Intolerance

Last night Kristine and I channel-surfed to Turner Classic Movies in time to catch only a small part of the full showing of D.W. Griffith’s classic 1916 silent film “Intolerance.” (for a great in-depth review by Tim Dirks, see http://www.filmsite.org )

We were immediately pulled in, and as usually, I was pre-occupied with the connections between the film and the Family Forest. The star, Lillian Gish, and at least one of the extras, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., are already in the Family Forest and a number of the characters from The French Story segment are lineage-linked to centuries of family ties that travel forward and backward through almost the entire 2,500 year timeframe of the movie.

But what really caught my attention was the age of some of the older actors. Although the earliest one of the named actors was born in 1850, some of the old men extras appear to have been in their eighties.

This means that some of the actual people you see in “Intolerance” would have been born in the late 1820’s or early 1830’s, which is about the time that some of my great-great-grandparents were born.

Some of those old actors could have served in the Civil War 50 years earlier, and may have even fought in the same battles portrayed in the new “Gods and Generals” movie.

Theoretically, (assuming an average generation length of twenty years) there can be people alive today who are the grandchildren of the grandchildren of the grandchildren of some of those old extras in “Intolerance.”

Even if some of your ancestors did not appear in “Intolerance,” you still have numerous family ties to the movie, through two different routes (the characters and the actors).

First, considering the timeframe of the movie, some of your ancestors were almost 100% certain to have been portrayed in at least the two earlier stories within the movie.

Second, I believe it is virtually impossible for anyone reading this to not share early 1600’s ancestors with a number of the actors in “Intolerance.”

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