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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 'The Chink and the Child' by),
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Lucy - The Girl (as Miss Lillian Gish)
... The Yellow Man (as Mr. Richard Barthelmess)
... Battling Burrows
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  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$88,000 (estimated)
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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

This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1996. See more »

Goofs

During the boxing scene, when the two fighters enter the ring; Battling is wearing his robe in one shot, and in the next shot it is off. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: The Yellow Man holds a great dream to take the glorious message of peace to the barbarous Anglo-Saxons, sons of turmoil and strife.
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Connections

Referenced in Out of Africa (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The best of all Griffith films
29 December 2002 | by See all my reviews

Many people believe the best Griffith film is "Intolerance"; some stand by "Way Down East" and still others believe in "Birth of a Nation" despite all its problems. However, I think "Broken Blossoms" is the Griffith film which stands the test of time and still rings true today, over 83 years from its debut.

"Broken Blossoms" is the story of two wounded, abused, seemingly hopeless individuals who find comfort and strength in one another. The Chinaman (played by Richard Barthelmess) and little Lucy Burrows (played by Lillian Gish) are as different as night is to day, however they complement each other and give each other what the other needs; Lucy gives the Chinaman respect as a human being, he in turn gives Lucy affection and love.

What happens to the two souls is, in my opinion, one of the most heartbreaking turn of events ever filmed. The brutal treatment of Lucy by her father and the ultimate sadness of the Chinaman at the end of the film always reduce me to tears.

Those who believe that silent movies are inferior to today's craft really needs to see "Broken Blossoms" and open their hearts and minds to a world that is beyond beauty and beyond pain.


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