February 14, 2015
Movie Night: Broken Blossoms.
Review #695: Broken Blossoms.
Lillian Gish (Lucy Burrows), Richard Barthelmess (Cheng Huan), Donald Crisp (Battling Burrows), Arthur Howard (Burrows' Manager), and Edward Peil Sr. (Evil Eye) Directed by D. W. Griffith.
I admit to not having covered the 1910's much on this show, as this is only the 4th film from that decade (the others being Mickey, Back to God's Country, and The Poor Little Rich Girl) featured on this show, let us just push that fact aside for now for a movie unlike the other films. This is a movie that manages to evoke sadness over the small rays of hope while never betraying its purpose of tragedy. Gish is instantly likable for the audience, from the sad expressions in her eyes to her forcing a small smile, she makes the movie have an unsettling mood. Barthelmess and Gish are wonderful in the scenes they share with each other. Maybe it's the way they look at each other, or how innocent it all seems, which is a blessing by contrast to the rest of the film's tone. Speaking of that, Crisp is brutally effective at making the movie nearly uncomfortable to watch, with his expressions of anger, which all boils down to the surface with the closet scene near the end. Gish's fearful expressions and Crisp's anger combined with filming in a small set make for a climax that delivers. Yes, it's a sad movie. But this a sad movie that manages to be well made along with having some really effective acting. Because after all, if we just watch happy movies all our lives, we'll never know what to do when we encounter a sad moment in our lives.
Overall, I give it 10 out 10 stars.