Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl [1919]

Director : D.W. Griffith

Writers : Thomas Burke (short story: The Chink and The Girl from the Limehouse Nights book), D.W. Griffith

Cast : Lilian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp

Story : It is a simple story of lovers who can’t be together. Cheng Huan, a chinese immigrant in London went from being a missionary to an opium-addicted storekeeper in the Limehouse district falls in love with Lucy, the abused daughter of the prizefighter Battling Burrows. After a brutal beating from her father Lucy manages to drag herself out of the house but collapses in the shop of Cheng. He, of course, takes her in and cares for her like no one else ever had and thus a fragile, beautiful and tragic love emerges from the ugliness of Limehouse district. But paraphrasing Draco Malfoy wait till her father hears about it.

What I Liked About it:

Lilian Gish, she was  perfect for the role

the last half hour, my eyes were glued to the screen

What I Didn’t Like About It:

the first hour, it’s a bit dragged out and boring, but the rest of the film more than makes up for it

Final Note: 3 out of 4

Interesting Facts:

there is a scene where Lilian locks herself in the bathroom to avoid a beating from her father, this scene was the inspiration for the famous bathroom scene in the Shining [1980]

the tale in part inspired Fellini’s La Strada [1954] with three similar roles

the film can be seen as an apology for the director’s racist masterpiece Birth of a Nation [1915]

Online :

you can watch it via

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