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Yen Sin, a humble Chinese, is washed ashore after a storm and finds himself an outsider in the deeply Christian fishing community of Urkey. Yen Sin elects to stay, despite his status as a despised 'heathen', only to reveal hypocrisy amid the self-righteous township. Written by
In a title card, the minister says it's been "over a year" since he learned that Daniel was still alive on the day his daughter was born, yet in the final scene the baby is no bigger than she was at birth. See more »
Pray, or get out! We are all believers in Urkey. We want no hethens.
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Shadows is a very powerful film, yet it draws you into its story slowly, almost seductively. A story of racial prejudice, pride, love, tolerance, betrayal, friendship, and spirituality. Not something you expect from a silent film in 1922, created while others were making silly flapper and sheik movies.
A new Christian pastor (Harrison Ford the First) arrives in a little seafaring town and falls in love with a woman he believes to be a widow (Marguerite de la Motte). They marry, but a shadow is over the marriage in the form of a jealous man pretending to be their friend (John St. Polis). He devises a way to make the pastor believe that his wife's former husband is still alive, and begins blackmailing him. The pastor, now a young father, doesn't want to shame his wife before the townspeople and so he quietly gives in to the demands for money.
Meanwhile a Chinaman, Yen Sin (Lon Chaney), who at first is ostracized by the townspeople, then accepted, begins to catch on to the false friend's secret motivations. A final confrontation leads to Yen Sin's conversion to Christianity, but not before the pastor humbly forgives his false friend. We were shown previously that the pastor had tried to win Yen Sin to faith in Jesus Christ by simply presenting the gospel to him from the Bible, but Yen Sin would not believe. He had not seen anyone's faith in action until the moment the pastor forgives his enemy, as Christ forgave His enemies. Then Yen Sin finally believes; there must be something to this religion after all. It's a very powerful moment.
All the cast members are excellent, and I personally like the direction of this film by Tom Forman, and don't feel it was poorly done just because there weren't that many close ups. I feel there were more than enough to satisfy the audience of that time, and even for our own time. Plus, you needed longer body shots to see body languages of the characters involved, which told a lot about their inner motivations and thoughts. Sometimes close ups reveal too much, too soon.
Also of special note is little Buddy Messinger, a child star of the time, whose friendship with the Chinaman is quite touching.
All in all, an excellent little story of faith and friendship, with well rounded performances. An 8 out of 10.
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