Movie Review: 1916 – Intolerance

Article Outline:

Classic movie reviews for today – my daughter and I, during all this home time, have started watching movies from the 1910s forward:

1916 – Intolerance: This movie is a reaction to Griffith’s 1915 movie which was said to show black people very badly (presumably white actors in black face). The irony is that this movie overly anti-semetic. The movie is much more sophisticated than I would have thought, alternating between four stories which have overlapping plots about “intolerance” resembling one of Quentin Tarantino’s early movies, “Four Rooms” (which was precursor to his more sophisticated and genius “Pulp Fiction” – I wouldn’t doubt if Tarantino, an old movie buff, has seen this movie).

The ‘evil pharassee’ – his tefillin is on wrong. In a later scene, they used an elongated rectangular box.

The problem is that this movie is … really intolerant. I can’t say I watched that much of this movie – it’s very hard to sit through what’s survived in poor quality, very slow scenes, and cut cards … I focused on the story about the evil “Pharisees” which oppressed people by … asking for quiet while praying (uhhh….). The actor is clearly meant to be a religious Jew complete with beard, tallis, and tefillin (though his tefillin is too far forward on his forehead to being carrying out the mitzvah). The text in the cut cards is overlaid over the ten commandments in Hebrew on stone tablets. The scenes, however, are about how Jews oppressed the guy who, according to the cards between scenes, came to allow all men to do as they please rather than the Jew who, and it actually says this, prays to G_d with text that says he’s better than all other people.

The cut scenes interesting have the 10 commandments in Hebrew behind them.

The irony of this movie shouldn’t be lost on anyone – the movie is about those who are “intolerant” while being filled with overt anti-semitism an mischaracterizing of Jews in what appears to be politically acceptable speech in 1916. It seems it’s not a recent invention to say you accept others … as long as they agree with your views.


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