Broken Blossoms

Broken Blossoms is a modern-day fairy tale set in London's Limehouse district, the story of a street waif (Lillian Gish) who finds temporary shelter from her sadistic father in the chaste love of an idealistic young Chinese immigrant (Richard Barthelmess). More than D. W. Griffith's brokenhearted farewell to the flower of femininity (as personified by Gish), this is a pathetic lament for the death of any kind of gentleness in a changing, sordid world. As portrayed by the affecting Barthelmess, the young immigrant is nearly as feminine as Gish herself, and as brutalized by the Western environment that drives him to violence. Many critics consider Broken Blossoms to be the most perfect realization of Griffith's art. It is a drama made up of intimate observations, rigorously linked through rhythmic editing into an elegantly structured narrative.

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