Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)

Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919)

Director: D.W. Griffith (Oct 20 1919) Writers: Thomas Burke (adapted from a story by) D.W. Griffith (writer) The film's premiere engagement included a live prologue featuring a dance routine performed by actress Carol Dempster. During Dempster's dance the stage was illuminated by blue and gold footlights. Later, during the screening of the film, a stagehand accidentally switched on those footlights and the movie screen tinted the film in an unusual way. D.W. Griffith, standing in the rear of the auditorium, was so surprised and delighted at the blue and gold-tinted effect that he ordered all copies of the film to be tinted in those colors during certain key sequences. This movie was originally made for Adolph Zukor at Paramount Pictures. D.W. Griffith bought it from him in order to release it through his new company, United Artists. "Broken Blossoms opened in New York on May 13, 1919. Although Mr.Griffith had started production of it in the winter of 1918, his refusal to look at it for so long had delayed its release. The audience was deeply moved. The reviews exceeded in praise any picture I was ever in. One New York paper reported, "One can think only of the classics, and of the masterly paintings remembered through the ages; so exquisite, so beautifully and fragrantly poetic is Broken Blossoms". Another said that this film ought to be the Bible in the hand of every director making films in the future. The New York Call wrote: "He has far exceeded the power of the written word. It would be impossible for the greatest master of language to picture the emotions as Griffith has perpetuated them". No picture up to that time had received such world wide critical praise. Edward Wagenknecht, Professor of English at Boston University, wrote: "But so far as the players are concerned, Broken Blossoms is Lillian's first film of all, and the deep sincerity of her terror and passion seem all the more moving and remarkable for always being conceived and projected as the terror and passion of a child."" (Lillian Gish - The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me)


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