Broken Blossoms (film #11 in the Silent section of Movieflix). [Category: Early Film & TV]

This is one of D. W. Griffith's best melodramas. It's the tragic tale of a Chinese shopkeeper who takes in a teenaged girl, played by Lillian Gish, who is the victim of frequent beatings by her brutal boxer father. The shopkeeper gives the girl the first kindnesses she has ever experienced, but it can go on only so long before her father finds out, resulting in a tragic ending. Gish is particularly good as the pathetic Lucy, giving a performance that never quite goes over the top, though other performances do occasionally. Though the tale periodically gets a bit maudlin, the relationship between Lucy and the shopkeeper provides an emotional center for the film that makes it genuinely touching. A 1919 D. W. Griffith film.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

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