Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Abraham Lincoln / The Struggle |
Actors: Walter Huston, Hal Skelly
Director: D.W. Griffith
GRIFFITH TALKIE DOUBLE FEATURE — The silent cinema s renowned pioneer, D.W. Griffith, directed only two sound features: ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1930) and THE STRUGGLE (1931), both collected on this DVD. Returning to the historic e... more »
Yes! Griffith's two final films on dvd
Burritoman "USA" | Pennsylvania | 11/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Abraham Lincoln" was D.W. Griffith's first sound picture and the title says it all. While boring in places, it's still one of the best screen biographies of the first Republican President and shows that Griffith wasn't a spent force. This film has been on several low-budget dvd's for years, but this Kino edition (of course) beats them all. I actually felt as though I were watching "Abraham Lincoln" for the first time viewing this great print.
But for as good, even great, as "Abraham Lincoln" is, it's the other film here, 1931's "The Struggle", that makes this an absolute must-buy.
"The Struggle" turned out to be Griffith's second and sadly final sound movie and revolves around a generally likable but emotionally weak family man who succumbs to alcoholism. The story is good (reuniting the great director with writer Anita Loos), but it's the personal investment from the director that imbues "The Struggle" with it's greatness. Although a big flop at the time - apparently in the early years of the Great Depression few wanted to see such an unflinching and stark depiction of self-destruction - I consider "The Struggle" one of Griffith's five greatest full-length features (the others being "Intolerance", "Broken Blossoms", "Isn't Life Wonderful" and "The Greatest Question").
His Final Struggles
Brad Baker | Atherton, Ca United States | 11/01/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"D.W. Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation" is generally considered the beginning of modern American cinema. Kino has released "Griffith Masterwork 2". This is 1 disc DVD with Griffith's only two sound features: "Abraham Lincoln(1930)" and "The Struggle(1931)". These were his last productions.
No. 1 is "Abrham Lincoln( B&W 93 minutes Fullframe (1.20:1)", a highly episodic work, with scenes from Lincoln's life, from his birth to his death. You see his romance with Ann Rutledge, his career as a lawyer, his marriage to Mary Todd, his election to the presidency, the Civil War, and his assassination by John Wilkes Booth. Other sections include Sheridan's ride, and Lincoln preparing to speek at Ford's Theater, which morphs into the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln is portrayed by Walter Huston, a rising star at the time. Huston was new in Hollywood after a career in vaudeville and a short Broadway jaunt. His son was director John Huston.
No. 2 is "The Struggle(1931 B&W 93 minutes Full-frame (1.33:1)". "The Struggle" traces the sad, step-by-step decline of Jimmie Wilson, from his first drink, to street-begging, to a battle with the D.T.'s. No major tragedy is ever given as the cause of Jimmie's alcoholic demise. But, he is seen taking a drink when his daughter is hospitalized, and after a friend loses a job. A known drinker himself, Griffith does not, in this film, make a case against Prohibition, which was in force at the time. Rather, he portray's a sunny beer garden full of cheerful middle-class folks quaffing light wine and cold beer. Alcoholism seems not the point, but rather Jimmie's descent. Jimmie finally reaches an hallucinatory point, where he is unable to recognize his own child. Next comes a more standard Griffith device: the locked room, the frightened girl, and the brutal male. It is "Broken Blossoms" all over again. But, make no mistake here. "The Struggle" lacks the pure, unbounding, luminescent poetry of "Broken Blossoms". "The Struggle" was a critical and commercial disaster.
"Abraham Lincoln" was mastered in HD from the Museum of Modern Art's 35mm restoration. "The Struggle" was remastered in HD from a 35mm print from the Rohauer Collection. Extras include a comparison of scenes of Lincoln's assassination from "Abraham Lincoln" and "The Birth of a Nation", and a gallery of photos and the original pressbook from "Abraham Lincoln". Finally, you get a 1-reel promo from 1930, a trailer for a new, sound-added version of "The Birth of a Nation", which stars Walter Huston and D.W. Griffith himself. In dinner jackets, they appear, somewhat awkwardly, as fine gentlemen sitting down in a library(the "Lincoln" set) discussing history, truth, and the American Way. Huston presents Griffith with a cavalry sword. Both men draw long, slow drags on cigarettes, and wait for some un-ending pregnant pause. The pace is dreadfully slow. I found it utterly fascinating.
D. W. Griffith did not direct again, but he was hired by Hal Roach in 1940 to direct dialogue for "One Million B.C.", starring Victor Mature and Lon Chaney. It is still unclear what effort, if any, Griffith can be credited with. D.W. Griffith was stricken by a cerebral hemorrhage while walking through the lobby of the Nickerbocker Hotel, and died in Hollywood in 1948. Historians have labeled him "the man who invented Hollywood"."
Abraham Lincoln and The Struggle.
Tom Without Pity | A Major Midwestern Metropolis | 05/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a review for the Kino single disc edition of D.W. Griffith's
ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1930) and THE STRUGGLE (1931). These are the only
two talking films that Griffith directed and as such are of more than
slight historical interest.
But citing these two films just for their significance in film history does
not really do them justice for the artistic accomplishment that they
both are. Griffith imbued them both with his own personal sentiment
and feelings about life and the world we live in.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN's early life is told in brief anecdotes, including his
heartrendering courtship with Ann Rutledge, wonderfully played by
Una Merkel. When we get to the presidency and the civil war and finally
Lincoln's assasination, the story narrative goes into much more detail
and illustrates as much truth as myth, it looks like to me.
Walter Huston does a really fine job as Lincoln and this edition of the film
includes scenes previously thought lost. Although the lost scenes do not
have any sound, subtitles serve the purpose of keeping the story moving
for the few minutes where sound is missing.
THE STRUGGLE is a story on a much smaller scale, about a newly wed man who at
first has no trouble staying away from alcohol but after a while comes to depend
on it for a little pick me up and even later his life pretty much centers
around drinking. But with the help of his loyal wife and child, Jimmy
seems to find a way out of his tragic downfall.
THE STRUGGLE is a sympathetic look at alcoholism and its effect on a family,
a society and the world, you might say. For someone who was almost renlentlessly
labeled old fashioned, Griffith demonstrates here that not only is his outlook
fairly non-judgemental if not redemptive, his film making style has by 1931
become a litle less stagey and more fluid.
Had Griffith continued to make movies it would have been instructive to
see what he'd have been doing in six or seven years. And how he'd have been doing it.
All that aside, I give this dual movie box set five stars. Not because the films wihin
are perfect examples of cinema, although I believe they are pretty darn good. But because they are the last segment of one of the great legacies left to us by the first giant of film history.