starring Neil Hamilton and Carol Dempster
Mr. Griffith has done it again. Has almost made another "Birth of a Nation" -- but not quite. Nevertheless, "America" is an epic film and one of the greatest thrill pictures ever made. If you miss this picture, you miss something worth while -- something that will not only give you a greater appreciation of motion pictures, but something that will make you pause and gaze with added reverence the next time you see an American flag.
No period in our history is so rich in romance as the struggle for independence, and this is the period chosen by Mr. Griffith, with a story by Robert W. Chambers.
He has caught the spirit of our forefathers as we conceived it, and transferred it to the screen in such a way that you glory in being an American.
The first part of the picture treats of the causes of the Revolution and the events leading up to the battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. Nothing has ever been thrown on the screen that surpasses the ride of Paul Revere to arouse the Middlesex villagers and farmers.
In the second part of the picture, Mr. Griffith, realizing that it was impossible to tell the story of the Revolutionn in any one or any dozen pictures, has selected phases of it that vividly depict the sacrifices of the patriots in the struggle.
Notable figures of the American Revolution are presented, including Wshington, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, Samuel Evans and King George III, and into it all he has interwoven a charming love story of the daughter of a Virginian Tory (Carol Dempster) and a young patriotic leader (Neil Hamilton).
Mr. Hamilton is pushed to stardom, and Miss Dempster does the best work of her screen career.
starring Neil Hamilton and Carol Dempster
MaRCH 22, 1924
The motion picture "America" ranks among the three or four truly great films of the cinema's brief history. D.W. Griffith has again reminded the world with an emphatic gesture that he is the chief of all American directors, and supreme artist of great canvases.
It is no coincidence that "The Birth of a Nation," "The Covered Wagon" and "America" have all dealt with epochal periods in this nation's history. The screen is ideally fitted for the portrayal of gigantic themes, and American directorial genius is naturally superlatively inspired by that which is greatly American.
The Revolution and the troublous times which preceded and followed it was one of the most dramatic eras in all man's annals. It was a time of passions, tragedies and the vast, stern gaiety of the liberated human spirit.
With extraordinary force Griffith has brought that national emotion to the screen. The Revolution has been reproduced with such perfection of mood and detail that the spectator feels himself literally experiencing much of the action and sentiment that accompanied it.
An unbelievable wealth of material and incident has been spent to make the picture really epic in quality. There is, of necessity, occasional frailty of continuity, but the marvel on the whole is that "America" holds together at all. For it does.
A charming romance between a Virginia patrician girl and a Boston plough-boy winds its way indissolubly through the sequence of historical scenes. The Battle of Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Cornwallis' surrender, and the storming of Fort Sacrifice are but a few of the events which have been brought, with marvelous fidelity and drama, to the screen.
Nothing, however is introduced with the crudity of a pageant. Each historic occurrence is brought forward only as it concerns the characters of the story. Their human, poignantly personal tragedies serve as allegories of the nation's woes.
But it is vain to attempt to do justice to the perfection of Griffith's direction, whether demonstrated in the performance of a delicate love scene or a mighty battle.
The spectator is caught up in an emotional cyclone which deposits him, three hours later, gasping back again in a time which, for the nonce, has ceased to exist - the present.
The acting responsibilities fall upon Carol Dempster, Lionel Barrymore and Neil Hamilton. Each is incomparably fine. Barrymore, in a remarkably interesting part, is brilliantly decisive and forceful. Miss Dempster convinces us, after duly calm consideration, that she is the one finely gifted and really beautiful woman on the screen.
It is needless to advise you to see "America." We might make ourselves useful, however, by suggesting a second and a third, and perhaps a fourth trip to it. You will tire of it only when you tire of romance in its greatest sense.
Video source: Kino
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