MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 1,156 this week

Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  20 October 1919 (USA)
7.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 6,569 users  
Reviews: 76 user | 62 critic

A frail waif, abused by her brutal boxer father in London's seedy Limehouse District, is befriended by a sensitive Chinese immigrant with tragic consequences.

Director:

Writers:

(adapted from a story by),
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive

WATCH NOW
ON DISC

Interview: Magic Mike

The Magic Mike XXL guys give some relationship advice to a 74-year-old fan.

Watch Now

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

list image
a list of 27 titles
created 08 Mar 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 01 Jul 2013
 
a list of 32 titles
created 05 Jan 2014
 
a list of 33 titles
created 06 Jan 2014
 
a list of 48 titles
created 5 months ago
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)

Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl.

User Polls

1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Way Down East (1920)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A naive country girl is tricked into a sham marriage by a wealthy womanizer, then must rebuild her life despite the taint of having borne a child out of wedlock.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Mrs. David Landau
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The Civil War divides friends and destroys families, but that's nothing compared to the anarchy in the black-ruled South after the war.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall
Les vampires (1915)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An intrepid reporter and his loyal friend battle a bizarre secret society of criminals known as The Vampires.

Director: Louis Feuillade
Stars: Musidora, Édouard Mathé, Marcel Lévesque
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Susie, a plain young country girl, secretly loves a neighbor boy, William. She believes in him and sacrifices much of her own happiness to promote his own ambitions, all without his ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Wilbur Higby
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Jeannette Peret, daughter of a cigar-store owner, leaves her Greenwich Village home for France in hopes of finding there the love which eludes her at home. She becomes enamored of le Bebe, ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: David Butler, Lillian Gish, Robert Harron
Foolish Wives (1922)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A con artist masquerades a Russian nobility and attempts to seduce the wife of an American diplomat.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Rudolph Christians, Miss DuPont, Maude George
Greed (1924)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Young lovers in a French village are torn apart with the coming of the Great War.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Adolph Lestina
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An aging doorman, after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious Hotel is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbours and society.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Abandoned by her fiancé, an educated negro woman with a shocking past dedicates herself to helping a near bankrupt school for impoverished negro youths.

Director: Oscar Micheaux
Stars: Evelyn Preer, Flo Clements, James D. Ruffin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

One of the first feminist movies, The Smiling Madame Beudet is the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband is used to playing a stupid practical joke in ... See full summary »

Director: Germaine Dulac
Stars: Germaine Dermoz, Alexandre Arquillière, Jean d'Yd
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

An idealistic young American during World War I, itching to fight the Germans and not wanting to wait until the U. S. joined the war, journeys to Canada and enlists in the British army. He ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: George Fawcett, Lillian Gish, Robert Harron
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Lucy - The Girl (as Miss Lillian Gish)
...
The Yellow Man (as Mr. Richard Barthelmess)
...
Arthur Howard ...
His Manager
Edward Peil Sr. ...
Evil Eye (as Edward Peil)
George Beranger ...
The Spying One
Norman Selby ...
A Prizefighter
Edit

Storyline

Cheng Huan is a missionary whose goal is to bring the teachings of peace by Buddha to the civilized Anglo-Saxons. Upon landing in England, he is quickly disillusioned by the intolerance and apathy of the country. He becomes a storekeeper of a small shop. Out his window, he sees the young Lucy Burrows. She is regularly beaten by her prizefighter father, underfed and wears ragged clothes. Even in this deplorable condition, Cheng can see that she is a priceless beauty and he falls in love with her from afar. On the day that she passes out in front of his store, he takes her in and cares for her. With nothing but love in his heart, he dresses her in silks and provides food for her. Still weak, she stays in his shop that night and all that Cheng does is watch over her. The peace and happiness that he sees last only until Battling Burrows finds out that his daughter is with a foreigner. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Release Date:

20 October 1919 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broken Blossoms  »

Box Office

Budget:

$88,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(tinted screen)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Cheng Huan is so saintly because D.W. Griffith knew there was a lot of Sinophobia in the US, and audiences would have trouble accepting a Chinese hero. In the original short story, Cheng Huan is just a guy who joined the Chinese merchant marines when he got into debt, grew tired of shipboard life and ended up in Limehouse, a multi-cultural port district in the poor section of London. He was never a Buddhist missionary or a pacifist, and fell just short of being a statutory rapist (albeit, he really loved Lucy); another part of rehabilitating his character was to change Lucy's age from 12 to 16. The audience is not supposed to think they had a sexual relationship, but if people played that out in their heads, it wasn't illegal (unless it was under US miscegenation laws, but Griffith kept the London setting). Anyway, it wasn't child-rape. In the original story, the only way in Cheng Huan he is morally superior to anyone else is his ahead-of-its-time compassion for Lucy. Griffith's personal copy of "Limehouse Nights", the book with the short story "The Chink and the Child"--on which this film is based--with all his screen writing marginal notes, still exists, in a rare book collection at the Lilly Library on the campus of Indiana University, along with a manuscript copy of the story by the author, with comments by Griffith and Lillian Gish. See more »

Goofs

During the boxing scene, when the two fighters enter the ring; Battling is wearing his robe in one shot, and in the next shot it is off. See more »

Quotes

Lucy Burrows: Don't do it, Daddy! You'll hit me once too often, and then they'll hang yer.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Yet Another Griffith/Gish Masterpiece
31 March 2005 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

Like the BROKEN BLOSSOMS of a trampled rose, the pure affection between two unutterably lonely people is destroyed by evil & hatred.

Turning his back temporarily on the Silent epics of his past, movie master David Wark Griffith turned the laser beam of his talent on the tragic story of three pathetic individuals living in the slums of London's Limehouse: a fragile waif, her vicious father, and the gentle Chinese shopkeeper living nearby. No huge casts rampaging through innumerable subplots, no tremendous production values spent to illustrate the sweep & flow of a historical period. Just three people living increasingly desperate lives, brought together by a tidal wave of pure emotion.

Lillian Gish was right thinking she was too old to play the young girl, and she did so only at Griffith's insistence, but it is impossible to contemplate anyone else in the role. She is utterly luminous as the abused child who finds a few moments of glorious affection with the young foreigner from the East. Miss Gish's magically expressive face creates a classic cinema moment when she attempts to smile to save herself from a beating, pushing up the corners of her mouth with two fingers, while her tormented eyes reveal to the viewer her deep pain and fear. Later, in her celebrated closet scene, like a trapped animal she releases an explosion of frenzy which is still difficult to watch, as her attacker uses a hatchet to smash the barrier between them. Miss Lillian had started rehearsals while weakened from the Spanish Flu; she created a movie portrait which caught her genius forever.

Matching her in almost every particular is her costar Richard Barthelmess, who gives a most sensitive portrayal as the Chinese missionary who comes to England to proselytize for Buddha, but instead finds himself alone & friendless in the squalor of the great city. Barthelmess uses his eyes almost exclusively to express what's in his heart, bringing enormous dignity & repose to his role. It is too easy today to criticize a performer for playing an ethnic role, but once, to be able to do so convincingly, was considered the hallmark of a capable actor. Barthelmess does so with both conviction & distinction, bringing the film to a heartbreaking conclusion.

Rounding out the threesome is Englishman Donald Crisp. Although in reality the most gentle and affable of men, he nonetheless made a career during the Silent Era of playing violent brutes, never more despicable than here. His character glories in the terrors he inflicts on Miss Lillian, the viewer loathes him, and his eventual fate is most welcome & well deserved.

The film almost didn't get released. Paramount Pictures boss Adolph Zukor hated it; he thought it too morbid. Griffith raised the operating costs of $91,000 and purchased the film, releasing it through United Artists. Receptive audiences helped it make millions. As Miss Lillian said decades later, "Griffith put tragic poetry on the screen for the first time."


31 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Is this the best silent movie ever? Chaves7777
A very beautiful -and sad- story FranLovesBetteD
SIMPSONS REFERENCE!!!! apologist8
Evil Eye: The Worst Villian ever nicecity
The first silent film I have ever watched! leedunlop82
Runtime? stephen-morton

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?