1919 / 89m - USA
Broken Blossoms poster


December 05, 2021


Also known as The Yellow Man and The Girl, which is a more descriptive title. Except that the "yellow man" is a white man really, who doesn't look the slightest bit Asian. The drama has about the same level of subtlety. It's a more general problem with silents I think, but even then I've seen better examples than this one.

Lucy is a young girl who lives with her abusive father, a prize boxer who doesn't mind a drink. Cheng Huan is a Buddhist monk who travels the world, hoping to spread the teachings of Buddha. When he arrives in London Huan quickly becomes discouraged, but he finds meaning again when he runs into Lucy, sheltering her from her father.

I found it really hard to get a feel for the characters when simplistic intertitles take ages to explain a basic story that can be derived pretty easily from the extremely expressive acting. It's definitely not the way I love my dramas. It's also pretty disappointing to see Barthelmess' half-arsed attempt at playing an Asian character. Not good.