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Broken Blossoms (1936)

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A Chinese missionary comes to England. He helps a young girl ill-treated by her father. A remake of D. W. Griffith's "Masterpiece".


John Brahm (as Hans Brahm)


Thomas Burke (adapted from "The Chink and the Child"), Emlyn Williams (adapted from D.W. Griffith's Masterpiece)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dolly Haas ... Lucy
Emlyn Williams ... Chen
Arthur Margetson ... Burrows
C.V. France ... High Priest
Basil Radford ... Mr. Reed
Edith Sharpe Edith Sharpe ... Mrs. Reed
Ernest Jay Ernest Jay ... Alf
Bertha Belmore Bertha Belmore ... Daisy
Gibb McLaughlin ... Evil Eye
Ernest Sefton Ernest Sefton ... Manager
Donald Calthrop ... Old Chinaman
Kathleen Harrison ... Mrs. Lossy
Kenneth Villiers Kenneth Villiers ... Missionary
Dorothy Minto Dorothy Minto ... Woman
Sam Wilkinson Sam Wilkinson ... Guide


The spiritual and peace-loving Chen resides in London's Limehouse district, where he teaches and promotes peaceful Buddhist concepts. He is attracted to the beleaguered Lucy Burrows, whose prizefighter father beats her persistently. When Chen rescues Lucy from one of her father's attacks, the boxer sets out to avenge himself on the foreigner. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Plot Keywords:

remake | based on novel | See All (2) »




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Release Date:

13 January 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Broken Blossoms See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (recorded on) (Visatone Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Edie Martin. See more »


Remake of Broken Blossoms (1919) See more »

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User Reviews

"an effective, if old-fashioned melodrama"
1 October 2019 | by richardchattenSee all my reviews

The above verdict was passed by the not easily impressed Rachel Low, and Julius Hagen's fanciful remake of the Griffith classic - while yet another step in Hagen's headlong plunge into bankruptcy - looks good today precisely because it's so old-fashioned. (David Lean had worked at Twickenham Films during the early thirties, and this film probably influenced his equally stylised Dickens adaptations, particularly the cutaway to a shot of a door banging against a sapling when Battling Burrows takes a whip to Lucy.)

Hagen had originally brought D.W.Griffith himself over to direct the film, but when Griffith proved too drunk for the task Hagen instead assigned Hans Brahm (still using his real name), who cast his soulful-eyed wife Dolly Haas as Lucy; so both leads Haas and Emlyn Williams (also credited with adapting the original) have unlikely accents. (If there's one thing modern audiences sneer at in old British films it's the accents, especially if they belong to familiar British thespians like Donald Calthrop & Gibb McLaughlin - both of whom later worked for Lean - pretending to be Chinese.)

Bernard Vorhaus had hoped to direct it but was passed over and fobbed of with serving as technical advisor, so he not surprisingly badmouthed the film that resulted. Brahms also brought in German exiles Curt Courant & Karol Rathaus to light and score the film. Brahms' later Hollywood version of Patrick Hamilton's 'Hangover Square' was a travesty of the original but rightly regarded as a classic Hollywood melodrama. His version of 'Broken Blossoms' deserves more sympathetic reappraisal.

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