BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) BFI Restoration Bluray
BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) BFI Restoration Bluray
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Price: $34.95

Two brothers, Phil and Ted Stoneman, visit their friends in Piedmont, South Carolina: the family Cameron. This friendship is affected by the Civil War, as the Stonemans and the Camerons must join up opposite armies. The consequences of the War in their lives are shown in connection to major historical events, like the development of the Civil War itself, Lincoln's assassination, and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Historically, this is a masterpiece of American cinema. Among the many film techniques that this movie pioneered were panoramic long shots, iris effects, still shots, night photography, panning shots and the careful staging of battle scenes where hundreds of extras were made to look like thousands. It also employed color tinting for dramatic purposes and creating drama through its own musical score.

2015 marks the centenary of D W Griffith's masterful silent epic, The Birth of a Nation, presented here in a stunning new restoration. A cinematic milestone tells of two families during and after the American Civil War, recalling an era of divided loyalties and struggle for control over the Southern states. Condemned for its stereotyping of African Americans and its portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan as heroes, Griffith's film is also revered for its grand scale and revolutionary use of film technique. The original 1915 score was adapted and conducted by John Lanchbery.

Special Features

USA | 1915 | silent, with music and English intertitles | 191 minutes | BD50 x 2 | 1080p | 24fps | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1 | LPCM 2.0 stereo audio (48k/24-bit), 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48k) | Cert 15 (contains racist theme and language | Region B Blu-ray

  • 1930 sound reissue prologue (1930, 6 mins), 1930 sound reissue intermission and introduction to Act 2 (1930, 2 mins): D W Griffith in conversation Walter Huston
  • Out-takes and original camera tests
  • Melvyn Stokes on The Clansman, D W Griffith and The Birth of a Nation (2015, 20 mins): newly filmed interview
  • The Greatest Mother of Them All: Kate Bruce (1920, 1 min): short newsreel on the Griffith actress
  • The Coward (Reginald Barker, Thomas H Ince, 1911, 69 mins): a faint-hearted soldier in the American Civil War regains his courage
  • The Rose of Kentucky ( D W Griffith, 1911, 17 mins): rural romance set in Griffith's home state
  • Stolen Glory (Mack Sennett, 1912, 14 mins): comedy set during a parade of Union Civil War veterans
  • The Drummer of the 8th (Thomas H Ince, 1913, 29 mins): poignant Civil War drama presented in two cuts 
  • The Rebel Yell (1932, 9 mins) archival film in which reunited Confederate veterans recite the famous battle cry of the South
  • Stills and Collections Gallery (2015, 13 mins)
  • Birth of a Nation at 100 (2015, 32 mins): roundtable discussion filmed at the BFI Southbank
  • Birth of a Nation orchestral score recording sessions
  • D W Griffith on Lux Radio Theatre with Cecil B Demille (1936, 6 mins): interview in which the two legends reminisce
  • Illustrated booklet with essays by Ashley Clark and Kevin Brownlow and Patrick Stanbury, and full film credits
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