Orphans of the Storm – DW Griffith (1921)

There’s a tornado of misinformation twirling within America, but that’s okay because America’s twirling towards freedom.

Kang

Here are some self-claimed facts by director DW Griffith –

  • the discoverer of narrative film.
  • an introducer of the feature.
  • and inventorer of close-ups and other film techniques.

starwalk

Intrigued, I decided to brush up on Griffiths most notable and influential films and found his reputation is in fact legendary*

lochness

legendary* should be read as myth.

The Birth of a Nation (1915) was inventive, daring and very uncomfortable.

birth_of_nation

Mostly because I was removed from a screening by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People while dressed as a clansman.

NAACP don’t do Cosplay.

Intolerance (1916) was ambitious but mostly intimidating.

“Bow before me you shits!”  - Griffith on Hollywood.

“Bow before me you shits!”
– Griffith on Hollywood.

Broken Blossoms (1919) promised to be fun for everyone*

everyone* should be read as white people.

My roommate Cheng, who I made up for this article, heard the story centered on his Buddhist traditions decided to join me in setting up the projector. We made a pot of green tea and let the opening credits roll …

“Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl.”

I guess the original title, “The Chink and the Child” would have been in bad taste.

Cheng walked out “0” minutes into the 90 minute feature. Not because he was Chinese and very offended, but because he was Chinese and had a lot of opium to smoke that night in his den.

Destructive stereotypes shouldn’t be a directors style.

Destructive stereotypes shouldn’t be a directors style.

Mr. Griffith had his problems which makes it easy to throw stones.

Also, focusing on the shortcomings of those who achieve great things has always been a cultural phenomenon.

Some don’t agree with Tom Cruise’s personal beliefs so avoid his movies.

That’s not cool because his a badass actor.

That’s not cool because his a brilliant actor.

Mel Gibson is fucking insane.

He also tells the heck out a story.

He’s also an amazing storyteller.

My point is, you don’t have to agree with someone’s personal views to recognize their contribution to the game.

The marathon ended with Orphans of the Storm (1921) and like his other work clearly showed DW’s fluency in a cinematic language he helped develop.

Long time collaborator Lilian Gish.

Long time collaborator Lillian Gish.

Griffith might not have invented the things he claimed, but his contribution to the medium can never be denied.

His films should be watched and studied by today’s filmmakers in their duty of creating more expressive and challenging cinema.

DW and gang

Griffith fiercely believed in the friends he worked with and his genius was described as an ability to recognize the potential in others. His long time cameraman Billy Bitzer, said that whenever he judged a particular shot impossible, Griffith who stood by his side would say, “That’s why you have to do it man.”

That’s badass.

DW Griffith (1875 – 1948) - Motivator, Collaborator and Filmmaker

DW Griffith (1875 – 1948) – Motivator, Collaborator and Filmmaker

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One thought on “Orphans of the Storm – DW Griffith (1921)

  1. Pingback: Orphans of the Storm (1921) | timneath

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