Monday, July 6, 2015

Broken Blossoms (1919)

Happy belated Birthday America!

I didn't expect to start the month of July feeling feels, but today's film is Broken Blossoms (or the Yellow Man and the Girl).  I wondered, why is he yellow? Is he wearing a raincoat?  Then, I finally realized, oh he's Asian.  I never would have guessed that, but then I don't live in 1919 America.

The best part was just witnessing how people dressed and looked back then, almost 100 years ago. I love their makeup.

The yellow man, who isn't named (but later his shop says Cheng Hueng which might be his name) lives in China.  He wants to bring Buddha's message of peace and tolerance to the British people, who seem to fight and conquer everything.

After moving to a bad neighborhood in London, reality sets in and he all but gives up his missionary dreams and just tends to his shop.  Meanwhile, there is a boxer that regularly beats up his daughter.  The yellow man decides to help her out.  The boxer is none too pleased that a Chinese man is going after his daughter, so he beats her to death.  The yellow man arrives too late to save her, but shoots the boxer anyway.  Feeling depressed, he stabs himself.  This is tragedy of Shakespeare proportions.

It's surprising that a film featuring an Asian hero would be directed by the same guy who made the KKK is Awesome film a few years back.  Wasn't expecting that.  By the way, the yellow man is actually played by a white guy.  There's like 20 billion people in China, they couldn't find a Chinese actor to play him?  I'll give this film a 6/10.


  1. This is a really funny review, Lindsey! You cooked it down to the absolute essentials, spot on.
    I actually liked this movie or at least liked it better that the other Griffith movies, which actually does not say very much. The yellow face is pretty stupid, but is also the only thing that does not work for me here.