This is a combination of a personal choice, a logical choice and a “what the hell else” choice.
1911 really doesn’t have too many choices. At this point, the one to two reel films are in full effect, and people have that stuff down pat. They know how to make them. Kind of like how, by 1924/25, people knew how to make silent features. It was down to a science. And they could just churn them out. So really the only choice was picking one of those that’s memorable, which most likely would’ve ended up with another D.W. Griffith choice. And I already said, I want more difficult choices, and I want to mix things up when I can.
Plus, it’s not like this is a strange choice at all. L’Inferno is one of the first feature films ever made. It’s 68 minutes long (and to be a feature, you have to be an hour long. Those are the rules. They wrote them on stone tablets and Walt Disney curb stomped a Jew on them. Or something like that), and is released four years prior to the film most people think about when they think about the “first” feature film. (I’m talking, of course, about Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood.)
This was a blockbuster film for its time. And was the first feature-length film made in Italy, which is kind of a grande deal. (more…)