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Mark Cousins view point on Birth of a Nation


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His discussion on Birth of a Nation.He stated,in the documentary,that, Birth of a Nation, after it's premiere,violence started to happen against black citizens.He was implying that Birth of a nation caused it.This is typical of an overly sensitive,who thinks that thought and action are the same, may be.The possible truth.A bunch of bigots exploited the film as an excuse to take action to their hate in hope by blaming the film they could get off lightly.The devil made me do it!Or the violence that happen was just coincidental.At that time racism was very high .It's activity was continuing .There was very little integration and the civil rights movement was very weak,practically inactive.Racists crimes in those day was very high,since black citizens were treated as third class still and not given any police protection.The violence would of happen if there was no Birth of a nation possibly .Remember Jack the ripper did not have to announce that he was going to kill prostitutes ,in order to do it.The worst crime was being done in the deep south.No black citizen was protected barley.In Europe,even way before the war 1 and 2,because most government were authoritarian or a monarchy,free speech was limited.you weren't allowed to criticize the government .Your still not allowed up there.Europeans are use to being dictated what they can and not say Europeans except for a percentage have always been more overly sensitive than Americans,except for a few who are ,here.They get there feeling hurt easily.This is why the Pilgrims left Europe.They were hurting the feeling of the British,then the Netherlands,so they move to the United states.Many Europeans believe bad things are cause by speech not economics.I'm glad i live in this country.Ironically Birth of a Nation is not Banned in Germany or other parts of Europe,like the Great dictator is,at least in Germany,In spite of their over sensitivity they tolerate Birth of a nation up there

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Yeah, I'd say the first half of your post here, the half where you question the whole "cause and effect" thing the movie in question here has been accused of over the years, sounds like a reasonable answer to all that.

 

However, in regard to your opinions expressed in the second half of your post and your suppositions in regard to your history of the Pilgrim's plight in particular, I suggest you watch the following linked video here, as of course there are ALWAYS two or more ways to look at ANY issue...

 

 

 

LOL

 

;)

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Some people go a litle over the top in defending Birth of a Nation. People make overwraught claims about its influence on the Klan and obviously we shouldn't be in the habit of banning movies, but that doesn't mean that (despite being a great cinematic achievement) that it isn't a disgusting and racist film. Sometimes film buffs try to defend it from the "general public" who can't appreciate any of the good things about it just because of the racism, and end up defending Griffith personally, which isn't something you want to do.

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Well, it's a funny thing..... I first saw BIRTH OF A NATION on TV around 1958, during a syndicated Late Show silent movie series on TV. From then and during the next 40 years, all through the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, D.W. Griffith was ALWAYS talked about fondly by movie buffs, directors, actors, etc.

 

It wasn't until after the year 2,000 that he began to be trashed as a person and as a racist.

 

Look at this long list of famous directors who accepted the D.W. Griffith Lifetime Achievement Award from the Director's Guild:

 

1953: Cecil B. DeMille

1954: John Ford

1955: No award

1956: Henry King

1957: King Vidor

1958: No award

1959: Frank Capra

1960: George Stevens

1961: Frank Borzage

1962 - 1965: No award

1966: William Wyler

1967: No award

1968: Alfred Hitchcock

1969: No award

1970: Fred Zinnemann

1971 - 1972: No award

1973: William A. Wellman and David Lean

1974 - 1980: No award

1981: George Cukor

1982: Rouben Mamoulian

1983: John Huston

1984: Orson Welles

1985: Billy Wilder

1986: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

1987: Elia Kazan

1988: Robert Wise

1989: No award

1990: Ingmar Bergman

1991: No award

1992: Akira Kurosawa

1993: Sidney Lumet

1994: Robert Altman

1995: James Ivory

1996: Woody Allen

1997: Stanley Kubrick

1998: Francis Coppola

1999: No award

 

Here is the printed text of Stanley Kubrick's 1997 acceptance speech, and in the speech, Kubrick doesn't say anything bad about Griffith.

 

http://www.indelibleinc.com/kubrick/kubrick-dga.html

 

Kubrick said:

 

D.W. Griffith left us with an inspiring and intriguing legacy, and the award in his name is one of the greatest honors a film director can receive, something for which I humbly thank all of you, very much.

 

But in the year 2,000 Griffith's name was dropped from the award, and from then on all the movie-industry hype has been telling us and trying to indoctrinate us into thinking that Griffith was a bad guy. And I say BS to that. He is still a great guy to me.

 

My theory is that Hollywood big-shots decided to take all their own previous racism and their own denial of black actors substantial roles in old Hollywood movies for 70 years, and place all that blame on Mr. Griffith alone. Shame on them.

 

Mark Cousins, the narrator from Northern Ireland, wasn't born until 1965, which was 7 years AFTER I had already seen BIRTH OF A NATION, and he trashed Griffith after at least 27 - 28 famous directors had already accepted the D.W. Griffith Lifetime Achievment Award from the Director's Guild over a 46 year period, from 1953 to 1999.

 

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1999-12-15/news/9912160090_1_honor-for-film-directors-dga-national-board-griffith-award

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And isn't it funny that the first two directors that won the first two Guild's Lifetime Achievement Awards...

 

1953: Cecil B. DeMille

1954: John Ford

 

...couldn't stand each other and thought each other wasn't a "great guy"...a description of which you seem to place such a high value upon in your defense of Griffith when you stated:

 

>But in the year 2,000 Griffith's name was dropped from the award, and from then on all the movie-industry hype has been telling us and trying to indoctrinate us into thinking that Griffith was a bad guy. And I say BS to that. He is still a great guy to me.

 

Point being, "being a great guy" should have little to do with Art!

 

And btw, you're observation is incorrect about when the "racist" title was placed around Griffith's neck. This thought has been around at least since the 1970s, because I personally remember it being one of the reasons used, RIGHTLY OR WRONGLY, against the showing of "Birth of a Nation" in college film classes or that time.

 

(...AND, it's TOO freakin' bad you have me on your ignore function so you could read and learn how occasionally some of your opinions don't hold up to scrutiny)

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I don't see anything wrong with naming an award after him (it's an award for filmmaking, not humanitarianism) and I'd be honored to recieve a filmmaking awards with his name on it. But I still don't see how you can argue that someone who made a movie like Birth of a Nation isn't racist. I understand that it's based on a novel, but he wasn't making the movie just to show another perspective, a title card at the beginning even claims that the movie is an accurate depiction of history.

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Very true. And thus why my credo has always been:

 

"They put their pants on one leg at a time just like I do"

 

(...meaning of course, everybody has their good and bad points, and so don't idolize anyone...just appreciate what they bring to the table)

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>But I still don't see how you can argue that someone who made a movie like Birth of a Nation isn't racist

 

I'm not arguing that. I'm just saying IT IS A MOVIE.

 

What you are doing would be like saying that Hitchcock approves of murder because he shows so much of it in all his films, therefore Hitchcock must be a crazy guy with a murder fixation on his mind.

 

Maybe some day he will be reviled and called a "crazy man with a murder obsession" because of all his murder films. I don't believe in murder, but I don't blame Hitchcock for being a murder promoter.

 

So I watch BIRTH OF A NATION and I say "Wow, what a movie", just like I watch PSYCHO and say "Wow, what a movie", and I watch REBECCA and I say "Wow, what a movie and I'm glad Mr. DeWinter didn't go to jail." But should we call Hitchcock a bad man and a woman-hater for killing off Rebecca and making that seem ok because "she was a bad woman"?? Of course not.

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No siree, it's a case of you thinking you were eating an apple when you should have realized 'twas an orange.

 

Hitchcock's films are fiction. They are not historical accounts of the birth of a nation like the United States and its attendant factual history. He has a responsibility to not romanticize a vile organization that terrorized and killed African-Americans. Glorifying a rogue entity is clearly irresponsible and his career ultimately suffered as a result of these antisocial views. There is shame in portraying the **** as being heroic and the black people as inferior, weak minded and devious. No, this is not any more accurate than trying to justify that the **** saved the day for the South.

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We got a Griffith trifecta this week with *BOAN, Intolerance* and *Orphans of the Storm.* I had never seen *OOTS* and have been wanting to for ages so bypassed *BOAN* to be awake for it. Was it ever worth it!

 

It is obvious that Griffith is one of the great directors and filmmakers of not just his era but movie history. The innovations he brought to moviemaking lasted long after his career ended and helped shape what we see today on TCM and our theaters. Three to four hours long, they seem to dwarf the other films of the era.

 

According to *Ibdm*, He was born in Kentucky in 1875, the son of a Confederate war hero who told him romanticized stories of the ?Old South?. Margaret Mitchell would later claim she grew up on similar stories and was a teen before learning the South lost so this is not unusual. If we judge him by today?s standards his views would be unacceptable but since the **** was then huge in states like Indiana and Michigan as well as the South he had a lot of company. Perhaps the backlash over *BOAN* caused him to think differently and brought about *Intolerance.*

 

Oddly, *Ibdm* says that he was a staunch defender of Native Americans so I guess we really must be "carefully taught to hate all the people your relatives hate". In short, if these three films were all he ever did, two out of three are not bad. I?d like to see more. His place in movie history might be checkered but he's still one of the greats.

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Actually Hitchcock pretty regularly gets criticized for the treatment of women throughout his filmography. The comparison of his fixation on murder with Griffith's depiction of African-Americans as inferior and the **** as a morally just organization is ridiculous. Again, I'm not saying that Griffith isn't a great director, or that BOAN isn't an important movie with lots of superlatives, just that we shouldn't act like Griffith wasn't a bigot and that he's just being misunderstood.

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Hi Star,

 

Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1937

for Gone with the Wind.

 

She did her homework and the history is accurate. She gets

the history right, the battles right and Southern thinking right.

 

H.L. Mencken had the highest regard for the Southern Planter

class. There's more there than is allowed to be spoken in these

PC times.

 

Have a great weekend,

 

Jake

 

Edited by: JakeHolman on Sep 7, 2013 12:21 PM

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There's more there than is allowed to be spoken in these

PC times.

 

No one, at least here, is not allowing you to speak of how great you feel the southern culture was. What is being challenged is turning a blind eye to the subjugation and dehumanization of African Americans while waxing so poetically about ol' Dixie. You have to see the complete picture; not just what you want to see.

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NOT so fast there, finance. I'VE heard the city fathers of L.A. were all set to name it "Mayberry Park" until cooler heads prevailed and then decided to name it after the lead in that sitcom instead...and I AIN'T talkin' about "KEN Berry" here, dude!

 

(...so where did you hear this misinformation about naming it after that welterweight boxer, huh???)

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*What is being challenged is turning a blind eye to the subjugation and dehumanization of African Americans while waxing so poetically about ol' Dixie. You have to see the complete picture; not just what you want to see.*

 

How presumptuous of you. I have actually read a few books on how the slaves lived on the plantations. Where they came from. What they ate. What they wore. How they got all those things. Where they lived. How their families functioned. How they ran the plantations. And other interesting aspects of their lives.

 

Mammy was a trusted and loved family member whose advice was always welcomed in Gone with the Wind..

 

Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin never set foot

on a plantation.

 

Have a great weekend,

 

Jake in the Heartland

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Give me a freakin' break.

 

So would you have changed places with a slave if you had lived in that era? I dare say NO. You can't argue that they weren't held in bondage without free will. How would you like your will denied?

How would you like that? Defending how slavery wasn't that harmful is beyond the pale.

 

Don't you presume to know what slaves endured.

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This film may be an accurate depiction of what was known of slavery at the time or of what this film maker knew. Birth of a Nation and GWTW are still movies - works of fiction. We can't know exactly what happened because we didn't live through it. But we can enjoy what writers, cinematographers, directors, producers have given us for entertainment.

 

This is not a forum for the discussion of slavery. It is a discussion of movies

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