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This strangely beautiful silent film from D.W. Griffith is also one of his more grim efforts; an indictment of child abuse and the violence of western society. An idealistic Asian (Richard Barthelemess) travels to the west in hopes of spreading the Buddha's message of peace to the round-eyed "sons of turmoil and strife." Instead he winds up a disillusioned, opium-smoking shopkeeper in London's squalid Limehouse District. Down the street, a poor waif (Lillian Gish) suffers horrific abuse at the hands of her boxer father (Donald Crisp). When fortune delivers the battered girl into the Asian's tender care, a strange and beautiful love blossoms between them, a love far too fragile to survive their brutal environment. Griffith directed with his unique blend of poetry and realism, and Miss Gish delivers a typically first-rate performance as the girl; the result is a work of art that's both eloquent and crushing. The film was originally presented with color tinting and a musical score composed by Griffith, both of which may vary in different video and film versions.
D.W. Griffith - Legendary film director/producer
Granville Warwick - Legendary film director/producer
David Wark Griffith - Legendary film director/producer
Louis Gottschalk - Composer
Lillian Gish - American actress, BIRTH OF A NATION (1915)
Lillian de Guiche - American actress, BIRTH OF A NATION (1915)
Richard Barthelmess - American Silent Film Actor
Arthur Howard - Actor/Brother Of Leslie
Donald Crisp - Actor/Director
An early silent film (with a music track) which is quite effective in its almost barren simplicity. A poor Chinese man struggles to free the woman he loves. She is an abused girl living in the poor East End district of London and even when the Chinese man hides her by dressing her up in Asian costumes, his desire to help her proves useless in the face of her father's brutality.
Theatrical release: May 13, 1919. BROKEN BLOSSOMS was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1996. Louis F. Gottschalk wrote the original score for the film.
"...It's Griffith at his most lyrical -- and sentimental..." - 11/01/2000 Sight and Sound, p.69