Broken Blossoms (1919)
aka The Yellow Man and the Girl
Drama / Romance / Silent
Directed by D.W. Griffith
Lillian Gish as Lucy
Richard Barthelmess as The Yellow Man
Donald Crisp as Battling Burrows
Arthur Howard as His Manager
Edward Peil Sr. as Evil Eye
George Beranger as The Spying One
Norman Selby as A Prizefighter
This strangely beautiful silent film from D. W. Griffith is also one of his more grim efforts; an indictment of child abuse and the violence of western society.
An idealistic Asian travels to the west in hopes of spreading the Buddha’s message of peace to the round-eyed ‘sons of turmoil and strife’. Instead he winds up a disillusioned, opium-smoking shopkeeper in London’s squalid Limehouse District. Down the street, a poor waif suffers horrific abuse at the hands of her boxer father. When fortune delivers the battered girl into the Asian’s tender care, a strange and beautiful love blossoms between them, a love far too fragile to survive their brutal environment.
Griffith directed with his unique blend of poetry and realism, and Miss Gish delivers a typically first-rate performance as the girl. The result is a work of art that’s both eloquent and crushing.
Directors: D.W. Griffith
Actors: Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp, Lillian Gish