Movie Title: Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 2 hr. 47 min.
Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo
Where did I watch it?: Home
Intolerance is the story of love’s conflict with hate across the span of human civilizations. It follows several different story lines including a story from ancient Babylon, the story of Christ, the story of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572, and a contemporary story from the early 20th century about the oppression of the temperance movement. These stories are cut up with repeated cuts of Eternal Motherhood and the stories are not told in sequence. The stories show that hate across time has led to the downfall of individuals and civilizations.
The Babylonian and contemporary stories stand out as the most remarkable. The Babylonian story features amazing costuming and set pieces. It also has incredible special effects for 1916 and a few brutal scenes of violence. The sheer scale of the battle sequences are amazing and feature hundreds of extras in individual scenes. It tells the stories of two high priests that worship different gods. One wishes to see Ishtar proclaimed Babylon’s chief god while the other believes it should be Bel. The losing priest decides to betray the city to Cyrus so that he may proclaim Bel the chief god of the city. At the same time, a boy named the Rhapsode and a young maiden pursue and repel each other. It is a great story.
The contemporary segment of the temperance movement is depressing and also serves as a reminder that their are many people that believe in the same rigidity of one hundred years ago today. A girl called The Dear One and her husband named The Boy suffer cruelly. A spinster harasses her brother for money. She wants to use this money to uplift the poor. The brother cuts worker’s wages by 10% in order to fund his sister’s projects. This initiates their trouble after the workers strike and are fired upon by soldiers. The Boy resorts to crime, but tries to give it up for The Dear One only to be framed. He is sent to prison and The Dear One is left alone with a new baby. The baby is then taken away by the temperance workers because she is an “unfit” mother. This leads to a worsening spiral of lust and crime that results in death.
It takes a little time to get used to the flow of the movie, but once you pick up the narrative it is easy to follow. It is a visually rich movie with some pieces being more interesting than others. It is a classic movie from the age of silent films and should be seen. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: Singin’ in the Rain (1952)