No 'Birth' tonight

The Silent Movie Theatre scuttled plans to screen D.W. Griffith's landmark but racist film The Birth of a Nation tonight because of threats and complaints. The Times website reports:

Charlie Lustman, owner of the Fairfax Avenue theater, announced the cancellation in the morning and said that he had received not only personal threats but also warnings that his theater would be destroyed if he showed the film.

The theater, Lustman said, had been flooded with phone calls and e-mails since a Los Angeles Times story on Saturday detailed his plans to screen the film, which has drawn explosive reactions ever since its 1915 release for its glorification of the Ku Klux Klan and its depiction of blacks as buffoons and villains.

"I apologize to everyone on all sides to those moviegoers who wanted to see this in the right context and to those who were offended," Lustman said.

Also in the LAT.com headlines this afternoon: Fay Wray dies at 96, docs say Brad Penny will only miss one start for the Dodgers, and the poobahs behind the Grand Avenue reinvention downtown chose Related Cos. — the Thom Mayne group — to develop the project.


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