Five Directors and their Contributions
The result was that he made it one" (24).

His years at Biograph began a long association with cameraman Billy Bitzer. Bitzer initially rejected Griffith's radical ideas of how to use the camera, but the partnership soon became a fruitful and creative one. Brownlow quotes Griffith's dismissal of skepticism: "Well, come on, let's do it anyway. I don't give a damn what anybody thinks about it" (25). He continued to have that attitude throughout his career, and Bitzer soon embraced his approach. The rules may have declared to be impossible what Griffith was asking for; Bitzer soon helped him find ways to break the rules.

Griffith's innovations included expanding the length of his films, and one of his last Biograph productions was the first four-reeler to be produced in America, Judith of Bethulia. By the time he left Biograph, he was preparing to produce his first masterpiece, Birth of a Nation, a three-hour saga about the Civil War, released in 1915. His two greatest films, Birth of a Nation and Intolerance, were the most significant examples of his approach to filmmaking, a philosophy that led him to stretch the boundaries and break the rules continually, as part of his lifelong experiment in establishing a working aesthetic language for the new medium.

Birth of a Nation was a critical and commercial success, although its heroic depiction of the Ku Klux Klan remains extremely controversial. The story is based on Thomas Dixon's novel, The Clansman, and is se

 
 
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