7.6/10
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Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 20 October 1919 (USA)
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.

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(adapted from a story by),
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Cast

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

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

20 October 1919 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broken Blossoms  »

Box Office

Budget:

$88,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(tinted screen)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While filming the closet scene, Lillian Gish's performance of pure terror was so realistic that D.W. Griffith was compelled to shout back at her and urge her further. A passerby heard this going on and, convinced that something terrible was going on, had to be restrained from entering the studio. See more »

Goofs

The intertitles state, "The Buddha says, 'What thou dost not want others to do thee, do thou not to others.'" It was actually not the Buddha but Confucius' teaching. See more »

Quotes

Scrubwoman: [wearily to Lucy] Whatever you do, dearie, don't get married.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood Mavericks (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

A very beautiful ugly film
17 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

The subjects this film deals with are ugly, but the whole thing is done in a beautiful way.

Subjects dealt with are racism, poverty and the reasons why.

The way Griffith deals with these subjects is the contrasts settings. Look at the room above the Chinaman's shop: opulent, festooned with the finest oriental silk. Compare that with the stark squalor of the abode of Lucy and her bruiser of a father. Then there is the education and sophistication of the orientals compared to the simplistic, ill-thought-out racial prejudice of Battling and his cronies.

I also enjoyed the boxing match. Very realistic - not the fantastic nonsense of your Rocky-type bout where a man all but beaten to a jelly suddenly pulls some heavy punches from nowhere and wins the fight.

The acting, as has been mentioned elsewhere, is terrific from all three of the principal characters. Also, their characters are well-drawn. Even Battling Burrows - complete with cauliflower ear - is more than a mere heavy: he boxes for a living, he drinks, he lives in a slum with few worldly possessions. Why?

I find it hard to believe that the films they make nowadays are nowhere near as good as this. Whatever happened to progress?

This film spawned the famous song "Limehouse Blues."


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