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The Birth of a Nation (Blu-ray) BFI


D W Griffith’s controversial silent epic, The Birth of a Nation is presented here in a stunning new restoration. A cinematic milestone, Griffith’s film tells of two families during and after the American Civil War, recalling an era of divided loyalties, friendship and struggle for control of the Southern states.

Birth of a Nation is unapologetically racist, and is condemned for its stereotyping of African Americans and its portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan as heroes, while also revered for its grand scale and revolutionary film technique.

This 2-disc restoration features a host of extras, plus an illustrated booklet featuring contextualising essays by Ashley Clarke and Kevin Brownlow

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Special Features

1930 sound reissue prologue (1930, 6 mins), 1930 sound reissue intermission and introduction to Act 2 (1930, 2 mins): D W Griffith interviewed by Walter Huston
Out-takes and original camera tests
Melvyn Stokes on The Clansman, D W Griffith and Birth of a Nation (2015, 20 mins): newly filmed interview with the film scholar and Birth of a Nation authority.
The Greatest Mother of them All: Kate Bruce (19**, 1 min): short newsreel on the Birth of a Nation actress
Stills and Collections Gallery (2015, 13 mins)
Birth of a Nation at 100 (2015, 32 mins): roundtable discussion filmed at the BFI Southbank
D W Griffith on Lux Radio Theatre with Cecil B DeMille (1936, audio with stills, 6 mins): interview in which the two legends reminisce
Birth of a Nation orchestral score recording sessions
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): A 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
Illustrated booklet with essays by Ashley Clark and Kevin Brownlow, and full credits