Broken Blossoms (1919) USA
Broken Blossoms Image Cover
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Director:D.W. Griffith
Studio:Kino Video
Producer:D.W. Griffith
Writer:Thomas Burke
Rating:4.5 (33 votes)
Date Added:2010-05-16
Aspect Ratio:1.33:1
Features:Black and White
D.W. Griffith  ...  (Director)
Thomas Burke  ...  (Writer)
Lillian Gish  ...  
Richard Barthelmess  ...  
Donald Crisp  ...  
Arthur Howard  ...  
Edward Peil Sr.  ...  
G.W. Bitzer  ...  Cinematographer
James Smith  ...  Editor
Tags: Buddhism drama

Summary: See also synopsis for Eureka dvd (

D.W. Griffith was many things: movie innovator, maker of grand statements ("The Birth of a Nation" and "Intolerance" being among the biggest of all silent films), the first American superstar director--the Steven Spielberg of his era. Griffith was also very much a conscious artist, a man who did not think of movies as a mere medium for entertainment but as an art form. The mute evidence of this can be found on ample display in Griffith's 1919 drama "Broken Blossoms", a tragic and completely uncommercial project that proved to be hugely popular. The director's most favored leading lady, Lillian Gish, plays an adolescent girl in London's rough Limehouse district; abused by her father (Donald Crisp), a crude boxer, she is cared for by a poetic Chinese man (Richard Barthelmess). Gish, who had doubts about playing a child (and was not yet fully recovered from a brush with the deadly Spanish flu epidemic), delivers a magnificent performance. Justly famous for her hysterical meltdown while trapped in a closet, she also brings off the smaller moments: her hesitation while gazing at a flower she can't possibly afford to buy is a heartbreaking piece of pantomime. Griffith's delicacy of touch extends to matters of race, as he clearly sides with the refined man from China, who must endure the prattle of white men boasting about traveling to the Orient and converting "the heathen." Small in scale compared to Griffith's mightier projects, "Broken Blossoms" is nevertheless one of his most beautiful films, and a landmark of the silent era. "--Robert Horton"