Short Films Of D.W. Griffith Volume I, The

779. THE SHORT FILMS Of D.W. GRIFFITH. Vol. I (1911, 1912-USA). One reel films shot at the Biograph Studios by BILLY BITZER, directed by D.W. GRIFFITH. Even before achieving fame with “The Birth Of a Nation”. Griffith had a reputation for being creative, imaginative and stubÂborn. Conflicts with Biograph management were eventual, but in these early years, the “shorts” GrifÂfith directed and produced as production chief totaled over 450!
1. THE BATTLE (November 11, 1911). With CHARLES WEST, BLANCHE SWEET. Similar to, and perhaps part Of the inspiration for, “The Birth Of a Nation” made 4 years later (see cat. #7). “The Battle” featured a large cast, elaborate costumes, and expensive production elements unusual for the time. A civil war battle is seen raging. “The Boy” is stricken by cowardice and seeks concealÂment from “The Girl”. She appears unconcerned that her house is in the midst Of a raging gunfight and throws him out! Circumstance and the long arm Of coincidence help turn “The Boy” into the hero Of the day when he helps an ammunition wagon get through the Southern lines.
2. THE FEMALE Of THE SPECIES (A PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAGEDY) (April is, 1912). With MARY PICKFORD, CLAIRE McDOWELL, DOROTHY BERNARD, CHARLES WEST. Four “survivors Of a mining camp”, a woman, her husband and sister, and another woman, suffering from thirst and heat, set Off across the desert alone. The man’s “dominant vagary” (as Griffith puts it) rises above his thirst and he appears to lust after the third woman. The man dies soon after and the three women press onward, only to come upon an Indian baby near his dead parents. Adopting the child on the spot, the women unite in friendship under what Griffith sees as their common womanÂly heritage.
3. THE NEW YORK HAT (December, 1912). With MARY PICKFORD, ROBERT HARRON. GrifÂfith’s personal attack on small town morals and hypocrites in general. A woman leaves a note to a minister on her deathbed Ñ “My husband worked me to death, but I have managed to save a little sum. Take it and from time to time, buy my daughter the bits Of finery she has always been denied.” When the minister buys her an elaborate chapeau “from New York” for $10 (an outrageous sum for 1912) the town gossip links the two romantically. Confronted by the angry townspeople, the minister has no choice but to reveal the letter, shaming the old curmudgeon, but reconciling father and daughter. Silent films with music score, correct projection speed. 59 minutes total. D.W. Griffith