Let the Movies Begin Series with D W Griffith
Digital restoration of a classic film with live music.
The Mothering Heart (1913)
From the start, critics recognized The Mothering Heart as a major tour de force. In interviews, Griffith himself generally called it one of his two best Biographs. It boasted the most expensive scenes Griffith had directed up to that time. But, of course, what everyone remembered was Lillian Gish’s performance. A year earlier, Griffith had begun experimenting with his best actresses — Blanche Sweet, Mary Pickford, and Mae Marsh — in an effort to protract a character’s emotional response when confronted with a traumatic event. Lillian Gish’s climactic scenes in her mother’s house are one result: a brilliantly concentrated portrait of a young mother shattered by the loss of her baby.
The Battle of Elderbush Gulch (1914)
Griffith took more time and care in completing his late Biographs as he became interested in moving into features and took increasingly longer screen time to develop mood and character. Shot in California’s San Fernando Valley, it was unmistakably his most spectacular Biograph Western. He built an entire Western town for a backdrop and recruited an unprecedented number of extras for his cavalry and Indian scenes. Griffith was working entirely within the mythic formulas of the genre: the gradually escalating dispute between the Indians and the whites, the settlers under attack from the warring tribe, the last bullet saved to spare the heroine from assault, and the timely arrival of cavalry troops, this time led by Henry Walthall looking taller than ever.
The Golden pass ticket includes entry to the following ‘Let the Movies Begin’ sessions:
1. Georges Méliès – Saturday Jan 13th, 10:30am
2. Alice Guy Blaché, D W Griffith and The Keystone Cops – Saturday Jan 13th, 12pm
3. D W Griffith – Saturday Jan 13th, 2pm