in about 100 words or less
USA 90m, silent (B&W)
Director: D.W. Griffith; Cast: Lilian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp
Broken Blossoms appears to be another film apology for “Birth of a Nation”, unfortunately D.W. Griffith’s decision to adapt a story called “The Chink and the Child” (1915) may not have been his best choice. While it could be argued that his depiction of an interracial “romance” was open-minded, Griffith’s clumsy treatment of the racially motivated subject matter comes as little surprise. In casting the so-called “Yellow Man”, Griffith directs a most spectacularly stereotypical performance by Richard Barthelmess, whose hunched over-shuffling character, complete with half-closed eyes, is as ridiculous as it is offensive. Despite the film’s dark themes of child abuse, racism, murder and suicide, the over-acted performances by much of the cast are unintentionally laughable and undermine the credibility of an already thin plot (Klaus Ming November 2008).