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Intolerance Blu-ray

United States
Intolerance / The Mother and the Law / The Fall of Babylon Cohen Film Collection | 1916 | 1 Movie, 3 Cuts | 168 min | Not rated | Nov 05, 2013

Intolerance (Blu-ray)
Temporary cover art

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.33:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0


50GB Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set (2 BDs)

Region A, B (C untested)

List price: $49.98, Price history

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Movie rating
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Blu-ray rating
Video 4.5 of 54.5
Audio 4.5 of 54.5
Extras 3.0 of 53.0
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Movie appeal




Intolerance Blu-ray delivers stunning video and audio in this exceptional Blu-ray release

Four separate stories are interwoven: the fall of Babylon, the death of Christ, the massacre of the Huguenots, and a contemporary drama, all crosscut and building with enormous energy to a thrilling chase and finale. Through the juxtaposition of these well known sagas, Griffith joyously makes clear his markedly deterministic view of history, namely that the suffering of the innocents makes possible the salvation of the current generation, symbolized by the boy in the modern love story.

For more about Intolerance and the Intolerance Blu-ray release, see Intolerance Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.

Starring: Lillian Gish, Miriam Cooper, Bessie Love, Mae Marsh, Eugene Pallette, Robert Harron
Director: D.W. Griffith

» See full cast & crew

Intolerance Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.5 of 5

Intolerance is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Cohen Film Collection with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.33:1. The progressive presentation may put off some who are more sensitive to the algorithms of silent film fps protocols and how they fold into Blu-ray authoring requirements for 24 fps progressive presentations. While I've seen many sources reporting various silent films repeating a rather wide disparity of frames (everything from every fifth or sixth to every eighteenth and beyond) to support a progressive presentation, my entirely unscientific research on Intolerance suggests that in this case it's every third or fourth frame that is being repeated—whether that will alleviate any perceived motion issues or exacerbate them I will leave to those with this particular acuity, as I frankly have never been overly bothered by previous silents presented progressively, and in fact I saw little if any difference between the progressive and interlaced presentations of The Phantom of the Opera (24 fps in 1080p, 20 fps in 1080i) with regard to fluidity of motion.

This version runs 168 minutes (2:47:32 to be exact) and so the frame speed may have been increased since several sites state this version "should" run 197 minutes or thereabouts. That said, I certainly noticed no overt "sped up" syndrome in any of the motion. The Thames Silents Restoration which served as the source for this release was initially overseen by Kevin Brownlow and David Gill in 1989, and according to the press sheets accompanying the Blu-ray release, also received further digital restoration as well as a 2K scan by Cohen for this release. The results are fairly miraculous, at least for those of us who grew up on hideous looking public domain issues of the film sourced from horrible looking 16mm prints. There are obviously quite a few issues inherent in the source elements—scratches, missing frames, etc.—but when compared to previous releases of Intolerance, well—to my eyes, anyway, there is no comparison. Many of the most prominent instances of damage have been wiped away, without destroying grain structure. In fact, one almost has to get one's nose right to the screen to even see some of the scratches now, so minimal have they become. It should be stated that due to the reinstatement of the original tints, grain appears to be variable. It tends to be much more visible in the untinted sequences as well as the sepia and blue tinted ones than in the reddish-purple tinted sequences, where it all but disappears.

The image, while certainly not crystal clear or "sharp" by today's standards, is remarkably precise. Fine detail is minimal, if only because Griffith only uses close-ups very sparingly, and even then, often with irises employed (see screenshot 7 for a good example of a non-irised close-up). Density and contrast issues are slight, but noticeable, lending a quasi-flicker sporadically throughout the presentation. Aside from the damage restoration, there are no signs of artificial sharpening or other digital tweaking. Having owned several versions of Intolerance going back to the VHS days, I can state without qualification that this is easily the best looking version I've personally seen.

Intolerance Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.5 of 5

Intolerance offers Carl Davis' magnificent score (built almost entirely on a C minor motive which then expands and contracts in magical ways over the course of the next two-plus hours) in either DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 or DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Davis, who I felt channeled Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony for his wonderful theme music for The World at War, here forsakes outright homages or pastiches to create a remarkable blending of tone with image. (He does liberally quote the Dies Irae at some of the more dramatic moments.) The score is really resplendent sounding in the 5.1 mix and I highly recommend that option for those with the appropriate setup. Not only are the surround channels fully engaged, the score breathes much more convincingly in the 5.1 mix, with a much fuller sounding midrange and lower range. Fidelity is superb and dynamic range is extremely wide.

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Intolerance Blu-ray, News and Updates

Exclusive Giveaway: Intolerance - November 1, 2013 and Cohen Film Collection are offering five members a chance to win a copy of Intolerance. This mammoth 1916 silent film is often included in lists of the most historically important films ever made. Intolerance arrives on Blu-ray restored and ...

Intolerance (1916) Blu-ray Detailed - October 21, 2013

Cohen Media Group has detailed the Cohen Film Collection release of D.W. Griffith's silent cinema milestone, Intolerance, starring Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Elmo Lincoln, Robert Harron and Constance Talmadge. The groundbreaking 1916 epic arrives on Blu-ray on November ...

Intolerance Blu-ray, Forum Discussions

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