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An unnamed devoted mother sells herself by night on the streets of Shanghai in order to support herself and her infant son. When a gambler who calls himself "the Boss" strong-arms his way into becoming her pimp, she flees with her son and attempts to earn an honest living, but the Boss tracks her down and forces her back into prostitution. When her son reaches school age, she begins hiding away enough money to pay his tuition. Although her son is ostracized by other kids due to her profession, she takes great joy in providing an education and a potential better future for him. When the other parents want the boy expelled, a kindly principal fights to keep him in school. Meanwhile, the Boss finds her hidden cash, adding financial woes to the problems of social injustice. Written by
This film stars the beautiful and tragic actress Ruan Ling Yu as a prostitute in Shanghai, whose life is devoted to having her son excel in life. She is a prostitute so she can make money for him. Along the way, a man rescues her from the police and becomes her pimp, not exactly of her own choosing. The story is her struggle. In a lesser actress this could have been too sentimental and unrealistic. Ruan Ling Yu is amazing in this role. Keeping in mind this is a silent film, her expressions and mannerisms have to be on target and they always are. The concept of a prostitute with a heart of gold has been fairly overdone, but Ruan Ling Yu is so great, it makes the film great. A tragedy that she took her life at 24, it is a loss to anyone who watches films. Just a terrific film.
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