blanche sweet

blanche sweet

Judith of Bethulia-1914-Mae Marsh, Lilian & Dorothy Gish, Lionel Barrymore-Full movie

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Judith of Bethulia, 1914, is a silent drama film starring Blanche Sweet, Henry B. Walthall, Mae Marsh, Lilian & Dorothy Gish, Lionel Barrymore, produced and directed by D. W. Griffith. The movie was the first feature-length film made by pioneering film company Biograph, although the second that Biograph released. Shortly after its completion and a disagreement Griffith had with Biograph executives on making more future feature-length films, Griffith left Biograph, and took the entire stock company with him. Biograph delayed the picture's release until 1914, after Griffith's departure, so that it would not have to pay him in a profit-sharing agreement they had. From the Apocrypha story, a poetical tragedy by Thomas Bailey Aldrich and the theatrical version, Holofernes (played by Henry Walthall) leads his Assyrian army against the walled Judean city of Bethulia. The Assyrians decide, after failing to penetrate the wall, to parch the Judeans into submission. Their watering place is located outside the wall. Consequently, widow Judith (played by Blanche Sweet) is inspired to save her Judeans. A saintly woman sacrifices her dignity in order to release the Jewish people from oppression by the Assyrian army. She ingratiates herself within the affections of King Holofernes, whom she gets drunk one night and decapitates -- after which the invaders disperse. This was D.W. Griffith's first feature-length film, and it has the constituents of later Griffith spectacles: poetic and theatrical traditions, romance, battle scenes and costly costume and set design. The film caused controversy with its inclusion of an orgy scene. Blanche Sweet (then 18) stars as Judith and is very pretty but the acting style (it is 1914 after all) is still crude with waving arms and long dramatic poses. Henry B. Walthall is the head of the Assyrian army, Mae Marsh and Robert Harron play the young lovers, Lillian Gish is a young mother, Dorothy Gish is a young cripple, Kate Bruce is the loyal maid, Harry Carey is the traitor. The extras (in heavy makeup) include Lionel Barrymore, Antonio Moreno, Elmo Lincoln (the first Tarzan) and Mary Gish (mother of the stars). With JUDITH as Griffith's first feature length effort, he turns away from the commercial needs of the Biograph Company, the management of which desires to maintain its policy of making only one and two reelers, and his expenditure of $36000 is double the amount budgeted, reflecting his expanded use of sets and extras and providing the requisite exercise in preparation for his next major work: BIRTH OF A NATION, made as a free agent. Eighteen year old Blanche Sweet's performance is striking as she utilizes all of her wide range of expressivity, uncommon in one so young, to mirror the emotions of a woman who is physically attracted to a man, Henry Walthall as Holofernes, toward whom her only possible final act will be his death by her hand, as depicted in many a well-known painting. The supporting cast serves the sparsely titled production well, with emotional performances from Mae Marsh and Robert Harron as endangered lovers, and among the many bit players who animate the work may be seen Lionel Barrymore, Harry Carey, Antonio Moreno and Lillian and Dorothy Gish as victims of the invaders. This version is the four reeler rather than the one of six reels released later and is Griffith's answer to the full-length epics which were being imported from Europe. Blanche Sweet - Judith Henry B. Walthall - Holofernes Mae Marsh - Naomi Robert Harron - Nathan Lillian Gish - The young mother Dorothy Gish - The crippled beggar Kate Bruce - Judith's maid J. Jiquel Lanoe - Eunuch Attendant Harry Carey - Assyrian Traitor W. Chrystie Miller - Bethulian Gertrude Robinson Charles Hill Mailes - Bethulian Soldier Edward Dillon Gertrude Bambrick - Lead Assyrian Dancer Lionel Barrymore - Extra Clara T. Bracy - Bethulian Kathleen Butler - Bethulian William J. Butler - Bethulian Christy Cabanne William A. Carroll - A...