AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Intolerance
Alternate Title: The Mother and the Law
Director: D. W. Griffith (Dir)
Release Date:   5 Sep 1916
Duration (in reels):   13-14
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Cast: All ages: Lillian Gish (The woman who rocks the cradle)  
  Judean story: Lillian Langdon (Mary, the Mother)  
    Olga Grey (Mary Magdalene)  
    Baron Von Ritzau (First Pharisee)  
    Count Von Stroheim (First Pharisee)  
    Bessie Love (The Bride of Cana)  
    George Walsh (Bridegroom of Cana)  
    Howard Gaye (Christ)  
    William Brown (The Bride's Father)  
  Medieval French story: Margery Wilson (Brown Eyes)  
    Spottiswoode Aitken (Her Father)  
    Ruth Handforth (Her mother)  
    Eugene Pallette (Prosper Latour)  
    A. D. Sears (The Foreign Mercenary)  
    Frank Bennett (Charles IX, King of France)  
    Maxfield Stanley (Duc D'Anjou)  
    Josephine Crowell (Catherine de Medici)  
    Georgia Pearce (Marguerite de Valois)  
    W. E. Lawrence (Henry of Navarre)  
    Joseph Henabery (Admiral Coligny)  
    Louis Romaine (Catholic Priest)  
    Morris Levy (Duc de Guise)  
    Howard Gaye (Cardinal Lorraine)  
    Raymond Wells (Counsellor of the King)  
    George James (Counsellor of the King)  
    Louis Ritz (Counsellor of the King)  
    John Bragdon (Counsellor of the King)  
  Babylonian story: Constance Talmadge (The Mountain Girl)  
    Elmer Clifton (The Rhapsode)  
    Alfred Paget (The Prince Belshazzar)  
    Seena Owen (The Princess Beloved, Attarea)  
    Loyola O'Connor (Attarea's Slave)  
    Carl Stockdale (The King Nabonidus)  
    Tully Marshall (The High Priest of Bel)  
    George Siegmann (Cyrus)  
    Elmo Lincoln (The Mighty Man of Valor)  
    Robert Lawler (Babylonian Judge)  
    Grace Wilson (First Dancer of Tammuz)  
    Lotta Clifton (Second Dancer of Tammuz)  
    George Beranger (Second Priest of Bel)  
    Ah Singh (First Priest of Nergel)  
    Ranji Singh (Second Priest of Nergel)  
    James Curley (Charioteer of Cyrus)  
    Ed Burns (Charioteer of the Priest of Bel)  
    James Burns (Charioteer of the Second Priest of Bel)  
    Kate Bruce (Babylonian Mother)  
    Pauline Stark (Favorite of the Harem)  
    Mildred Harris (Favorite of the Harem)  
    Winnifred Westover (Favorite of Egibi)  
    Martin Landry (Auctioneer)  
    Howard Scott (Babylonian Dandy)  
    Arthur Meyer (Brother of the Girl)  
    Alma Rubens (Girl of the Marriage Market)  
    Ruth Darling (Girl of the Marriage Market)  
    Margaret Mooney (Girl of the Marriage Market)  
    Charles Eagle Eye (Barbarian Chieftain)  
    William Dark Cloud (Ethiopian Chieftain)  
    Charles Van Cortland (Gobryas, Lieutenant of Cyrus)  
    Jack Cosgrove (Chief Eunuch)  
    Ethel Terry (Slave girl)  
  Modern story: Mae Marsh (The Dear One)  
    Fred Turner (Her Father)  
    Robert Harron (The boy)  
    Sam de Grasse (Jenkins)  
    Clyde Hopkins (His Secretary)  
    Vera Lewis (Mary T. Jenkins)  
    Mary Alden (Society Social Worker)  
    Luray Huntley (Self-styled Uplifter)  
    Lucille Brown (Self-styled Uplifter)  
    Eleanor Washington (Self-styled Uplifter)  
    Pearl Elmore (Self-styled Uplifter)  
    Mrs. Arthur Mackley (Self-styled Uplifter)  
    Miriam Cooper (A Friendless One)  
    Walter Long (The Musketeer of the Slums)  
    Tom Wilson (The Kindly Policeman)  
    Ralph Lewis (The governor)  
    A. W. McClure (Father Farley)  
    Edward Dillon (Chief detective)  
    Lloyd Ingraham (Judge of the court)  
    William Brown (Warden)  
    Max Davidson (Kindly Neighbor)  
    Alberta Lee (His wife)  
    Frank Brownlee (The Brother of the Girl)  
    Barney Bernard (Attorney for the Boy)  
    Marguerite Marsh (Guest at Ball)  
    Tod Browning (Owner of Racing Car)  
    Kate Bruce (The City Mother)  

Summary: When the Boy marries the Dear One, he decides to sever his relations with the underworld, which is led by the Musketeer of the Slums. Not willing to let the Boy go, however, the Musketeer has him arrested on a trumped up charge, after which the Dear One, declared an unfit mother by the Jenkins foundation, has her baby taken away by the authorities. The Boy is soon released, but when the Musketeer is murdered by the Friendless One, an ex-sweetheart, the Boy is charged with the crime. Finally, the Boy is saved from hanging when the Friendless One confesses. Three other intercut stories serve as counterparts to the modern drama. One story depicts the events that lead to Christ's crucifixion. In another, describing the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572, Catherine de Medici persuades her son, King Charles IX of France, to murder the Huguenots. Finally, in ancient Babylon, the High Priest of Bel schemes with Cyrus of Persia to take over the empire. The Mountain Girl, who loves Prince Belshazzar of Babylon, learns of the plot and tries to warn the prince, but she arrives too late. She dies during a battle with the invading forces, while the prince and his sweetheart Attarea commit suicide rather than submit to the tyranny of Cyrus and the high priest. 

Production Company: D. W. Griffith; Wark Producing Corp.  
Distribution Company: Wark Producing Corp.; Road Show  
Director: D. W. Griffith (Dir)
  George Siegmann (Asst dir)
  W. S. Van Dyke (Asst dir)
Producer: D. W. Griffith (Pres)
  D. W. Griffith (Prod)
Writer: D. W. Griffith (Scen)
  Anita Loos (Titles)
Photography: G. W. Bitzer (Cam)
  Karl Brown (2d cam)
Set Decoration: Frank "Huck" Wortman (Set builder)
Music: Joseph Carl Breil (Mus accompaniment arr)
Production Misc: R. E. Wales (Technologist)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
David Wark Griffith 24/6/1916 dd/mm/yyyy LU8570
David Wark Griffith 5/9/1916 dd/mm/yyyy LP9934

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Si:

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Historical
 
Subjects (Major): Babylon
  France--History--16th century
  Injustice
  Jesus Christ
  Religious persecution
  Despotism
 
Subjects (Minor): Biblical characters
  Catherine de MĂ©dicis, Queen, Consort of Henry II, 1519-1589
  Charles IX, King of France, 1550-1574
  Child custody
  Confession (Law)
  Conspiracy
  Criminals--Rehabilitation
  Crucifixion
  Cyrus, King of Persia, 550-529 B.C
  False arrests
  Frame-ups
  Huguenots
  Judea
  Marriage
  Military invasion
  Murder
  Priests
  Royalty
  St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, 1572
  Self-sacrifice
  Slums
  Usurpers

Note: This film was copyrighted under the complete titles Intolerance , Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages and Intolerance, a Sun-play of the Ages . The working title was The Mother and the Law . The Majestic Motion Picture Co. advanced money for the first production expenses. Before it was completed, D. W. Griffith and Harry E. Aitken, the owners of the film, agreed to incorporate a company, the Wark Producing Corp., to finish the film and exploit it. The film was made at the Fine Arts Studio in Hollywood. According to Var , the B'nai Brith prevailed upon Griffith to reshoot the crucifixion scene, which as it was originally shot, showed Jews crucifying Christ. The film had a trial showing in Riverside, CA on 5 Aug 1916, and opened in New York at the Liberty Theatre on 5 Sep 1916. The film was shown at large theaters in various cities with a prologue and two acts.
       Intolerance 's narrative contained four stories which were interwoven with each other to develop Griffith's theme in the same manner he used in earlier films of rhythmically intercutting developing scenes within one story with the device he called "the switchback." Although contemporary reviewers called Griffith's method of construction "revolutionary" and praised the film for this, the historical accuracy, and the spectacular sets and effects, the film, according to modern accounts, did not do well at the box office. In 1917, Griffith ordered that all discards from Intolerance be saved for possible use in releases of separate films from the separate stories. In 1919, two separate films were in fact released, The Mother and the Law and The Fall of Babylon ; because parts of the original negative of Intolerance were used in the new films, it became impossible to restore Intolerance to its original form.
       According to Photoplay , Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree and DeWolf Hopper were in the film as extras. Robert Anderson assisted Griffith in make-up and technical direction. R. Ellis Wales, the technologist, contributed to designing, costuming and historical authorization. J. A. Barry was an executive and producing assistant to Griffith. Both Robert Lawler and Lawrence Lawlor were listed in contemporary sources for the role of "Babylonian Judge" but for the release of The Fall of Babylon , George Fawcett was credited with that role. Ethel Terry, listed in the 1920 MPSD as playing an Egyptian slave girl, is probably the actress Ellen Terry (not to be confused with the British stage actress Ellen Terry). She is not the same as Ethel Grey Terry, whom modern sources state played one of the favorites of the harem. Hal Wilson, Francis McDonald, Clarence H. Geldert and Ernest Butterworth are listed as additional cast members in the MPSD . Wilbur Higby, an actor and director, worked on the film in some capacity, according to the MPSD .
       Modern sources list the following additional credits: Titles by D. W. Griffith, assisted by Anita Loos and Frank E. Woods; edited by Griffith, with James and Rose Smith; set design by Walter L. Hall and Frank Wortman; property master, Ralph DeLacy; assistant property and special effects man, Hal Sullivan; assistant carpenter, Jim Newman; carpenter, Shorty English; assistant directors, Erich von Stroheim, Edward Dillon, Tod Browning, Joseph Henabery, Allan Dwan, Monte Blue, Elmer Clifton, Mike Siebert, George Hill, Arthur Berthelon, W. Christy Cabanne, Jack Conway, George Nichols and Victor Fleming; research assistants, Joseph Henabery and Lillian Gish; religious advisors, Rabbi Myers and Father Dodd; dances staged by Ruth St. Denis; costumes by Western Costume Co.; score arranged by D. W. Griffith and Joseph Carl Breil; stills by James G. Woodbury.
       According to modern sources, the following additional cast members were in the film: in the modern story, J. P. McCarthy (prison guard), Monte Blue (strike leader), Billy Quirk (bartender), Tully Marshall (a friend of the Musketeer); in the Judean story, W. S. Van Dyke (a wedding guest); in the French story, Chandler House (a page); in the Babylonian story, Gino Corrado (the runner), Wallace Reid (a boy killed in the fighting), Ted Duncan (captain of the gate), Felix Modjeska (bodyguard to the princess), Mme. Sul-te-Wan (girl of the marriage market), Carmel Myers, Jewel Carmen, Eve Southern, Natalie Talmadge, Carol Dempster, Daisy Robinson (who is listed as appearing in the film in MPSD ), and Anna Mae Walthall (favorites of the harem), Owen Moore, Wilfred Lucas, Douglas Fairbanks, Frank Campeau, Nigel de Brulier, Donald Crisp and Tammany Young (extras), and the Denishawn Dancers, of whom Carol Dempster was a member. Although some modern sources credit Ruth St. Dennis as the solo dancer, she denied this in an interview.
       Modern sources state that Constance Talmadge used the name of Georgia Pearce for her role in the French story. Lines used in the scenes of Lillian Gish rocking the cradle, which link the four stories, are taken from the poem "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" by Walt Whitman in the third edition of Leaves of Grass (New York, 1860). Intolerance was ranked 49th on AFI's 2007 100 Years…100 Movies--10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
ETR   19 Jan 18   p. 619.
Motog   23 Sep 16   pp. 733-34.
MPN   1 Apr 16   p. 1892.
MPN   24 Aug 1919.   
MPN   11 Nov 16   p. 2967.
MPN   21 Feb 20   p. 1910.
MPN   4 Dec 20   p. 4278.
MPW   23 Sep 16   pp. 1950-51.
MPW   30 Sep 16   p. 2084.
MPW   13 Jul 18   p. 232.
NYDM   16 Sep 16   p. 22.
New York Times   6 Sep 16   p. 7.
Photoplay   Nov 16   pp. 27-40.
Photoplay   Dec 16   pp. 77-81.
Photoplay   Feb 17   p. 83.
Variety   7 Apr 16   p. 3.
Variety   8 Sep 16   p. 20.
Wid's   7 Sep 16   pp. 835-37.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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