Download Stagestruck Filmmaker: D. W. Griffith and the American by David Mayer PDF

By David Mayer

An actor, a vaudevillian, and a dramatist sooner than he grew to become a filmmaker, D. W. Griffith used the assets of theatre to nice objective and to nice ends. In pioneering the quintessentially sleek medium of movie from the Nineties to the Nineteen Thirties, he drew from older, extra generally attractive level sorts of melodrama, comedy, vaudeville, and diversity. In Stagestruck Filmmaker, David Mayer brings Griffith’s strategy vividly to lifestyles, supplying distinct and beneficial insights into the racial, ethnic, type, and gender problems with those transitional decades.

Combining the uncooked fabrics of theatre, circus, minstrelsy, and dance with the more recent visible codes of movies, Griffith grew to become the 1st said artist of yankee movie. Birth of a Nation particularly demonstrates the measure to which he used to be inspired by means of the racist justifications and distorting interpretations of the Civil conflict and the Reconstruction period. relocating in the course of the significant stages of Griffith’s occupation in chapters geared up round key motion pictures or teams of movies, Mayer offers a captivating account of the yankee degree and cinema within the ultimate years of the 19th century and the 1st 3 a long time of the 20 th century.

Griffith’s courting to the theatre was once tricky, advanced, and enduring. lengthy well-known because the dominant artistic determine of yank movies, all through twenty-six years of constructing greater than motion pictures he pillaged, tailored, reshaped, revitalized, preserved, and extolled. by way of historicizing his representations of race, ethnicity, and otherness, Mayer areas Griffith inside of an total template of yank existence within the years while movie rivaled after which passed the theatre in popularity.

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Extra resources for Stagestruck Filmmaker: D. W. Griffith and the American Theatre

Sample text

Dixon’s narrative skills, apart from his unsavory theme, are sophisticated. Griffith’s depiction of African Americans in The Birth of a Nation is altogether of a different order from his other foreign exotic characters: drawing directly on sources which are hostile to any rapprochement between whites and blacks. There is neither novelty nor exoticism in his South Carolina Negroes, who are portrayed as people of low intelligence, yet cunning and devious. Morally, they are shown to be dangerously lascivious and corruptible.

Having introduced Lincoln, Griffith shows, in some detail, his— for the Confederacy as well as the Union—disastrous assassination. The final half of the film depicts alleged atrocities of the Reconstruction period, atrocities committed by former African American slaves with the connivance of the same Northern abolitionists, which, both Dixon and Griffith insisted, would never have happened had Lincoln lived. Some of the subsequent allegations, 18 : introduction those relating to the war’s causes, are partly true.

Rather, devised and organized for travel, it earned the dramatic company and its producers their livelihood in provincial America, where it played to appreciative, if not necessarily discriminating, 32 : the mobile theatre Railway map, 1896, advertising the Southern Railway line to theatrical patrons and depicting connections through Griffith’s hometown of Louisville. audiences. The play remained immensely popular in provincial playhouses and a remunerative theatrical property through 1904, when, after the release of the Edison-Porter film, it repeated its earlier tour.

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