Broken Blossoms (1919) by D.W Griffith

Sunday, February 17, 1985, 8:00 pm

D.W Griffith’s Broken Blossoms


800 Chestnut Street

San Francisco, CA, 94133

1919, 102 min. With live piano accompaniment by Roger Jacoby.

Directed by D.W. Griffith, photography by G.W. Bitzer, starring Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess and Donald Crisp. Tinted print from the Museum of Modern Art.

Broken Blossoms is the first genuine tragedy of the movies. Tragedy seems foreordained; the drums of doom are sounding from the first steps of the pageant. So they are for Lucy, the forlorn little thing without a last name, unwelcome child of a Limehouse bruiser.” – Photoplay Magazine, August 1919.

Broken Blossoms is noteworthy for its progressive use of lighting, soft focus and elongated screen time as well as the fine expressive acting of Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess. Although it uses a somewhat stereotyped portrait of a young Chinese poet, it also shows a sensitive and humanistic side to his character in contrast to the brutal drunken violence of Gish’s father.