D. W. Griffith gets revitalized.

Of the great directors of the twentieth century, few have had their films so butchered and bungled as D.W. Griffith If course some of this might have something to do with the fact that some of his films are close to 90 years old. Kino International is planning a new box set of four of Griffith’s best works and a more recent documentart on DVD early next year.

The Griffith Masterworks DVD Box Set include D.W. Griffith’s films “The Birth Of A Nation,” “Intolerance,” “Orphans Of The Storm,” and “Broken Blossoms” and also the DVD “Biograph Shorts” feature the director.

“The Birth Of A Nation” (1915, 187min.) – This is the epic story of two families, one northern and one southern, during and after the Civil War.

“Intolerance” (1916, 197min.) – Four separate stories are interwoven: the fall of Babylon, the death of Christ, the massacre of the Huguenots and a contemporary drama, all crosscut and building with enormous energy to a thrilling chase finale.

“Orphans Of The Storm” (1921, 150min.) – Henriette and the blind Louise leave their home for Paris in hopes of having Louise’s sight restored. Henriette is abducted and the women are tragically separated in a city on the brink of revolution. With the help of a nobleman, Henriette endeavors to find the Louise.

“Broken Blossoms” (1919, 90min.) – D.W. Griffith reached a pinnacle of expressiveness in this tender yet tragic tale of love and suffering in the seedy Limehouse district of London.

“Biograph Shorts” (1992, 362min.) – This selection of motion pictures featured in this two-disc set traces D.W. Griffith’s rapid, unparalleled development as a filmmaker during his five year stint at the Biograph Company – a development that contributed substantially to the emergence of film as a powerful form of cultural expression.

Being silent films of the early part of the century, the films will obviously be presented in fullscreen and mono. Birth of a Nation will feature The Making of “The Birth Of A Nation”, a filmed prologue, seven civil war shorts and a feature on New York vs. “The Birth Of A Nation”. The DVD will feature the 187 minute version of the film. Intolerance features excerpts from “Cabiria” (1914), “The Last Days Of Pompeii” (1914) and “The Fall of Babylon” alternate ending and a filmed introduction by Orson Welles. Orphans of the Storm will contain a filmed introduction by Orson Welles, footage taken at D.W. Griffith’s funeral, radio eulogy for Griffith by Erich von Stroheim, a portfolio of rare Griffith photographs and “Rescued From The Eagle’s Nest” (1908). Broken Blossoms will be the version already released by Kino.

Coming on December 10th the oldest film on the AFI top 100 list and a wealth of other Griffith works, long and short will make their debut. The individual titles will be priced at $29.95, while the box will cost a cool $99.95.

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