Broken Blossoms


Artcraft (1919) Director: D.W. Griffith
Silent Film
1(=picc).1(=ca).2(I=bcl.II=fl+asax).1 - 2210 -perc(3): timps/BD/SD/2 tam-t/xyl/susp.cym/finger.cyms/mar/cyms/tgl/glsp/tamb/vib/temple bell/t.bells/belltree/boxing bell/wdbl - cimbalom - pno(=cel+harmonium) - harp - strings (
Commissioned by Thames Television
First Performance
1983, London

Full score and parts for hire

Programme Notes
Starring: Lillian Gish, Donald Crisp, Richard Barthelmess Director: D.W. Griffith Production Company: Artcraft USA, 1919 Film Print: colour print which reproduces all original tints and tones available from Photoplay Productions (Film Speed: 16-18 frames per second) Recorded for Video Set in China and then Limehouse in London's East End, Broken Blossoms tells the story of an idealistic young Chinese poet, whose love for the fifteen-year-old daughter of a drunken boxer leads to tragedy in a finale of shocking violence. D.W Griffith's use of stylised sets and soft-focus photography marvellously recreates the atmosphere of the late nineteenth century. A slow, poetic piece with strong moral undertones, Broken Blossoms was described as the first Art' film. It is a perfect vehicle for Gish, who stars in one of her most moving roles. Carl Davis arranged Louis Gottschalk's original and effective 1919 score. He updated it to enhance the exotic atmosphere and drama, when necessary, and extended certain passages to fit Griffith's variations in the cut. Griffith himself composed the touching "White Blossom" theme which recurs throughout the film.

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