Chinese silent film tells the story of Miss Lim (Lingyu Ruan), a poor peasant girl who grew up with the rich soon to be King (Yan Jin). The two have been friends since childhood but both of their parents try to keep them apart since the rich can't be seen with the poor. Even after the girl gets pregnant, his parents will stop at nothing to keep them apart and her parents agree since the two sides could never be happy together. Apparently China made over 140 silent films in 1931 but I'm not sure how many are out there for viewing. This film really doesn't offer anything new storywise but from a historical viewpoint there are a lot of interesting things with this film. Since American cinema usually had whites playing Asians, it's refreshing to see real Chinese actors playing the parts. Another interesting aspect is that the film is silent even though most American films at this time had already switched to sound. The technical side of this movie is very beautiful to look at with its nice cinematography and great location shots. Lingyu Ruan is terrific in her role and it's really easy to see why she became the countries number one star. The pleasantness she brings to her character makes her easy to fall in love with and she also makes it very easy for us to care what happens to her character. Sadly, Ruan would kill herself four years after making this film and to make matters worse, a lot of her fans would follow by killing themselves. Original Chinese title: Tao hua qi xue ji.
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