Broken Blossoms

A Tale of Forbidden Love

Drama Romance
89 min     6.874     1919     USA


The love story of an abused English girl and a Chinese Buddhist in a time when London was a brutal and harsh place to live.


CinemaSerf wrote:
Richard Barthelmess and an almost porcelain-looking Lilian Gish are both great in this intimate, beautifully photographed, tale of a true love. Gish is a young girl from London's East end who is persistently brutalised by her violent pugilist father. Barthelmess is a man newly arrived from China bent on encouraging the British to seek the peaceful ways of the Buddha. From his small emporium, he espies this young girl and after one particularly horrific attack by her father, takes her in and nourishes her back to health. Sadly, bigotry and intolerance are still pretty rife and when her father discovers where she has taken refuge, tragedy ensues... It's a simple story, very well executed by D.W. Griffith with a delightful style to it. An early outing for Donald Crisp as her bruiser father is a little hammy at times, he flexes his muscles and his grimace a little too theatrically - but the story is tightly told with empathy for the girl, sympathy for the boy and a gently bubbling hatred for the father for whom just desserts can only be a matter of time.