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Cross-cutting in Lonedale Operator (1911)

by Kate Fortmueller

D.W. Griffith is often credited with the strides he made in the development of cross-cutting. Often times D.W. Griffith uses cross-cutting to create tension (although as The Birth of a Nation [1915] clip demonstrates, he might also use it to create sympathy and identification with the characters).

This sequence from D.W. Griffith's Lonedale Operator demonstrates Griffith's use of cross-cutting. This sequence cross-cuts between two distinct spaces: the telegraph office (and within this space it cuts between the robbers and the telegraph operator) and the train. Note how the train develops the tension in this sequence.

Lonedale Operator (1911) - Ending

In this final sequence the telegraph woman sends for help and wards off the robbers until help arrives. This sequence cross-cuts between the train and the station.

from Lonedale Operator (1911)
Creator: D.W. Griffith
Posted by Kate Fortmueller