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Birth of a Nation - Special Edition [Blu-ray]

Lillian Gish , Gibson Gowland , D.W. Griffith    Blu-ray
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 42.99
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Birth of a Nation - Special Edition [Blu-ray] + All Quiet on the Western Front (Limited Edition Digibook) (Region Free)
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Product Description

Product Description

More than 75 years after its initial release, The Birth of a Nation remains one of the most controversial films ever made and a landmark achievement in film history that continues to fascinate and enrage audiences. It is the epic story of two families, one northern and one southern, during and after the Civil War. D. W. Griffith's masterful direction combines brilliant battle scenes and tender romance with a vicious portrayal of African-Americans. It was the greatest feature-length blockbuster yet to be produced in the United States and the first to be shown in the White House. After seeing it, President Woodrow Wilson remarked it was "like writing history with lightning!"

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A pivotal moment in film history. After The Birth of a Nation, nothing was the same: not the way audiences watched movies, not the way filmmakers created them. D.W. Griffith's jumbo-size saga of the Civil War expanded the boundaries of storytelling on the screen, conveying a richer, more complicated (and certainly longer) tale than anyone had seen in a movie before. The delicate relationships, the sad passage of time, the spectacular battle scenes all look as fresh and innovative today as they did in 1915. So do Griffith's brilliant actors, most of them--including favorite leading lady Lillian Gish--drawn from his regular stock company. What has become increasingly problematic about The Birth of a Nation is Griffith's condescending attitude toward black slaves, and the ringing excitement surrounding the founding of the Ku Klux Klan. Griffith, whose political ideas were naive at best, seemed genuinely surprised by the criticism of his masterwork, and for his next project he turned to the humanist preaching of the massive Intolerance. Despite protests, Birth sold more tickets than any other movie, a record that stood for decades, and President Woodrow Wilson famously compared it to "history written in lightning." That judgment has lasted. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:DVD
I am one of the rare people in my generation who loves silent movies. This ranks among my top three favorites. It is a classic story of the Civil War, told from the South's point of view (controversial at the time and still so today). "Birth of a Nation" tells the story of two families, one from the North and the other from the South, whose friendships and loves are tested by the war and its tragic aftermaths.
One of the greatest actors of all time, Henry B. Walthall, portrays Ben Cameron (The Little Colonel) with both physical and romantic grace. His character is a soldier, a son, a brother, an avenger, and a lover. He plays each of these sub-roles with dignity and skill not seen much in Hollywood these days. A beautiful and delicate Lillian Gish plays Elsie Stoneman, the woman he loved without even meeting her at first. Mae Marsh is delightful and tragic as the ill-fated Flora, Ben's little sister. Other noteworthy performances given are Joseph Henabery as an uncanny and kindhearted Abraham Lincoln; Ralph Lewis as the stubborn and powerhungry Austin Stoneman; the classic beauty Miriam Cooper as Margaret Cameron; and George Siegmann as the mulatto villain Silas Lynch.
This film has romance, action, drama, and even some bits of humor as well. If you're ever in the mood for a film which touches the heart as well as the mind and body, then please search out "Birth of a Nation". You'll be so glad you did.
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Format:VHS Tape
I am one of the rare people in my generation who loves silent movies. This ranks among my top three favorites. It is a classic story of the Civil War, told from the South's point of view (controversial at the time and still so today). "Birth of a Nation" tells the story of two families, one from the North and the other from the South, whose friendships and loves are tested by the war and its tragic aftermaths.
One of the greatest actors of all time, Henry B. Walthall, portrays Ben Cameron (The Little Colonel) with both physical and romantic grace. His character is a soldier, a son, a brother, an avenger, and a lover. He plays each of these sub-roles with dignity and skill not seen much in Hollywood these days. A beautiful and delicate Lillian Gish plays Elsie Stoneman, the woman he loved without even meeting her at first. Mae Marsh is delightful and tragic as the ill-fated Flora, Ben's little sister. Other noteworthy performances given are Joseph Henabery as an uncanny and kindhearted Abraham Lincoln; Ralph Lewis as the stubborn and powerhungry Austin Stoneman; the classic beauty Miriam Cooper as Margaret Cameron; and George Siegmann as the mulatto villain Silas Lynch.
This film has romance, action, drama, and even some bits of humor as well. If you're ever in the mood for a film which touches the heart as well as the mind and body, then please search out "Birth of a Nation". You'll be so glad you did.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A monumental if deeply disturbing film May 17 2004
Format:DVD
I can only liken finally watching "Birth of a Nation" to the times when I have viewed Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda films -- I admire the filmmaking but I deplore the content. Terms such as "groundbreaking" and "landmark" are used pretty freely in film history, but BoaN deserves all the technical accolades one can muster. I had to keep reminding myself that this film was made in 1915, only three years after the Titanic sank. Griffith takes risks and blazes trails at such an early date.
What is also important to consider is that this film was made when a good deal of the cast, as well as the audience watching it had lived through Reconstruction. It reminds us how deeply divided the nation was even 50 years after Appamatox. This presentation is hardly balanced -- the cartoonish portrayal of the non-sympathetic charaters is so brazen the film is rendered preachy and heavy-handed, if not laughable. It is important to note the roots of fear that this film highlights -- mulattos are the dregs of society and miscegenation is the greatest evil imaginable. It's amazing to see how deeply racist the world-view is here, again reminiscent of Nazi propaganda.
The making of documentary is hardly enlightening. It does provide some look into the production itself, but very little comment is made on the social and ethical context here. Why are some of the black characters played by African-Americans while others are simply white actors in black face? One wishes that the DVD producers would have had more foresight or nerve to talk about the 10 ton elephant in the corner that I guess they wish we would ignore.
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Format:DVD
Silent motion picture historical epic, about a Southern family’s experiences during the American Civil War (1861-1865) and Reconstruction, based on two novels and a play by Thomas Dixon. The movie costed 110.000 $ and was a big box-office hit, (10.000.000 $ in its time, about 1 billion $ today !!) but it also inspired race riots , protests, boycotts and eventually a move toward film censorship laws. Released in 1915, this film was directed by D. W. Griffith and is notable for its radical technical innovations. The Birth of a Nation is considered among the most important and influential films ever made, for its success established not only the feature-length film but also the Hollywood star system ,Griffith as the leading motion-picture producer of the time and motion pictures as an art form for cultured spectators, stunning audiences with its dazzling spectacle of a still-recent event. Until Griffith's time, motion pictures had been short, rarely exceeding one reel; episodic rather than dramatic; and poorly produced, acted, and edited. Griffith's films were frequently several hours in length, contained powerful dramatic situations and vivid characters, and were produced with technical virtuosity. Besides that’s why he is often called The Father of the Motion Picture.
Unlike most of his predecessors, Griffith used in Birth a variety of camera angles and close-ups, for dramatic emphasis and moved the camera close to the action, using many separate shots with flashbacks, which for purposes of clarification of plot or characterization, introduce scenes antedating those already shown.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do...
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Read more
Published 19 months ago by F. Marra
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sur toute la ligne !
Le produit m'a été livré dans le délai prévu. La qualité mentionnée était exacte. Read more
Published 21 months ago by MFJ
5.0 out of 5 stars How about adding Descriptive Video Service for the blind?
Even though this is a silent movie, adding Descriptive Video Service for the blind should be an excellent idea because it will show exactly what happens in the movie. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2011 by Kevin Barton
4.0 out of 5 stars Birth of a Nation (Alpha Video)
One general problem with most of the DVD reviews found on Amazon is that they focus too much on the plot and background of a movie, but do NOT go into the technical details of the... Read more
Published on July 9 2009 by James Dickinson
4.0 out of 5 stars The birth of an art form
The Birth of a Nation was a film I didn't watch due to the controversy, but rather because of its age and my desire to view the roots of cinema. Read more
Published on July 5 2007 by Rob Larmer
2.0 out of 5 stars Birth of a Nation (1915)
This film truly demonstrates Griffith's genius as a director, producer and editor. He manages to tell an epic of a story with bold camera work, clever cuts and balanced pacing. Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2004 by Jonathon Allsopp
5.0 out of 5 stars Just About Brilliant
Using the KKK as heroes is in astonishingly poor taste. Even then, in much lass enlightened times, Griffin was taken to the woodshed and taken to task. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by J
2.0 out of 5 stars This is the SHORT version
This film was one of the assigned viewings for a History of Film class. The professor specified the 180 minute version and specifically described the ending as being important to... Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by Rebellious Fish
5.0 out of 5 stars The best film ever made...
This film is not "deeply disturbibg" or is it "only for film historians", people who wrote bad reviews on this dvd, obviously are not inteligent enough, and the film went over... Read more
Published on May 27 2004 by frumpy-old-spinster
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie!
I recently saw this movie for the first time and I was really
impressed. This movie was made in 1915 but the battle scenes are
as good as any ever put in motion... Read more
Published on May 17 2004 by Robert Cheek
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