Jan 25, 2018 in Analysis

The Birth of a Nation by D.W. Griffith

Griffith’s film show on The Birth of a Nation dates back in the early 1915s when it occurred for the first time filmed in the White House. It showcased a number of aspects; some related to the evolving America while others appearing as rather contradictory. Griffith managed to write and screenplay the entire narrative with the help of other co-writers like Frank E. Woods and Thomas Dixon. Moreover, a co-producer of the famous film included Aitken Harry. By February 1915, there occurred the first ever release of this esteemed film. Despite the fact, this film succeeded financially it still encountered a lot of detest from some of its viewers. Additionally, in some countries, the airplay of this film encountered banning due to its contradicting contents (Gazetas 23).

By contradicting, I mean that some of the aspects portrayed in this film provoked different feelings amongst the viewers. For instance, in the motion picture, the African-American men appeared as inferior individuals. Furthermore, they were described as people with certain sexual immoralities directed to the white women. In addition, the film displays the Ku Klux Klan as a heroic group (Stokes 8).

This picture further emphasizes on matters pertaining to racism at length

It possesses immense significance to the citizens and the state at large. For instance, the entire event that represented the civil war portrayed a great struggle and effort to achieve liberty. The work done by Griffith in the subsequent movies occurs as a success in terms of portraying the levels of stereotype that existed since ancient American times. Besides, the film appears as a successful accomplishment of silent film methods. The film showcased a war that existed between two families from different races. One family included the Stonemans brothers who came from the north; the other one – the southern Camerons.

The film influenced differently to the Americans and the rest of the world

Griffith’s work had to be edited and re-edited over the decades in order to evade the prejudice that came from the public. The advancements of this narrative changed the original context of the whole film. This happened since most nations and people thought that this film portrayed high levels of stereotype against the African-Americans. This even led to various campaigns held by the African-Americans against the airplay of this film (Simmon 23).

Thus, Griffith further edited the film to suit the desires of these people and evade such prejudice. However, despite the numerous attempts to kill the stereotype that occurred in the film, this aspect still existed. Hence, Griffith faced retirement for the immense stereotype he displayed in his motion picture.

The current technology done to this film made it more pleasant to watch

Although the film encountered immense innovation in its mode of screenplay, there occurs no doubt that it still portrays a lot of stereotype (Green 13). This movie now gets a better airplay than before. The modern technologies helped to improve the visual qualities and the number of audience that watch it in national theaters. It continues to encounter advancements, though at the expense of its original meaning. The current actors are different, and they use modified language, different from the one of the pre-civil war era. In the first attempt to innovate this film, a filmmaker Billy Bitzer used night photography. He did this by lighting magnesium flares in the dark night. This was an attempt to improve the battle scenes in the film. He used such innovatory techniques to make the film more interesting and civilized as compared to the former ones.

The film The Birth of a Nation served a great purpose in re-writing certain fundamental aspects of the American War. First, the key factor that appeared in it included the immense stereotype that existed in the war periods. This was displayed by how vicious the white men appeared towards their black counterparts. This occurs one of the crucial causes of prejudice towards this film, as well. Some nations banned the film’s screenplay while the African-Americans protested vigorously against the course of the movie. Apart from displaying black slavery in this film, there occurred a re-writing of birth of aspects such as the birth of racism and its impacts (Rollins 46).

The American Civil War characterized itself with immense contempt towards the black Americans

In addition, the racial segregations occurred vividly considering how the African- Americans were treated. The Birth of a Nation attempts to bring out these aspects clearly from the way the blacks are treated in the entire motion picture. Moreover, the levels of stereotype that appear in the film occur rather wanting to must viewers (“D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation,” n.d.).

The subsequent editions and screenplays of this film became literally advanced due to the immense innovations that they encountered. All the events in the war scenes and how the black Americans were treated appear in a clearer way. However, numerous alterations occurred while Griffith was still alive. This happened in order to avoid detest from most people. Furthermore, he had to alter some of the events since nine countries banned the screenplay of this film due to the immense stereotype it depicted. The movie also emphasizes on matters pertaining to the American presidency and its contribution to the racial segregation and stereotypes. One more important part featured in the film – the Afro-American sexual maltreatment against the white women.

To conclude, as much as large changes occurred in The Birth of a Nation, it still possesses the same initially aspects there were. The maker of the film tried to make it more pleasant by editing some of the scenes, but the levels of racism and stereotype remained high. As such, before the death of Griffith, his legacy in film-making and directing died. Nevertheless, people still find the motion picture interesting and immensely moving. Thus, alterations so far occur in the subsequent editions of the film in order to increase the interest and zeal of the viewers towards it.


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