D. W. Griffith on Filming a Silent Epic
As I continue my work on the making of the film, The Birth of a Nation, it is nice to run across the words of the director himself, D. W. Griffith, providing a greatly embellished (in terms of numbers involved) version of the story to the New York Sun. I am particularly interested in Griffith's testimony concerning the film's African American extras. "The negro is a natural actor," he claimed, "and the men and women of that race fully competent." Well...wasn't that mighty nice of him to say? Shucks. Here's the full article, published April 25, 1915 - just a few months after the film premiered (under the title: The Clansman) in Los Angeles at Clune's Auditorium. Have a look...you should find the black actors' living arrangements while on set "peculiar" to say the least.