Griffith: The Golden Supper

The Golden Supper
R: David W. Griffith. B: Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem), Dorothy West. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Dorothy West, Edwin August, Charles West, Claire McDowell, Grace Henderson. P: Biograph Company. USA 1910
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“The theme of this story is well known to all readers as it is told by Bocaccio and as it appears in the sequel to Tennyson’s ‘The Lovers’ Tale.’ It is a love story, made remarkable by the fact that the woman’s former lover restores her to consciousness and returns her to her husband. While all this may be understood by the person who has read Bocaccio, it is quite probable that a good many in every audience will not know what it means. The sub-titles help, but it must be admitted that unless one is familiar with the origin of the story it is more or less obscure. A golden supper may be quite the proper place in dreamland to return what one most desires, but in motion picture land it requires something more than the scenes and the sub-titles to make it intelligible.”
The Moving Picture World, December 24, 1910

The Golden Supper (1910) is a film more or less devoid of any striking thematic interest, but it contains fascinating indications that Griffith was beginning to manage the flow of activity through images that vary, medium shot to long shot, from cut to cut. In the sequence from shot 8 to shot 19, the relationship of the rejected suitor to a wedding procession is presented by referring his rather intimate and solitary mid-shot to the longer and wider shots of the procession of newlyweds and wedding guests who sweep through the frame toward and past the camera (shot 10), then ascend a dramatig flight of steps (shot 13). (…) In other words, Griffith gives the suitor a spatially probable and graphically “weighty” screen position in respect to the festive group and then, by intercutting, suggests that the audience knows what the poor fellow is feeling.”
Joyce E. Jesionowski: Thinking in Pictures: Dramatic Structure in D. W. Griffith’s Biograph Films. University of California Press 1989, p. 36

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