Forbidden City (1918)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Run Time - 72 min.  |  
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In cinema's first few decades it was common for Caucasians to play Asian roles, and here Norma Talmadge is San San, the daughter of a Chinese mandarin (in fact, no Asians hold any major roles in this film). San San is in love with John Worden (Thomas Meighan), the secretary of the U.S. consulate, and they secretly marry. But while Worden is away, her status-seeking father gives her to the emperor (L. Rogers Lytton). But when the emperor finds out she has a child, he has her killed. The little girl, Toy (played as an adult by Talmadge), grows up and escapes from China to be a Red Cross nurse in Manila. There she meets Lieutenant Philip Halbert (Reed Hamilton) and they fall in love. However, Halbert's boss is Worden and he forbids them to marry. After sending Halbert away on a mission, Worden falls ill and is nursed back to health by Toy. He discovers that Toy is his own daughter and, remembering his own tragic young romance, changes his mind and gives his blessing to the couple.

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Keywords

diplomat, love, pregnancy, tragic-love