IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0002199
Submitted by Torey Liepa on 2007-01-18
Torey Liepa's comment:
This very early feature includes a significantly higher number of intertitles in general, and dialogue intertitles in particular, than contemporaneous films, presumably because unlike some other films of the time, this one came with a ready-made "Script," replete with well-known instances of speech.
Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2007-01-20
Well, this usefully sends down the drain the inference I made about the Judea story of Intolerance. Since this is the only story in Griffith's film with a negative trendline slope I assumed this might be the case for all Passion plays, but this one and the French version measured by Torey Liepa earlier on show that the pace of both films actually becomes slightly faster.
Author: Torey Liepa Date: 2007-01-20
Not that it would necessarily change the curve of this measurement, but I believe the DVD version I viewed reflects changes made to the film in 1919 after Kalem had been acquired by Vitagraph. The extant titles were created for that later version, and apparently some of the pictorial material was altered as well. It would be fascinating if the curve changed from 1912 to 1919, though I doubt it.
A closer analysis might investigate if particular chapters in the Passion Play tend to follow certain editing patterns. For instance, I would imagine that scenes which tend to be modelled on imagery from paintings or sculpture such as (in fact) the Manger (scene) and the Cross (crucifixion), tend to slow down with tableaux-like iconicity. Other chapters, like particular miracles, baptism, or the mount of olives, we might presume would be edited faster, if they contain more "action." Particularly interesting for both "Manger" and Zecca's "Life and Passion" were the superimpositions used to depict walking on water - both of which were accomplished with nearly self-reflexive long takes. The walking on water scene in Passion seemed to be filmed somewhere on the Northern Atlantic, on a cold, windy day beset with a choppy sea.