The Birth Of A Nation Episode

the tom gulley show birth of a nation dw griffith woodrow wilson the white house american cinema film history 1915 civil war wes gehring
The very first blockbuster movie in American film history was loaded with technological mastery--and some really cringeworthy racism.

And it's also the first movie ever shown in The White House.

Birth Of A Nation, directed by one of the founders of United Artists--D.W. Griffith, is the story of two families. One from the North. And one from the South.

But it's also chock full of hard-to-watch scenes of racially offensive and inaccurate depictions of the Civil War.

For its time, it was a technological masterpiece of massive scope. Huge battlefield scenes. A plethora of extras.

Our guest, Dr. Wes Gehring, will guide us through all the ins and outs of a film that's on one hand historically and technologically significant--while also being really hard to watch without wanting to wince.

Here's the movie, for those of you with three hours on your hands.

Hear all about it, on this episode of The Tom Gulley Show.

Just listen via the convenient player below, or right click this link and do the "Save As" thing to download the podcast for enjoyment on your iPod or media player of choice.


  1. Tom
    Great podcast on this pernicious movie. Important that people understand this movie and how it was used to help subjugate african-americans.
    The movie techniques were ahead of their time.
    By the way, the Jack Benny retrospective was outstanding. I grew up listening to those OTR cassettes on the Jack Benny show. LSMFT.

    1. Thanks, Johnny! Great to hear from you!

      "So round, so firm, so fully packed! Sold American!"

  2. Huge fan of Don Wilson. No one reads copy like him. Just thinking of it makes me pine for some Jello. And don't get me started on Phil Harris...

    1. As you probably heard on the Jack Benny episode, I met Phil Harris.

      He's from Linton, Indiana. His real first name? Wonga. I'm not joking. Wonga.

      He was great on the Benny show, but The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show was gold, too.


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