Griffith 1911/12

The Painted Lady
R: D.W. Griffith. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Blanche Sweet, Madge Kirby, Charles Hill Mailes, Kate Bruce. P: Biograph. USA 1912

“Griffith started his directing career in 1908, and in the following five years made some 485 films, almost all of which have been preserved. These films, one or two reels in length, have customarily been regarded as apprentice works, films in which, to quote Stephen Zito, ‘Griffith borrowed, invented, and perfected the forms and techniques that he later used to such memorable effect in The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, Broken Blossoms, and Way Down East.’ These early ‘Biographs’ (named after the studio at which Griffith worked) have usually been studied for their stylistic features, notably parallel editing, camera placement, and treatment of light and shadow. Their most famous structuring devices are the last-minute rescue and the cross-cut.
In recent years, however, the Biographs have assumed higher status in film history. Many historians and critics rank them with the most accomplished work in Griffith’s career. Viada Petric, for instance, calls them ‘masterpieces of early cinema, fascinating lyrical films which can still affect audiences today, conveying the content in a cinematic manner often more powerful than that of Griffith’s later feature films.’ Scholars have begun studying them for their characters, images, narrative patterns, themes, and ideological values, finding in them a distinctive signature based on Griffith’s deep-seated faith in the values of the woman-centered home. Certain notable Biographs, The Musketeers of Pig Alley, The Painted Lady, A Corner in Wheat, The Girl and Her Trust, The Battle of Elderbush Gulch, The Unseen Enemy, and A Feud in the Kentucky Hills have been singled out for individual study.”
Russell Merritt
Filmdirectors Site

Swords and Hearts
R: D.W. Griffith. B: Emmett C. Hall. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Wilfred Lucas, Claire McDowell, Dorothy West. P: Biograph. USA 1911

“In the years before D. W. Griffith made The Birth of a Nation (1915), the epic film that debuted on the 50th anniversary of the Civil War, he produced 11 Civil War films in which he mastered the art of filmmaking and storytelling. These have surprising relevance to the history of girls. A comparison of Griffith’s portrayal of heroic girls in Swords and Hearts (1911) and The House with Closed Shutters (1910) with the depiction of traditional Victorian girlhood in The Birth of a Nation, sheds light on the role that changing ideals about girlhood played in Griffith’s historic film. Griffith replaced the agency of the girls who donned soldiers’ uniforms in both Swords and Hearts and The House with Closed Shutters with portrayals of girlish helplessness in The Birth of a Nation. By representing the catastrophic threat that free black men with equal rights posed to the virtue of girls like Little Sister in The Birth of a Nation, Griffith was able to rationalize white supremacy and patriarchal rule.”
Children & Youth in History

The Adventures of Billy
R: D.W. Griffith. B: James Carroll. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Edna Foster, Donald Crisp, Joseph Graybill. P: Biograph. USA 1911