Broken Blossoms (1919)

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“Broken Blossoms” is a 1919 silent drama film directed by D.W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, and Donald Crisp. The film tells the story of a young girl named Lucy Burrows (Gish) who is mistreated by her father, a brutish prizefighter named Battling Burrows (Crisp), and finds solace in the kindness of a Chinese man named Cheng Huan (Barthelmess).

Cheng Huan is a Buddhist who has come to London to spread the teachings of his religion. When he meets Lucy, he takes her under his wing and protects her from her abusive father. The two develop a close friendship, which eventually turns into a romantic love affair.

However, their relationship is met with disapproval from both the Chinese and Western communities, and when Lucy’s father discovers their relationship, he becomes enraged and takes drastic action. The film concludes with a tragic and heart-wrenching climax that highlights the consequences of racism and abuse.

“Broken Blossoms” is notable for its portrayal of Asian characters and themes, which was relatively uncommon in American cinema at the time. The film is also celebrated for its powerful performances and its exploration of complex social issues, including domestic violence and racial prejudice.

D.W. Griffith

Thomas Burke, D.W. Griffith

Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp

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