To mark the 67th birthday of the silent film director D.W. Griffith, the editors of a once illustrious Hollywood literary magazine pasted his famous profile on their magazine cover and devoted four columns to his achievements.
This 1940s Hollywood journalist refrained from using the pejorative "white cracker" while condemning silent film director D.W. Griffith for his racial views -and yet at the same time did something rather bold in that he put in print his views that the man has been erroneously credited as the creator of various assorted film innovations that were pioneered by other filmmakers.
Twenty-two years after wrap was called on the set of The Birth of a Nation, leading lady Lillian Gish (1893 - 1993), put pen to paper and wrote this reminiscence about her days on the set with D.W. Griffith.
One of Conde Nast's most popular magazines reviewed D.W. Griffith's film, The Birth of a Nation and gave a somewhat balanced account of the production. The journalist clearly recognized that the movie was "unfair to the Negro" yet "remarkable for it's photography".
In 1946 the Museum of Modern Art Film Department decided to exhibit only the most famous films of D.W. Griffith for the retrospective that was being launched to celebrate the famed director. This enormous omission inspired film critic Herb Sterne (1906 - 1995) to think again about the large body of work that the director created and, putting pen to paper, he wrote:
"Because of the museum's lack of judgment, the Griffith collection it has chosen to circulate is woefully incomplete, thereby giving contemporary students of the motion picture a distorted and erroneous impression of the scope of the man's achievements."
To read a 1924 article regarding Hollywood film executive Irving Thalberg, click here.
An appreciation of Birth of a Nation written 20 years after its opening.