Griffith, perfectly improvising

A Feud in the Kentucky Hills
R: David W. Griffith. B: David W. Griffith. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Mary Pickford, Charles Hill Mailes, Kate Bruce, Walter Miller, Henry B. Walthall, Robert Harron. P: Biograph Company. USA 1912

“In an almost off-handed sequence of shots, Griffith bridges the two halves of the film and sets in motion the series of events that precipitate the outbreak of the feud. The film’s rhythm shifts quickly and noticeably to a heightened level, reflecting the movements and emotions of the combatants, and Griffith’s deft combination of long, medium and close shots keeps the audience perfectly situated throughout the battle. This entire sequence, while it must have been carefully considered in advance of filming, was almost certainly improvised on site, the better to take advantage of the distinctive landscape near the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania. In such a situation, reliance on a detailed shooting script would have been more of a hindrance than a help to Griffith, lending support to the notion that A Feud in the Kentucky Hills was not ‘written’ in any usual sense.”
Steven Higgins: A Feud in the Kentucky Hills. In: Paolo Cherchi Usai (ed.): The Griffith Project. Volume 6: Films Produced in 1912. Bloomsbury Publishing 2019, p. 143

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