Trivia: Intolerance

  • Acclaimed Flop, Box Office Bomb and Vindicated by History: While the film received tremendous reviews at the time, and is now regarded as one of the greatest classics in film history, the market in 1916 was extremely unkind to this film. Leading factors in its failure at the box office were its length (over five hours in its original form, later cut to three); Griffith's use of techniques which, while innovative and still widely used today, were confusing to the audiences which were seeing them for the first time; and most of all, poor timing - when the film was being shot, public sentiment in the US was against entering World War One, but by the time opening night had rolled around, antipathy for the German submarine campaign was growing and there was a wide call for entering the war on the side of the Entente Powers.