Shadows (1922)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Romantic Drama  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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When it reviewed this simple little drama, the trade paper The Film Daily remarked (rather awkwardly), "Ben Schulberg has never achieved a reputation previously for desiring a place among the artistic producers, but...Shadows is one of the most artistically made pictures." Art was definitely not one of B.P. Schulberg's fortes but every now and again he'd produce something with true creative merit. Lon Chaney's fine performance as the Chinaman Yen Sin certainly enhanced this picture. Yen Sin is washed up onto the shore of a fishing village inhabited by God-fearing white people. He runs a laundry out of a houseboat, but because of his race and religion he suffers a lot of prejudice from the townsfolk. Then John Malden, a young minister (Harrison Ford, also turning in a stunning performance), comes to town and converts Yen Sin to Christianity. Malden wins Sympathy Gibbs (Marguerite De La Motte), a young widow whose cruel husband has been lost at sea. but after they marry he receives a mysterious note that is ostensibly from Sympathy's lost husband. The man blackmails Malden, who loses his church and home. Yen Sin, however, knows that the man who is tormenting Malden is actually deacon Nate Snow (John Sainpolis), who is bitter because he wanted Sympathy. Yen Sin waits until the appropriate moment, then exposes Snow to the whole village. Afterwards the Chinaman cuts the ropes tying his houseboat to the pier and sails off to his death.

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Keywords

blackmail, conversion, cross-cultural-relations, love, priest, religion