April 18, 2009

35. Broken Blossoms (1919)

I was halfway through watching this when my phone rang and shook me up a bit. Without fully having realized it, I'd been on the verge of tears and feeling most awfully anxious before the interruption. After the phone call I stopped to think it all over. This film made me feel very powerful emotions. It was dramatic and full of injustice and hopelessness, and read like some sad piece of news from a newspaper.
The main characters Lucy & Cheng were two of the very few ones that I've ever felt actual kinship towards. Some of the things they went through in the movie are very close to the events of my own life.

Richard Barthelmess was 24 when he appeared in this film. I was initially put off by the fact that he tried to portray an Asian character (why couldn't they hire a real one ?) which he obviously wasn't born to do, but after the first awkward minutes I stopped thinking about it and concentrated on the character that he portrayed. And he did it quite well, with rare calmess and minimalism.

Donald Crisp (37) as Battling Burrows

Lillian Gish (26) as Lucy. She was purity itself.

I liked this scene. The way his mind was clouded by something he'd been smoking, it's like he was having the most perfect hallucination, only it was for real.

She oozed virginal rays here. He struggled to keep his paws to himself, but I'm quite sure he didn't really want her physically. He worshipped her on another level.

the beast destroyed Cheng's delicate little den


Rating : 9,5/10

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