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Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2017 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Intolerance
(1916)

 

After the success of his first feature film, The Birth of a Nation (1915), D.W. Griffith began work on Intolerance (1916), an ambitious, multithreaded indictment of man’s intolerance and cruelty to man. Largely a historical drama, with sections staged in Babylonian, Judean and French Reformation eras appended to a modern story originally shot in October 1914 as The Mother and the Law (1915).

coverCohen Film Collection
2013 Blu-ray Disc edition

Intolerance (1916), color-toned black & white, 197 minutes, not rated.

Cohen Media Group, distributed by Entertainment One Film USA,
unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number, unknown ISBN number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, two single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region-Free, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, dual-disc BD keepcase, $49.98.
Release date: 5 November 2013.
Country of origin: USA
This first HD edition of Intolerance has been mastered from the restored 35mm print materials now held by Cohen Media Group.

The prerelease information about this edition has been lean, and little is known about this two-disc edition as to the film’s restoration, the accompanying music, and the possibility of supplemental materials.

This Blu-ray Disc edition is offered at the staggering suggested retail price of nearly fifty dollars.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region-Free Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region-Free Blu-ray Disc edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverCohen Film Collection
2013 DVD edition

Intolerance (1916), color-toned black & white, 197 minutes, not rated.

Cohen Media Group, distributed by Entertainment One Film USA,
unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number, unknown ISBN number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, two single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, dual-disc DVD keepcase, $39.98.
Release date: 5 November 2013.
Country of origin: USA
This DVD edition of Intolerance has been mastered from the restored 35mm print materials now held by Cohen Media Group.

The prerelease information about this edition has been lean, and little is known about this two-disc edition as to the film’s restoration, the accompanying music, and the possibility of supplemental materials.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverKino on Video
2002 DVD edition

Intolerance (1916), color-toned black & white, 197 minutes, not rated.

Kino International, K267, UPC 7-38329-02672-1.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 1, 4 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 30 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $29.95.
Release date: 10 December 2002.
Country of origin: USA

Our first look at this edition reveals an excellent video transfer that has likely been prepared from a compilation of 35mm prints, and the edition features a synthesizer music score performed by Joseph Turrin.

The supplements section includes a filmed introduction by Orson Welles, exerpts from The Last Days of Pompeii (1913), Cabiria (1914) and The Fall of Babylon (1919), a stills archive of promotional materials, and an examination of the Intolerance book seen at the beginning of the film.

You can expect this to be the best in-print edition of Intolerance on DVD.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Image Entertainment
1999 DVD edition

Intolerance (1916), color-toned black & white, 178 minutes, not rated.

Film Preservation Associates, distributed by Image Entertainment,
ID5839DSDVD, UPC 0-14381-58392-2.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 36 chapter stops, snapper DVD case, $29.99.
Release date: 19 January 1999.
Country of origin: USA

D.W. Griffith’s mammoth masterpiece is well represented in this high-quality edition, which can be hard to find (since it is now out-of-print) but is worth the search and is worth acquiring. Edition producer David Shepard has attempted to assemble the most complete edition of the film possible to present the film in as close an approximation of the original road show version as possible. In general, the results are notable.

We assume the DVD utilizes the same video transfers of Griffith’s 1926 “Standard Version” of the film, with footage insertions from a 1917 print as produced by David Shepard, that were released on laserdisc and VHS videotape a few years back. The film is accompanied by an adaptation of Gaylord Carter’s theatre pipe organ score recorded in 1990.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Eureka Entertainment
2000 DVD edition

Intolerance (1916), color-toned black & white, 177 minutes, BBFC Classification PG.

Eureka Entertainment, distributed by Force Video,
EKA40024, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 PAL, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 2, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, £19.99.
Release date: 27 December 2000.
Country of origin: England
This high-quality PAL edition presents the viewer with the unique optional choice of viewing of each of the four stories from Intolerance contiguously.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 2 PAL DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
Eureka Entertainment
2002 DVD edition

D.W. Griffith Monumental Epics (1915-1930), color-toned black & white and black & white, 693 minutes total. BBFC Classification PG, 15 and U,
including Intolerance (1916), color-toned black & white, 177 minutes, classification PG.

Eureka Entertainment,
unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 PAL, four single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 2, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono and stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, £49.99.
Release date: 24 June 2002.
Country of origin: England
This PAL boxset edition includes the above-noted Eureka edition of Intolerance, plus four other Griffith films from Eureka.

North American collectors will need a region-free PAL DVD player capable of outputting an NTSC-compatible signal to view this edition.

 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 2 PAL DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Your purchase supports Silent Era.
Catcom Home Video
2002 DVD edition

Intolerance (1916), color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 118 minutes, not rated,
with The Paleface (1922), black & white, 21 minutes, not rated, The Rink (1916) black & white, 24 minutes, not rated, Felix in Hollywood (1923), black & white, 9 minutes, not rated, The Mechanical Cow (1927), color-tinted black & white, 6 minutes, not rated, The Tuba Tooter (1932), black & white, 6 minutes, not rated.

Catcom Home Video, CAT0310-6, UPC 7-41914-03106-2.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 4 Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 6 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested list price.
Release date: 2002.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 5 / audio: 5 / additional content: 5 / overall: 5.

This budget edition of Intolerance has been transferred full-frame from a very-good color-tinted and color-toned 16mm reduction print, which is in reasonable condition but is still compromised by the usual shortcomings of the format: dust, speckling, slightly soft image details, etc. The transfer has, unfortunately, been made as sound speed, which — for a Griffith film shot at a slow rate of approximately 14-16 frames a second — means the film plays at entirely too fast a rate (accounting in part for the shorter than usual running time).

The film is accompanied by a piano music score that appears to have been recorded for the film. We have not identified the performer or the producer of the source print.

We are not certain whether the video transfers of the supplemental films on this DVD have been licensed from the original producers. The Paleface utilizes the transfer produced by David Shepard available from Kino. The Rink has been lifted from the 1:21 windowboxed transfer produced by David Shepard. The windowboxed video transfer of Felix in Hollywood has apparently been lifted from a DVD edition of Felix cartoons. Disney’s The Mechanical Cow has been lifted from a VHS videotape copy of a sepia-tined 16mm reduction print. The Tuba Tooter transfer is from an overcropped 16mm reduction print. While all of these supplemental films are quite watchable, the picture information has been considerably more compressed than their original sources.

There are better editions of this important film to be had. Why buy cheap?

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Alpha Video
2003 DVD edition

Intolerance (1916), black & white, 163 minutes, not rated.

Alpha Video, ALP 4287D, UPC 0-89218-42879-0.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 5 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 8 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $6.98.
Release date: 9 December 2003.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 3 / audio: 5 / additional content: 0 / overall: 4.

This budget edition has been transferred full-frame from a contrasty 16mm reduction print which suffers from a number of shortcomings including blown-out highlights, plugged-up shadows, exposure fluctuations, soft image details, speckling, dust, scratches, emulsion damage, frame jitters and more. A disappointment, even for a budget disc.

The film is also accompanied by a serviceable but unrelated canned orchestral music track. Not the best results.

We do not recommend this disc as there are better editions of the film available, even among the budget Intolerance discs.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Delta Entertainment
2004 DVD edition

Intolerance (1916), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

Delta Entertainment, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided?, single-layered? DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $6.98.
Release date: 24 February 2004.
Country of origin: USA
We have not viewed this DVD. Another in a long line of budget DVDs that would surprise us if it has been transferred from anything other than a 16mm reduction print. However, word has reached us from our readers that this budget edition of Intolerance fares better than the others below.

A canned music track accompanies the film.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
DDC Labs
200? DVD edition

Intolerance (1916), black & white, ? minutes, not rated,
with The Sheik (1921), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.

DDC Labs, unknown catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one double-sided?, single-layered? DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono? sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles?, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, unknown suggested retail price.
Release date: 2005?.
Country of origin: Canada
This cheapy edition from Canada also features a presentation of The Sheik (1921), but it is unknown the quality of source materials used for the video transfer.
Other silent era D.W. GRIFFITH films available on home video.

Other silent era LILLIAN GISH films available on home video.

Other silent era MAE MARSH films available on home video.

Other WALLACE REID films available on home video.

Other silent era CONSTANCE TALMADGE films available on home video.
Lillian Gish filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
 
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