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Shadows (1922)

Passed | | Drama | 10 November 1922 (USA)
A dying Chinese man converts to Christianity in order to stop a friend from being blackmailed.



(story "Ching-Ching Chinaman"), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Sympathy Gibbs
Daniel Gibbs
Buddy Messinger ...
'Mr. Bad Boy'
Mary Brent
Frances Raymond ...
Emsy Nickerson


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 Kieran Kenney

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Tom Forman Production (original poster) See more »




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 November 1922 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le repentir  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Following the successful telecasts of Othello (1922) and _'The Eagle (1925)_, New York City's WJZ (Channel 7), began a weekly series of Sunday evening silent film feature presentations, shown more or less in their entirety, which aired intermittently for the next twelve months. This feature was initially broadcast Sunday 12 December 1948, and, like the rest of the series, aired simultaneously on sister stations WFIL (Channel 6) (Philadelphia) and freshly launched WAAM (Channel 13) (Baltimore), an innovation at the time; the following week's selection would be Peck's Bad Boy (1921). See more »


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 »


John Malden: I have suffered - but you, Nate - you must have suffered a thousand times more - to do the thing that you did.
Yen Sin,'The Heathen': Mista Minista - you forgive Mista Nate Snow - ?
John Malden: He has confessed - he must be forgiven.
Yen Sin,'The Heathen': If you forgive, then Yen Sin believe.
See more »


Featured in The Slanted Screen (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Christian Conversion Through Example
7 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

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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