Within Our Gates (Silent)

Lost all-black classic directed by Oscar Micheaux.
3.6K ratings
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Format:  DVD-R
item number:  ALP 6713D
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DVD Features:

  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 17 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Released: February 14, 2012
  • Originally Released: 1920
  • Label: Alpha Video
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring &
Directed by
Screenwriting by

Entertainment Reviews:


Total Count: 5


User Ratings: 424
The clever intercutting of this climax intentionally unpacks the racist ideology of D.W. Griffith's similarly constructed The Birth of a Nation. Full Review
Time Out Chicago
Jun 27, 2001
Micheaux's narrative manner is as daring as his subject matter, with bold flashbacks and interpolations amplifying the story ... Full Review
New Yorker
Feb 1, 2016
Within Our Gates is full of surprises, following a multitude of characters and plotlines without settling into predictable allegiances. Full Review
Nick's Flick Picks
Feb 4, 2013
Though the narrative structure is somewhat choppy, director Oscar Micheaux otherwise demonstrates mastery of the silent form, using supple compositions and careful editing to amplify the characters' emotions in a manner that makes sound seem superfluous. Full Review
Chicago Reader
Feb 4, 2013
Rating: B -- Micheaux's films are about murder, racial injustice, and lynchings. Full Review
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Mar 28, 2004

Description by OLDIES.com:

Within Our Gates is the earliest surviving feature by legendary pioneering filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. Created as a response to The Birth Of A Nation which depicted southern whites in need of the Ku Klux Klan to protect them from blood thirsty blacks, Micheaux shows the reality of Dixie racism in 1920, where a black man could be lynched for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. His bold feature length productions which asserted an educated black man's point of view and featured black stars and all black casts, continued for three decades and included dramas, comedies, westerns and musicals.

Jilted by her fiance, Sylvia Landry returns down south to her roots, and takes a job teaching at the Piney Woods school for black children. With the school facing bankruptcy, Sylvia journeys north to try to raise funds. After much hardship, she secures the backing of a wealthy philanthropist and returns home in triumph to her beloved school. At the moment of her greatest joy a shadowy figure emerges to blackmail Sylvia. She is forced to either flee, or have her tragic and shameful past revealed.

Product Description:

This film is one of the earliest surviving examples of a film by an African American filmmaker. Sylvia Landry is engaged to a black soldier, but her rival Alma Pritchard arranges for him to catch Sylvia in an innocent but compromising situation. No longer engaged, she moves to the South to work as a teacher in an all-black school. When the school has financial problems, she returns to Boston to raise money for it. There, she is befriended by a white doctor, Dr. Vivian, who falls in love with her. In a flashback, her rival tells the doctor how Sylvia lost her family. Sylvia's father was unjustly accused of murder, and her parents were lynched. Micheaux was not a great artist, but his films are important because they dealt with issues that the mainstream "white" studios ignored. The only surviving print of WITHIN OUR GATES was found in an archive in Spain, and the titles had been rewritten in Spanish. When translated back to English, plot points may have been lost. On the other hand, the last third of the film is a haunting flashback to the death of Sylvia's parents. The scenes of the lynch-mob beating one man to death and hanging Mr. and Mrs. Landry are still powerful today, and the film is highly critical of blacks who betray their race to earn favor with the white dominant society.


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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 21,226
  • UPC: 089218671394
  • Shipping Weight: 0.27/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

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