonian tower of an 8mm Intolerance at the last Cinevent and wondered how collectors back in the day stood for ordeal that was threading those tiny reels (well over a dozen) to sit three+ hours before a gauzy image. But wait --- I ran such a print, Birth Of A Nation in fact, to a college audience in 1971, juggling plastic reels in darkness and praying each would come in right order. What hills we climbed in that analog, or belt/gear, era. Word to wise: Avoid three hour movies where reel change comes every ten minutes --- it's murder, I say. Show of hands please, for teenage or under collectors who bought D.W. Griffith epics on narrowest gauge from Blackhawk during the 60/70's. Here was what separated sissies from the strong. And what about price? Intolerance set us back $90.98/$103.98 for 8mm/Super 8 respectively in 1970 (the equivalent of $409.74 or $468.28 today). You can get the Blu-Ray for under $30. Who says old days were better?
|Dig Deep, You Blackhawk Buyers, or Mow Grass/Shampoo Dogs Till You Drop,|
For Privilege Of Owning Intolerance on 8mm.
Intolerance tends to be a duty sit even for most confirmed cineastes. Griffith himself would later admit it was "more depressing than hopeful." Three of four interlocked stories have downer ends, so to watch alone is no spur to sunny days. I say days because it takes me multiple ones to push through Intolerance. A last two views, one on laser disc 25 years back, and most recently the Blu-Ray, were spread over three/four sessions. So why lie across this track? For me, a reason is quality like nothing dreamt of before --- this Intolerance takes the long bridge from swamp that was older prints and gives best evidence of DWG as then-master of composition/action-staging, all of what he was lauded for then and we had to take largely on faith thanks to compromised presentations from 1916 to now. Are we in a Golden Age of film retrieval and rebirth? Weekly arrival of digital marvels like Intolerance say yes.
I'm for cutting cake on hundredth anniversary for Intolerance, since production did begin (on intended stand-alone feature The Mother and The Law) in 1914. What became Intolerance was actually cobbled from that venture plus a grand-scale
Griffith was the showman extraordinaire for all his openers. First-nighting to Intolerance would have been like going to the circus or a rock concert today. People surely came out of shows wrung out, what with all of live stuff plus emotional head-bang of the film. Trouble was