D.W. Griffith's the Birth of a Nation: A History of the Most Controversial Motion Picture of All Time / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$19.32
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $17.57
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 34%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (4) from $17.57   
  • New (1) from $26.11   
  • Used (3) from $17.57   

Overview


In this deeply researched and vividly written volume, Melvyn Stokes illuminates the origins, production, reception and continuing history of this ground-breaking, aesthetically brilliant, and yet highly controversial movie.
By going back to the original archives, particularly the NAACP and D. W. Griffith Papers, Stokes explodes many of the myths surrounding The Birth of a Nation (1915). Yet the story that remains is fascinating: the longest American film of its time, Griffith's film incorporated many new features, including the first full musical score compiled for an American film. It was distributed and advertised by pioneering methods that would quickly become standard. Through the high prices charged for admission and the fact that it was shown, at first, only in "live" theaters with orchestral accompaniment, Birth played a major role in reconfiguring the American movie audience by attracting more middle-class patrons. But if the film was a milestone in the history of cinema, it was also undeniably racist. Stokes shows that the darker side of this classic movie has its origins in the racist ideas of Thomas Dixon, Jr. and Griffith's own Kentuckian background and earlier film career. The book reveals how, as the years went by, the campaign against the film became increasingly successful. In the 1920s, for example, the NAACP exploited the fact that the new Ku Klux Klan, which used Griffith's film as a recruiting and retention tool, was not just anti-black, but also anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish, as a way to mobilize new allies in opposition to the film.
This crisply written book sheds light on both the film's racism and the aesthetic brilliance of Griffith's filmmaking. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the cinema.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Written with precision, Stokes illuminates both the film's racism and the aesthetic brilliance of Griffith's filmmaking. By placing the film into an historic, political, and cultural framework, this tome shoud attarct film scholars, historians, and cinema enthusiasts."--The Courier

"Stokes succeeds wonderfully in providing readers with an engaging, insightful and comprehensive account of how D.W. Griffith created his epic film, which astonished and outraged moviegoers in 1915 and has done so ever since. While Stokes examines the film closely, the breadth of his account extends to the social and cultural currents that Griffith rode in making it, and analysis of how the film's meanings have changed over time. This is the go-to volume on a film whose cinematic and ideological legacy informs and haunts American film to this day."--Matthew Bernstein, Emory University

"The Birth of a Nation is well noted for its contribution to the early aesthetics and narrative form of U.S. commercial cinema. Simultaneously, however, the film is considerably more notorious for its iconic and vile racism, and the many conflicts it stirred. Now, in a clearly argued, thoroughly researched book, Melvyn Stokes has managed to capture the people, politics and controversies surrounding the film's production and exhibition. Stokes portrays the film's writer, director and stars, as well as its eminent critics and protestors, with engaging biographic detail. And more, the author deftly inscribes Birth's twisted path through public discourse. Finally, we have a first rate book that places "the most controversial motion picture ever made" in an in-depth, historic, political and cultural context, to be enjoyed by film scholar, historian and cinema aficionado alike."--Ed Guerrero, New York University

"Stokes succeeds wonderfully in providing readers with an engaging, insightful and comprehensive account of how D.W. Griffith created his epic film, which astonished and outraged moviegoers in 1915 and has done so ever since. While Stokes examines the film closely, the breadth of his account extends to the social and cultural currents that Griffith rode in making it, and analysis of how the film's meanings have changed over time. This is the go-to volume on a film whose cinematic and ideological legacy informs and haunts American film to this day."--Matthew Bernstein, Emory University

"The Birth of a Nation is well noted for its contribution to the early aesthetics and narrative form of U.S. commercial cinema. Simultaneously, however, the film is considerably more notorious for its iconic and vile racism, and the many conflicts it stirred. Now, in a clearly argued, thoroughly researched book, Melvyn Stokes has managed to capture the people, politics and controversies surrounding the film's production and exhibition. Stokes portrays the film's writer, director and stars, as well as its eminent critics and protestors, with engaging biographic detail. And more, the author deftly inscribes Birth's twisted path through public discourse. Finally, we have a first rate book that places "the most controversial motion picture ever made" in an in-depth, historic, political and cultural context, to be enjoyed by film scholar, historian and cinema aficionado alike."--Ed Guerrero, New York University

"Melvyn Stokes's book, coming on the eve of the film's centennial, is likely to be its definitive chronicle in the twenty-first century....no one volume brings together the variety and depth of research he does here. This is a valuable book for those who want a highly readable, up-to-date account covering the dismal as well as the encouraging aspects of the American social and cultural experience in World War II." -- American Historical Review

"Stokes offers scholars a valuable survey of the diverse body of literature on The Birth of a Nation even as his own analysis inspires new directions for inquiry." -- Journal of Southern History

"Melvyn Stokes excellent new study of D.W. Griffith's abidingly controversial 1915 film Birth of a Nation situates insightful readings of the film in a brilliantly conceived and densely researched historical context."--The Southern Quarterly

"The depth and reach of Stokes's research reveals some true historical gems, disturbing and clear windows onto the history of racism, representation, popular culture, and social change in the twentieth-century United States." --Journal of Social History

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195336795
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 977,041
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Melvyn Stokes teaches American history and American film history at University College London. He has also been a visiting fellow at Princeton, a visiting Fulbright Professor at Mount Holyoke College and a visiting professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris. He has edited or co-edited nine books, including four for the British Film Institute.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Premiere in Los Angeles
2. Thomas Dixon, Jr.
3. David Wark Griffith
4. Making The Birth of a Nation
5. Transforming the American Movie Audience
6. Fighting a Vicious Film
7. Griffith's View of History
8. After Birth
9. Conclusion
Bibliography

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2014

    Rose

    She fiddled with the key at her neck and stepped out of the TARDIS.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    Rose

    Is there a rose yet?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    The 11th Doctor

    *The Tardis starts shacking. Puts on his key.* you know... I was going to die once. *rumble* but I- *rumble* Didnt wanna die. I still w- *rumbl* anted to do so many th- *rumble* ings like h-*rumble* elp you with your hom- *rumble* ework. But I didfnt die. *tardis stops* Stay near me. I dont wanna lose you like I did with Amy. Oh, there also are robots that try to touch you. Dont let its hand touch you. Thats wat thease are for. They make us invidibul to them. Lets go. ((Res 5))

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)