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‘The Birth of a Nation’ Gets Colorized: D.W. Griffith’s Controversial Classic Gets Significant Update

It also includes new colorized intertitle cards.

Birth of a Nation

D.W. Griffith’s 1915 black-and-white classic “The Birth of a Nation” has been colorized. Named one of the hundred best films of all time, this new updated edition, “The Birth Of A Nation: The Colorized Version,” is available in DVD format from Createspace.com, a subsidiary of the Amazon group of companies and features new colorized intertitle cards.

The film follows the lives of the northern Stoneman and southern Cameron families before, during and after the Civil War. When Confederate colonel Ben Cameron (Henry B. Walthall) is captured in battle, nurse Elsie Stoneman (Lillian Gish) petitions for his pardon. Cameron then founds the Ku Klux Klan, which makes him battle Elsie’s congressman father (Ralph Lewis) and his African-American protégé, Silas Lynch (George Siegmann). 

READ MORE: ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Premieres in Toronto, and Audiences Give Nate Parker a Second Chance

“The Birth Of A Nation” was a commercial success upon release, but stirred up controversy for its portrayal of the KKK and black men, which included white actors in blackface. At the time, the NAACP unsuccessfully led a campaign to ban the film. The feature did get praised for its innovative techniques and storytelling power, cementing itself in American film history, and was the second feature-length movie to be shown in the White House, to President Woodrow Wilson and members of Congress.

Nate Parker used Griffith’s film as inspiration for his upcoming drama “The Birth of a Nation,” out October 7. In his version, the story centers on slave Nat Turner as he leads an uprising in the South. He re-purposed the title as a way to challenge racism and white supremacy in America and “inspire a riotous disposition toward any and all injustice in this country,” he told Filmmaker Magazine.

“The Birth Of A Nation: The Colorized Version” is available for purchase by clicking here.

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