Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

E-mail Me

Twitter: yourlyingeyes

02 May 2006

Birth of a Nation

I just watched Birth of a Nation on Turner Classic Movies. What a sensational film. The print was superior, a fully restored tinted version with newly recorded original music. The battle scenes put you right there in the fight, with very realistic earthworks and trench fighting. Fiery tints and heavy smoke provide a time-lapsed view of battle that is breathtaking. We are given a gripping re-enactment (or "historical facsimile" as the titles call it) of Lincoln's assassination so realistic you feel the horror of watching it unfold before your eyes. (Another 'facsimile' - of Lee's surrender at Appomatox - featured two absolute dead ringers for the generals.) The score is gorgeous (and no more overblown than a typical John Williams treatment). As you might expect it interleaves various period themes we got to know from Ken Burns's Civil War with classical snippets, but hearing the Ride of the Valkyries behind charging white-clad horsemen is startling yet perversely thriling.

The film is of course searingly racist. The whole premise of the movie is that the very notion that blacks should be considered equals is evil. The real heavies are mulattos, who are unsavory, lecherous and ruthless. Blacks are either loyal servants or misled fools. And the heroes, of course, are the Klan. Interracial marriage, equal rights, and black franchisement are all outrages to be rightfully suppressed. But if we were to view this movie as taking place in a completely different time and place - say, another planet with groups of aliens with names and faces we don't recognize fighting this same epic battle - we surely would not be outraged in the least. To Griffith, his creation was a perfectly natural way to view the destruction of his native culture just five decades removed, though it offends us today.

We should applaud TCM for showing it. They had some appropriate, non-shrill commentary before and after, but it being a silent movie it's unlikely there were any viewers who might have taken a little too much inspiration from its superlative production values. If it's on again, be sure to catch it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this.

May 23, 2006 12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm I love the idea behind this website, very unique.

May 23, 2006 4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great site, how do you build such a cool site, its excellent.

May 23, 2006 4:18 AM  
Anonymous Inversiones en petroleo said...

Hello i think that this is a great post!!!

April 29, 2011 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Frederick said...

A great deal of worthwhile data for me!
Sun-dried recipes | Ham recipes | Game recipes

October 18, 2011 5:16 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home