Broken Blossoms is the shortest of D.W. Griffith’s works to appear in the Must See list, yet it is no less impactful than its brothers. It is a beautiful film, in very many ways that may not seem evident to the naked eye.
This is a serious film, filled with dramatic presence. The title cards are artfully written, if not perhaps a little prudent, and evoke a sense of grandeur that extends beyond the contained frame of the screen. Many may find this an example of showing too little and telling too much, but I found it a happy medium between the two. Here, Griffith uses the art of the visual and the text of the narrative to give impressions to the audience, hoping to inflict us with whatever his aim may be. The film borders on the melodramatic rather often, but rarely skirts past this line. The players of the film all do admirable jobs, especially the lovely Lillian Gish, who is the main tool Griffith uses to inflict emotion onto us. The ending is a whopper, and one of the finest “down” endings in all of early cinema.
This film is a great example of how the right score can elevate a silent film far above and beyond what it otherwise would be. This is a very touching and affecting film that rightfully belongs on the Must See list, and deserves to be seen by all classic movie lovers.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10