Review: ‘The Birth of a Nation’

The original score, assembled by J.C. Breil, has been recorded for [this sound re-issue]. But though tuneful the music seems shallow in its tenderness and short of the sweeping spectacle that's the essence of this crossroads production. The print is surprisingly clear.

The original score, assembled by J.C. Breil, has been recorded for [this sound re-issue]. But though tuneful the music seems shallow in its tenderness and short of the sweeping spectacle that’s the essence of this crossroads production. The print is surprisingly clear.

There is the blare of the Klan’s trumpet as the horses and men gallop, and this ride remains a big thrill. There are also battle effects.

The picture startled the world in 1915 by showing in 12 reels. It has been shorn since in running time.

The film cost around $110,000 to make and Billy Bitzer’s photography and Breil’s score still stand out.

The Birth of a Nation

Production

Griffith. Director D.W. Griffith; Music Joseph Carl Breil

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1930. Running time: 108 MIN.
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