Griffith, D(avid) W(ark)

Griffith, D(avid) W(ark)

biographical name

(born Jan. 22, 1875, Floydsfork, Ky., U.S.—died July 23, 1948, Hollywood, Calif.) U.S. film director. After acting in touring stage companies, he sold film scenarios to the Biograph Co., which hired him as a director (1908–13). In over 400 films for Biograph he developed filmmaking as an art form with techniques such as the close-up, the scenic long shot, and crosscutting, and he collaborated with cinematographer Billy Bitzer to create fade-out, fade-in, and soft-focus shots. He nurtured the careers of future stars such as Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Mack Sennett, and Lionel Barrymore. His epic dramas The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916) greatly influenced later filmmakers. After cofounding United Artists Corp. in 1919, he directed Broken Blossoms (1919), Way Down East (1920), and Orphans of the Storm (1921). His last films were Abraham Lincoln (1930) and The Struggle (1931). He is regarded as one of the seminal figures in the history of motion pictures.

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