Judith Of Bethulia

1682.JUDITH OF BETHULIA (1914-usa). WITH blanche sweet, henry b. walthall, mae MARSH, ROBERT HARRON, LILLIAN GISH, DOROTHY GISH, KATE BRUCE, ELMO LINCOLN. Directed by d.w. griffith. A dramatization of the narrative in the Apocrypha and the poetic tragedy “Judith of Bethulia” by Thomas Bailey Aldrich. D.W. Griffith is by far the single most influential figure in the development of the American cinema. Between 190B and 1913, he directed approximately 450 separate films for the legendary Biograph film studio. This lavish biblical epic/romance is not only Griffith’s final Biograph project, but has the reputation of being the American cinema’s initial four-reel film. The setting is in and around the Judean fortress of Bethulia, a walled city which guarded the passages of Jerusalem. The story details the lives and times of its inhabitants, and the resulting drama after it is attacked by the all-powerful military forces of the Assyrian King Nebuchodonosor, commanded by Prince Holofernes. Judith, a beautiful young woman who is the widow of Manasses, is held in the highest regard by her fellow Bethulians. She becomes convinced that, in order to save her city, she must offer herself as a sacrifice to Holofernes. The film, which features a glittering cast of Griffith’s regular actors of the period, remains one of the seminal works in the master’s artistic development. Wrote the noted film historian Lewis Jacobs, √íThe unusual form (of the film) presaged the form of Griffith’s future masterpiece, ‘Intolerance.’ The four movements were in counterpoint not unlike a musical composition; they reacted to each other simultaneously, and the combination produced a cumulative, powerful effect. The individual episodes had a tight internal structure. The imagery was not only lavish in detail but fresh in camera treatment and enhanced by expert cutting.” Upon its release to many decades ago, the film was considered a miraculous achievement – and it most certainly remains so today. “Silent” film with original Judith Of Bethulia organ score, correct projection speed. 65 minutes. D.W. Griffith