Birth of a Nation, The (2 -Disc Special Edition Blu-ray)

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The Birth of a Nation (1915) is writer-producer-director D.W. Griffith’s groundbreaking silent epic, a work of egregious racism (it was originally titled The Clansman, which is certainly significant) that also, tragically, was perhaps the most original and influential work of art produced by the still-nascent movie industry. It’s been called both “savage” and “the most influential film in history”; now – via this splendid preservation/reconstruction from Patrick Stanbury and Kevin Brownlow, the latter of whom has declared that “we can never censor the past” – modern audiences can see and judge for themselves.

Starring: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall, Miriam Cooper, Robert Harron, Wallace Reid, Donald Crisp

Directed By: D.W. Griffith

Written By: Thomas Dixon Jr., D.W. Griffith, Frank E. Woods

Score By: Joseph Carl Briel 

Language: English

Video: 1080p High Definition / 1.33:1 / Color Tinted

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA / English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Theatrical Release: 1915

Runtime: 191 Minutes

Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Region Code: Region Free (A/B/C)

Special Features: 

Disc 1:

The Feature Film (191 Minutes) Restored by Patrick Stanbury  With the Original Joseph Carl Briel Score, conducted by John Lanchbery in Both 5.1 and 2.0 Audio

1930 Sound Reissue Prologue  D.W. Griffith in conversation with Walter Huston, star of his 1930 sound film Abraham Lincoln.

1930 Sound Reissue Intermission and Introduction to Act 2  Huston recites sections from Woodrow Wilson’s A History of the American People.

Disc 2:

Outtakes and Original Camera Tests

Stills and Collections Gallery

Silent Feature: The Coward (1915 ~ Produced by Thomas H. Ince, Directed by Reginald Barker) Released nine months after The Birth of a Nation premiered, this Civil War drama concerns the weak-willed son (Charles Ray) of a Southern officer (Frank Keenan), forced to enlist at gunpoint, and coming to terms with cowardice.

Silent Short: The Rose of Kentucky (1911 ~ Directed by D.W. Griffith) Three years before shooting on Birth began, Griffith made his only other film featuring the Klan, in this case labeled the Night Riders, and cast as the villains.

Silent Short: Stolen Glory  (1912 ~ Directed by Mack Sennett) Sennett, who had worked under Griffith at Biograph, had a great fondness for improvising comedy shorts around actual events, in this case a parade of the Grand Army of the Republic, the principal veterans organization for those who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.

Silent Short: The Drummer of the 8th Original Edit, The Drummer of the 8th 2015 Re-Edit (1913 ~ Produced by Thomas H. Ince, Directed by Jay Hunt) Presented in two versions. The Re-Edit shifts the position of later, seemingly out-of-order sequences encountered in the Library of Congress original negative holdings. Both cuts use all existing footage.

The Birth of a Nation Score Recording Sessions in 5.1 Audio

D.W. Griffith on Lux Radio Theater with Cecil B. DeMille

The Birth of a Nation: The Legacy Directed, Written and Edited by John McCarty

The Clansman: From Stage to Screen  Directed and Edited by Daniel Griffith

Text Essay: We Can Never Censor the Past by Kevin Brownlow

Text Essay The Birth of a Nation: The 2015 Restoration by Patrick Stanbury

Text Essay Fighting Back: Responding to The Birth of a Nation by Ashley Clark

Genre: Historical Epic Drama

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units