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Broken Blossoms

First a fact: The majority of old films were not originally played in black and white, but rather the whites in each frame were treated with a monochrome colour, often a new colour for each scene, and coded so that blue might imply night time, green nature, rose love and so on. However since most of the old films we see are re-developed from an archived negative, not an original print.

I mention this because this print of D.W. Griffith's 1919 "Broken Blossoms" has been colourized much as the original might have been.

In surprising contrast to Birth of a Nation, Cheng Huan leaves his native China because he "dreams to spread the gentle message of Buddha to the Anglo-Saxon lands." His mission is finally realized in his devotion to the “broken blossom” Lucy Burrows, the beautiful but unwanted and abused daughter of a boxer.

After being beaten and discarded one evening by her raging father, Lucy finds sanctuary in Cheng’s home, the beautiful and exotic room above his shop. As Cheng nurses Lucy back to health, the two form a bond as two unwanted outcasts of society.