Intolerance (1916) Cohen Film Collection
After the incredibly successful, bitterly controversial Birth of a Nation, Griffith seized the opportunity to create an even more extravagant epic. He finished Mother and the Law, an impressive story of crime and injustice in the slums, but decided to use is as just one part of a multi-story super-epic, whose overarching theme would be the tragedy of intolerance throughout the ages. After the debacle over the Birth of a Nation's celebration of the Ku Klux Klan -- the film helped launch a revival of that vile organization -- Griffith played everything safe. Well, not quite safe: Intolerance's four separate narratives are not told consecutively in omnibus fashion, but are instead interwoven with each other. The action frequently jumps between stories, bridging centuries in a single cut.

Griffith’s film portrays, quite graphically, the consequences of intolerance. The film’s horrific and destructive showpieces include the fall of Babylon, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and the massacre of hundreds of Huguenots in St. Bartholomew.

Spanning over 2,500 years, Intolerance tells four stories of love struggling through intolerance of various forms in different eras and locations. The earliest is set in ancient Babylon, where a free-spirited mountain girl fights for her prince amongst a time of religious rivalry. The next shows a few scenes from the later life of Jesus Christ when the Pharisees condemned him. Another shorter section is set in 1572, following a doomed relationship during the build up to St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in Paris. The final and most extensive section (alongside the one in Babylon) is set in the present day (1916), where social reformers make the lives of a young couple increasingly more difficult.

This is an astonishing piece of filmmaking, presented here in a gorgeous transfer, that makes it a must-have for film lovers.

2 x BD50 | 1080p AVC | 02:47:32 | 45 Gb + 43 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English Intertitles
Subtitles: none


The Mother and the Law (1080p; 1:39:32) is the 1919 re-edit of the "modern" story from Intolerance, "with changes and additions" according to the first intertitle. The score is by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

The Fall of Babylon (1080p; 1:02:34) does much the same thing for the Babylonian sequences from Intolerance, and again includes a score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

2013 Restoration Trailer (1080p; 2:08)

Three Hours That Shook the World: Observations on Intolerance (1080p; 19:02) is an interview with Kevin Brownlow which includes occasional clips and stills from the film. He has a ton of fascinating anecdotes about the film and its participants, including a really funny story involving David Shepard, another vaunted name in silent film, and Intolerance's editor, James Smith.

Related posts:

  1. Good Morning, Babylon (1987) DVD9
  2. Joan the Woman (1916) DVD9
  3. Daughters of the Dust (1991) DVD9 Kino Lorber, 2 x Blu-Ray Cohen Media Group
  4. Behind the Door (1919) DVD9 and Blu-Ray Flicker Alley
  5. Madame DuBarry / Passion (1919) DVD9, Blu-Ray