1.Answer to Joey's third question:
Personally, I think David Griffith's racist rhetoric dose contribute to the film's success. Art comes from life but goes beyond it. What we see in films, read in books and hear in music all are generated from real life. Even the fictions, to some extent, reflect the real world. Exaggerating is the key feature of melodrama, which makes the melodrama more attractive, straightforward, and meaningful. The conflict between white people and black people do exist in real life and should be paying attention to. Through the exaggerated performance in melodrama, the issues attracts more people and generates discussion, which to some extent set the root of the social revolution. Arguing for evil, is the purpose of this film and using the racist rhetoric might be better than just describe the situation and call for attention. It is a method to gain social influence. Also, when watching melodrama, the audience would probably not take the stories seriously since they know they are watching a film written by people instead of watching a documentary. Typically, silent films are less popular and interesting than those with dialogue. But Griffith's silent film has reshaped the popular entertainment and even regarded as masterpiece now. Sometimes we say that if you finally succeed, how you manage to succeed is not important. Griffith influenced the not only the film field but also social race relationship. Though his racism seems harsh, we cannot deny that his purpose is good, arguing for evil.
2.Answer to Meg's second question:
Since the film is silent, the actors exaggerated their facial expressions and movements, which makes the heroes' features more obvious and easier to understand. The audience have to really look at the screen and paying attention to understand the story, as a result, they are more involved. Sometimes, dialogues, seems distracting. When hearing the words, the audience might not paying much attention to the facial expression and movement. Each person has his or her own understanding of the words and those words are written by the screenwriter, who might add personal attitude to the lines. Also, the same sentences said by different actors would lead to different effects. So dialogues are sometimes distracting and misleading. Griffith use background music throughout the whole film, which guide the emotional flow of the audience and emphasize the important parts. Background music also make the film more interesting and remembered by the audience. From above, I think the "silent" plays an important role in making the film more melodramatic.
3.Answer to Natalie's second question:
In my opinion, melodrama is continually evolving as society changing instead of being stable as a genre. To a large extent, melodrama are inspired by the real life and reflect the social life and changes. As mentioned in the first answer, art comes from life but goes beyond it. As time goes, not only the society changes, but also people's tastes alter. Melodrama are created to cater for people's interest and aim to gain as higher rating as possible. In order to keep attractive and fresh, melodrama should modify their content as well as the form, technique, and so on. No one wants to keep watching the similar styled melodrama all the time. For example, the film The Birth Of the Nation had been regarded as the groundbreaking piece until the new film Gone With The Wind made another legend. From then on, the technique used in The Birth of a Nation has been replaced or modified gradually. In conclusion, melodrama tend to catch up with the social changing pace, while still keeping its key features.