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Movie-A-Day #236: Intolerance (1916).

August 24, 2011

The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, which began in Paris on this day in 1572, started as a series of targeted assassinations of prominent French Protestants by the Catholic royal family. But it eventually turned into a wave of mob violence as Catholics of all social classes hunted down and killed tens of thousands of Protestants throughout France in the following weeks. The episode was one of four stories that D.W. Griffith juggled in his epic film “Intolerance.” Paradoxically enough, Griffith made the film – a plea for acceptance and understanding – as a way to lash out at the critics who trashed his previous film, the wildly racist “The Birth of a Nation.”

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