American Nationhood as Eugenic Romance

American Nationhood as Eugenic Romance t the time of its release in 1919, D. W. Griffith’s fi lm Broken Blossoms was widely praised for its poetic beauty, its aesthetic innovations, and its liberal message of racial tolerance. The New York Times dubbed Broken Blossoms “a masterpiece in moving pictures,” praising its pictures as surpassing “anything hitherto seen on the screen in beauty and dramatic force” (qtd. in Schickel 405). Shot in only eighteen days, at a total cost of seventy thousand dollars, Broken Blossoms went on to notch up seven hundred thousand dollars in profits, making less money than only two other Griffith fi lms, The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Way Down East (1920) (Schickel 405). More importantly, the nearly universal approbation received by Broken Blossoms was seen as marking a sharp break from Griffith’s other major fi lmic treatment of miscegenation, The Birth of a Nation, in which his racist representation of blacks had provoked a storm of protests against the director. d–i–f–f–e–r–e–n–c–e– s : A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 12.1 (2001) d i f f e r e n c e s The riddle of Broken Blossoms is that it followed Birth quite quickly but seems, on the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies Duke University Press

American Nationhood as Eugenic Romance

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Publisher
Duke Univ Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Brown University and differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies
ISSN
1040-7391
eISSN
1527-1986
D.O.I.
10.1215/10407391-12-1-50
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

t the time of its release in 1919, D. W. Griffith’s fi lm Broken Blossoms was widely praised for its poetic beauty, its aesthetic innovations, and its liberal message of racial tolerance. The New York Times dubbed Broken Blossoms “a masterpiece in moving pictures,” praising its pictures as surpassing “anything hitherto seen on the screen in beauty and dramatic force” (qtd. in Schickel 405). Shot in only eighteen days, at a total cost of seventy thousand dollars, Broken Blossoms went on to notch up seven hundred thousand dollars in profits, making less money than only two other Griffith fi lms, The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Way Down East (1920) (Schickel 405). More importantly, the nearly universal approbation received by Broken Blossoms was seen as marking a sharp break from Griffith’s other major fi lmic treatment of miscegenation, The Birth of a Nation, in which his racist representation of blacks had provoked a storm of protests against the director. d–i–f–f–e–r–e–n–c–e– s : A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 12.1 (2001) d i f f e r e n c e s The riddle of Broken Blossoms is that it followed Birth quite quickly but seems, on the

Journal

differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2001

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