David Wark Griffith
Biography of David Wark Griffith
David Llewelyn Wark "D. W." Griffith (January 22, 1875 – July 23, 1948) was a premier pioneering American film director. He is best known as the director of the epic 1915 film The Birth of a Nation and the subsequent film Intolerance (1916).
Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation made pioneering use of advanced camera and narrative techniques, and its immense popularity set the stage for the dominance of the feature-length film in the United States. The film has been extremely controversial for its negative depiction of African Americans, white Unionists and Reconstruction, and its positive portrayal of slavery and the Ku Klux Klan. The film was widely criticized and subject to boycotts by anti-racist organizations such as the NAACP. Griffith responded to his critics with Intolerance, intended to show the history of prejudiced thought and behavior. The film was not a financial success but was praised by critics. Several of Griffith's later films were also successful, but his high production, promotional, and roadshow costs often made his ventures commercial failures. He is generally considered one of the most important figures of early cinema for his command of film techniques and expressive skills.