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June 1994


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John R Groch <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 15 Jun 1994 14:13:55 -0400
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Here's a question for Griffith defenders and detractors alike.  As a
junior faculty member, I have had to teach our survey course in World Film
History and no doubt will have to again sometime; as someone with limited
interest in the formal aspects of film, I find teaching a text as racist
as _Birth of a Nation_, its formidable formal achievements
notwithstanding, unconscionable; as someone trained in cultural history, I
am deeply suspicious of the claims to its *uniqueness* as a formal
achievement, which is usually the apology offered for teaching it in spite
of its vile content; and, again as a cultural historian, I recoil
reflexively from the great-man vision of history implicit in the
valorization of Griffith.  The problem is that Griffith's period is not my
area of expertise, so I ask you:  what other films could give students a
sense of the development of classical narrative in the mid-teens without
subjecting them to Klan propoganda?  Is there anything by Ince that might
do the job?  (In fact, is there anything by Ince on video?)  My syllabus
and I thank you in advance.
John R. Groch <[log in to unmask]>            |  "Work!  FINISH!  THEN sleep."
English Department/Film Studies Program    |     -- The Monster,
Univ. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260  |        "Bride of Frankenstein"