The Birth of a Nation 1915

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The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln’s assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Writers: Thomas Dixon Jr. (adapted from his novel: “The Clansman: An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan”) (as Thomas F. Dixon Jr.), Thomas Dixon Jr. (play) (as Thomas F. Dixon Jr.) |
Stars: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall

 

 

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The Confession 1920

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Henry Walthall plays a priest who is duty bound to keep secret a terrible confession in this melodramatic thriller. Father Bartlett (Walthall) is concerned about his brother, Tom (Francis McDonald), a rowdy young man who drinks too much. Tom gets himself in trouble on the night he is out drinking with Jimmie Creighton (Barney Furey), the brother of his sweetheart, Rose (Margaret Landis). When Jimmie tells Tom that he has had enough to drink, it causes an argument and the two men come to blows outside the saloon. Tom drops his gun, but it is picked up by Joseph Dumont (William Clifford), who shoots Jimmie because he had wronged his sister. Dumont goes to Father Bartlett with this confession. Father Bartlett holds to the sanctity of the confessional, even though Tom is arrested for the crime, convicted, and sentenced to die. Although Father Bartlett prefers to leave the matter in the hands of a “greater judge,” Tom is not so willing, and he escapes. He is found in the Canadian Northwest and brought back to be hung. Father Bartlett saves Dumont from drowning and convinces him to come clean. Meanwhile, Rose and Tom’s mother (Margaret McWade) have begged for a pardon from the governor, to no avail. Father Bartlett and Dumont finally show up, but Dumont drops dead before he can reveal the truth. But just before the trap springs on Tom, a confession is found in Dumont’s pocket….

Director: Bertram Bracken
Writers: Hal Reid (play), Franklin Hall (as Franklyn Hall)

Production Co: National Film Corporation of America
Stars: Henry B. Walthall, Francis McDonald, William Clifford

The House with Closed Shutters 1910

the house with closedshutters

Summary

During the Civil War a young soldier loses his nerve in battle and runs away to his home to hide; his sister puts on his uniform, takes her brother’s place in the battle, and is killed. Their mother, not wanting the shameful truth to become known, closes all the shutters (hence the film’s title) and keeps her son’s presence a secret for many years, though two boyhood chums stumble upon the truth…

—Peter W. Many, Jr. (PMSusana)

Director: D. W. Griffith
Screenplay: Emmett C. Hall
Production company: Biograph Company
Cinematography: Billy Bitzer

Stars: Henry B. Walthall, Grace Henderson, Dorothy West