D.W. Griffith’s The Battle at Elder Bush Gulch
Guess what? Today is the release 98th anniversary of D.W. Griffith’s The Battle at Elder Bush Gulch. Here’s an easy five step plan to fully enjoying this Biograph short!
1. Please do not offer me guff about the release date. It was made in 1913, released in Germany for some murky reason in 1913, but the official U.S. release date was March 28, 1914. ‘Nuff said.
2. Do not give me guff about the title. It is often also known as The Battle of Elder Bush Gulch, but the official release title is The Battle at Elder Bush Gulch.
3. Take a moment to marvel that there are people in this world who feel so passionate about silent films as to argue about release dates and titles 98 years after the fact. Please give yourself a round of applause.
4. Also take a moment to marvel that in a mere 19 minutes or so, this little melodrama has the all the hallmarks of later Griffith epics, including a demonized minority, an over sentimentalized yet also vaguely misogynistic view of women, Lillian Gish, and a whole lot of excitement.
5. Go watch The Battle at Elder Gulch on this marvelous (and steam powered, I’m convinced) contraption we call the interwebs.