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The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation

Henry B. Walthall
Director: D.W. Griffith Cast: Henry B. Walthall
Henry B. Walthall
, Miriam Cooper
Miriam Cooper
, Mae Marsh
Mae Marsh
D.W. Griffith


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The most successful and artistically advanced film of its time, The Birth of a Nation has also sparked protests, riots, and divisiveness since its first release. The film tells the story of the Civil War and its aftermath, as seen through the eyes of two families. The Stonemans hail from the North, the Camerons from the South. When war breaks out, the Stonemans cast their lot with the Union, while the Camerons are loyal to Dixie. After the war, Ben Cameron (Henry B. Walthall), distressed that his beloved south is now under the rule of blacks and carpetbaggers, organizes several like-minded Southerners into a secret vigilante group called the Ku Klux Klan. When Cameron's beloved younger sister Flora (Mae Marsh) leaps to her death rather than surrender to the lustful advances of renegade slave Gus (Walter Long), the Klan wages war on the new Northern-inspired government and ultimately restores "order" to the South. In the original prints, Griffith suggested that the black population be shipped to Liberia, citing Abraham Lincoln as the inspiration for this ethnic cleansing. Showings of Birth of a Nation were picketed and boycotted from the start, and as recently as 1995, Turner Classic Movies cancelled a showing of a restored print in the wake of the racial tensions around the O.J. Simpson trial verdict.

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Product Details

Release Date: 07/09/2015
UPC: 0644827181322
Original Release: 1915
Source: Reel Vault
Sales rank: 27,043

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Henry B. Walthall Ben Cameron, the Little Colonel
Miriam Cooper Margaret Cameron
Mae Marsh Flora Cameron, the Little Sister
Lillian Gish Elsie Stoneman
Robert Harron Ted Stoneman
Ralph Lewis The Honorable Austin Stoneman, Leader of the House
Wallace Reid Jeff, the blacksmith
George Siegmann Silas Lynch
George Andre Beranger Wade Cameron
Monte Blue Actor
William de Vaull Jake
Joseph Henaberry Abraham Lincoln
Jennifer Lee Cindy, The Faithful Mummy
Eugene Pallette Wounded Enemy to Whom Ben Gives Succor
Sul Te Wan Actor
Alberta Lee Mrs. Lincoln
Elmo Lincoln White Arm Joe
Walter Long Gus, a Renegade Negro
Bessie Love Piedmont girl
Maxfield Stanley Duke Cameron
Charles Stevens Volunteer
Erich Von Stroheim Man who falls from Roof
Raoul Walsh John Wilkes Booth
Violet Wilkey Flora as a child
Tom Wilson Stoneman's Negro Servant
Gibson Gowland Actor
Spottiswood Aitken Dr. Cameron
Mary Alden Lydia Brown, Stoneman's Mulatto Housekeeper
Donald Crisp Gen. Ulysses S. Grant
Josephine Crowell Mrs. Cameron
Sam de Grasse Sen. Charles Sumner
William Freeman Sentry
Howard Gaye Gen. Robert E. Lee
Olga Grey Laura Keene
Elmer Clifton Phil Stoneman
John Ford Klansman

Technical Credits
D.W. Griffith Director,Score Composer,Producer,Screenwriter
Billy Bitzer Cinematographer
Thomas F. Dixen Screenwriter
Robert Goldstein Costumes/Costume Designer
Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra Score Composer
James Smith Editor
Frank E. Woods Screenwriter

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