The Birth of a Nation (originally called The Clansman) is a 1915 American silent film directed by D. W. Griffith and based on the novel and play The Clansman, both by Thomas Dixon, Jr. Griffith also co-wrote the screenplay (with Frank E. Woods), and co-produced the film (with Harry Aitken). It was released on February 8, 1915. The film was originally presented in two parts, separated by an intermission.
The film chronicles the relationship of two families in Civil War and Reconstruction-era America: the pro-Union northern Stonemans and the pro-Confederacy Southern Camerons over the course of several years. The assassination of PresidentAbraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth is dramatized.
The film was a big commercial success, but was highly controversial owing to its portrayal of African American men (played by white actors in blackface) as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women, and the portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan (whose original founding is dramatized) as a heroic force. There were widespread protests against The Birth of a Nation, and it was banned in several cities. The outcry of racism was so great that D.W. Griffith was inspired to produceIntolerance the following year.
The film is also credited as one of the events which inspired the formation of the "second era" Ku Klux Klan at Stone Mountain, Georgia in the same year. The Birth of a Nation was used as a recruiting tool for the KKK
It was the first motion picture to be shown at the White House. President Woodrow Wilson supposedly said the film was "... like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." The attribution is disputed.
IMPORTANT ADDED INFO : this 35-page booklet contains an overview of the film, scenes from the movie, biographies of the actors, commentary and reviews. The dust jacket is still attached and string-bound, but the pages are starting (slightly) to crumble and must be handled with care. Film historians will definitely have interest in this item. (More photos on demand)
Condition : Good, for one century old item, the program is in good shape