This was the film that was the looming cloud over the entire list. Silent movies? I really like them. Three hour epics? Just more time I get to spend watching movies. But combine them, and I am a little less than thrilled. And then the fact that the movie was made in 1916 is a little insane. This movie is so old, that some of the women in the movie didn’t even have the right to vote yet. It’s so old that the premiere date of the movie is closer to the Civil War than it is to today. I am all for “vintage”, but this movie is almost 100 years old.
So basically, Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages, is about acts of intolerance in four separate points in history. The earliest takes place in Babylon in 539 BC, the second is the Biblical story leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus, the third is a Renaissance French story about religious intolerance, and the fourth is a “modern” story about wealth, justice and love.
I’m going to be completely honest, I knew what was going on about fifty percent of the time. The modern story and the Jesus story are pretty easy to follow, but the other ones I was completely lost. Dialogue not only moves the plot along, but can really help the audience understand what’s happening if they miss the visual clues. And apparently I was missing a ton of visual clues, it’s a problem when all the girls have dark hair and thick eye liner and the guys are all rockin Babylonian clothes. Usually I am pretty good at understanding what is happening in silent movies, but this could be do to the fact that most silent movies have one plot line, instead of four. But, I tried my best, unfortunately my confusion really hindered my viewing experience.
The one story I enjoyed was the modern one, featuring an adorable girl named “The Dear One” and “The Boy”, the girl actually looked relatively young, the other one was less than young. It’s hard to believe that a boy can have a full blown moustache, and then marry a girl who actually looks like she is 14. But what are you gonna do?
Apparently, this movie was kind of meant to redeem the director, who’s previous works included Birth of a Nation. But if that was the case, was it so necessary to make Jews look extremely selfish and elitist? It just seems a little counter productive.
For the time, the movie is pretty overwhelming. It involved over 3,000 extras, and the amount of storytelling in the film was completely new for the time. So in that respects I can see why it would be such an important film, but I was not it’s biggest fan. I mean I didn’t hate the film, I could tolerate it.
Rating: 2 out of 5 references to some cradle that never stopped rocking