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Categories of analysis: clip 3



clip 3- Attack on the Cameron Home

time: 34:45-39:04
shots: 232-289

filmic technique

PARALLEL EDITING DURING THE PIEDMONT RAID
  • Griffith's cross-cutting between different lines: alternating between the Union soldier's incursion into the Cameron home; the flight and concealment of the threatened Cameron women; and the arrival of the Southern defenders
  • splices together three synchronous lines: heightening of tension, rising action as lines converge
  • creation of off-screen space (Afr-Ams lurking in dynamicized off-screen space)
  • use of contiguous spaces: the soldier's chase and search captures the same scenes, once with women and then one with soldiers in pursuit

  • provides the viewer with a carefully-constructed mental map of the chase scene

MAE MARSH AND D. W. GRIFFITH
  • the presence of Griffith's directorial hand: directing the gestures of Mae Marsh step-by-step
  • showing her laughing from hysterical fear; concern with the emotions
    • not simply actions– of his actors
  • Griffith's decision to use Marsh, despite the fact she was not a Southerner

GRIFFITH'S USE OF COLOR TINTING
  • use of color tinting to convey sensation of fire: introduces issue of color tinting as filmic technique
  • commentary on the use of color tinting (Jill Collie)
  • editing exercise based on film tinting: color as evocation of mood
  • Paolo Cherchi Usai, "The Color of Nitrate: Some Factual Observations on Tinting and Toning Manuals for Silent Film," in Silent Film, edited by Richard Abel.

SEE EDITING EXERCISE: Parallel Editing


racial representation

BLACK SOLDIERS INVADE THE CAMERON HOME
  • depiction of the conduct of Black Union soldiers: "guerillas," "irregular"
  • deprecation of Black regiment for failing to adhere to gentlemanly, chivalric codes of war: pitched battles, regimental maneuvers, co-ordinated assaults
  • the Black soldiers are depicted as rapacious animals, brandishing guns in search of "white" flesh

MAMMY FIGURE PROTECTS THE CAMERON HOME
  • presence of the Mammy figure as a foil to the savagery of the Black Union soldiers
  • helps to put out the fire and later helps to free Dr. Cameron
  • the benevolent Black type: deferent and dutiful, almost like a family pet
  • deeply appreciative of the patrician guidance and care of the white master, repays these acts of kindness with brave demonstrations of loyalty
  • contrast between what is framed as a 'good Black' and a 'bad Black'
  • juxtaposing slides depicting inhuman faces of soldiers and the
comically-depicted self-sacrifice of Mammy
  • only two roles allowed the Black: savagery or servitude
  • some of this information may end up in Clip 9
  • include still of Lynch's friend and mammy figure



literary origins

PENETRATION AND INSINUATION OF RAPE
  • presence of more narrated instances of rape in the Dixon novels: scene in The Leopard's Spots where soldiers rape a mother and daughter
  • Griffith's intervention: mother/daughter replaced by sisters

DOMESTIC SPACE AND VIOLATION
  • penetration into the domestic sphere as a spatially-coded, symbolically-enacted version of rape
  • the violation of the Southern home– the center of the woman's authority and pride– suggests a theatrical pantomime of rape
  • feverish progress, protruding guns



historical representation

HISTORICAL INACCURACY ASSOCIATED WITH BLACK SOLDIERS
  • claim to the recreation of historic event, located at a specific point in the war's conduct: "The first Black troops are raised in South Carolina"
  • question of Griffith's liberties with historical record: using vividly-realized scenes to gloss over ideological construals
  • Black troops were not raised at the start of the war; at the earliest, only allowed to fight after the Battle of Bull Run, and even then, usually raised from Northern populations (not South Carolina)
  • advisors on Glory?
  • suggestion that the Union deliberately (and irresponsibly) incited Blacks, equipped them with weapons, and allowed them to run amok

OCCURENCE OF UNION RAIDS
  • records of the war indicate that these raids occurred not at its outset of the war, but only in its later stages, as supply lines went down
  • constructed within the film as provocation for the Confederate response: serves to justify to reluctant heroes and martyrs
  • Mary Chestnut: A Diary from Dixie

SCALAWAGS AS SOUTHERN TRAITORS
  • 'scalawag' at the head of the guerilla regiment: discussion of those Southerners (i.e. upper part of North Carolina) who aligned themselves with the Union cause, possible motivations



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