02 April, 2006

Apocalypse Then?

Well, it turns out that D. W. Griffiths' Birth of a Nation (1915) is pretty dull, at least until the final fifteen minutes. One query struck me, though. As the heroic Ku Klux paladins storm Piedmont, SC to rescue the film's heroine (Lillian Gish), what should the orchestra strike up but Ride of the Valkyries? The Teutonic military-mystical aspect of Wagner's music fits the cinematic theme well. But one wonders if Coppola had this scene in mind when filming his more famous sequence in Apocalypse Now—the reference would certainly reinforce the ambivalence of Coppola's portrayal of Kilgore et al.

No comments: