Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl 1919

Oh. My. God. So racist. I know it's trying to be the opposite, but the ignorance on display is so astoundingly, shockingly, unbelievably vast that the film becomes a mess of truly stupid melodrama built on a backbone of offensive racism. There is no way I could enjoy this film, even allowing for the fact that it's from a very different time in American history.

2 Comments

  • As hard as it is, you really must look past the racist (though, for the time, rather sensitive) portrayal of the lead and recognize that this was a MASSIVE step forward in terms of the presentation of race on film. It's also beautifully presented, and wonderfully acted (though I can't imagine Richard Barthelmess ever passing for Asian). I find it rather heartbreaking, though I can certainly understand your reservations. It's a product of a much different time.

  • This is 4 star material.
    It's just how they did it THEN. It's not even a racist film in plot content anyway!
    You're problem seems to be in the casting of white actors (done then, and done a long time after..."Short Circuit"?) and perhaps the description of him as 'The Yellow Man'.

    But the plot attacks racism!
    It's a tragedy because of the racism used against their love. How is that a racist film?
    They are the sympathetic ones. The racist bully is not.

    Not only that the performance by Gish is breathtaking! The scene where she is trapped in the cupboard like a frightened animal with nowhere to go blows away ANYTHING any so called Scream Queen has done in a Horror film. It's terrifying to watch.

    A film MADE in the racist way films were then, but not remotely a racist film itself.

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