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Saturday, October 12, 2013

D.W. Griffith classics Orphans of the Storm (1921), Broken Blossoms (1919), Hearts of the World (1918)



Hearts of the World (1918) is a silent film directed by D. W. Griffith, a wartime propaganda classic that was filmed on location in Britain and near the Western Front, made at the request of the British Government to change the neutral mindset of the American public.



 



Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl is a 1919 silent film directed by D.W. Griffith. It was distributed by United Artists and premiered on May 13, 1919.


It stars Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess and Donald Crisp, and tells the story of young girl, Lucy Burrows, who is abused by her alcoholic prizefighting father, Battling Burrows, and meets Cheng Huan, a kind-hearted Chinese man who falls in love with her. It is based on Thomas Burke's short story "The Chink and the Child" from the 1916 collection Limehouse Nights.

Introduction by Miss Gish.


Orphans of the Storm is a 1921 drama film by D. W. Griffith set in late 18th century France, before and during the French Revolution.

This was the last Griffith film to feature Lillian and Dorothy Gish, and is often considered Griffith's last major commercial success, after box office hits such as Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, and Broken Blossoms.

Like his earlier films, Griffith used historical events to comment on contemporary events, in this case the French Revolution to warn about the rise of Bolshevism. The film is about class conflict and a plea for inter-class understanding and against destructive hatred. At one point, in front of the Committee of Public Safety, a main character pleads, "Yes I am an aristocrat, but a friend of the people."

The film is based on the 1874 French play "Les Deux Orphalines" by Adolphe d'Ennery and Eugène Cormon, which had been adapted for the American stage by N. Hart Jackson and Albert Marshman Palmer as The Two Orphans, premiering at Marshman Palmer's Union Square Theatre (58 E. 14th St.) in New York City in December 1874 with Kate Claxton as Lousie.

It had been filmed in the United States twice before Griffith did his film: in 1911 by Otis Turner and in 1915 by Herbert Brenon (the lost Theda Bara film The Two Orphans). The play had also been filmed twice in France in 1910: by Albert Capellani and by Georges Monca.




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