Eureka Entertainment, the finest purveyors of home video in the UK today announced that they had acquired the rights to D.W. Griffith’s The Birth Of A Nation with a view for their Masters Of Cinema imprint to give the film a Blu-ray release in the coming months. We took a look at the recent Kino edition of the film in HD a few weeks ago, and while the film itself remains as hard to swallow as ever, the restoration project itself is little short of spectacular.
A great number of Griffith’s work has been restored in HD by the MoMa, with the likes of Orphans In The Storm, Way Down East and even the two sound films that the filmmaker directed (Abraham Lincoln and The Struggle) at hand for Blu-ray release should The Birth Of A Nation do well.
So, what would we like to see on this release? The Kino disc is fairly definitive, in that it has plenty of extra material covering most aspects of the production, alas we couldn’t help but feel as though it lacked much in the way of contemporary matter. If ever there was a film that was open to a current reevaluation then this is it, with projects like DJ Spooky’s Rebirth Of A Nation ensuring that Griffith’s film is as relevant and topical (from a subject matter perspective) as it has ever been. From a personal point of view I’ve long felt that Melvyn Stokes’s masterful and in-depth written study of the film entitled D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation: A History of ‘The Most Controversial Motion Picture of All Time was ripe for the basis of a feature-length documentary.
We’re sure that whatever Eureka and The Masters Of Cinema have lined up will be fantastic: we ought to find out what exactly that is in the near future. The disc itself is scheduled for dual-format release before the end of the year.
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