Birth of a Nation and Uncle Tom’s Cabin on Turner Classic Movies Monday April 11
This year and month, being the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, Turner Classic Movies will be showing, all this month, films dealing with the conflict, such as Gone with the Wind, Raintree County (the film where Elizabeth Taylor goes nuts because she thinks she’s part black – and back then, that was enough to make a white person go crazy) and Glory.
But without question, one of the most important films ever made, D.W. Griffith’s 1915 landmark 190 minute epic, Birth of a Nation, will be shown on TCM on Monday Aprill 11 at 8PM (7PM Central Time).
Griffith’s classic film, based on the book The Klansman, about the fall and rise of the South before, during and after the Civil War, with black people – or rather white actors in black face – as the villains, and the KKK has the heroes who literally come to the rescue, heralded the birth of modern cinema.
It’s also of course the most racist film ever made. (I’m sure you would have your own choice for what would be No.2 after Birth of the Nation on the “most racist” list, but mine would go to Zach Synder’s 300).
Several years ago I taught a college class on black male images in America Cinema and had a public screening of the film. The audience’s jaws dropped to the floor. They had heard of the film, but didn’t really have any idea what they were going to see. Needless to say, they were quite stunned – except for one lost white woman who didn’t see what all the fuss was about.
Here’s a clip from the film:
And as a extra special bonus, if you’re willing to stay up late on Monday/ Early Tuesday morning at 3:30 AM (2:30AM Central Time), TCM will show the 1927 silent film version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin with James B. Lowe as the title character
However, though I think the 1965 German film version, or as it’s known over there as Onkel Toms Hutte, I wrote about a few weeks ago (HERE) still would be more interesting.
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