An elderly woman who files endless complaints with the local office to right the wrongs around her forms an unlikely friendship with a junior civil servant when she begins learning English from him.
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Silent film master D.W. Griffith’s first talkie works as a companion piece to his classic BIRTH OF A NATION, providing a detailed biographical sketch of the 16th president. We see his birth in a log cabin, the tragic death of his first love, Ann Rutledge (Una Merkel), his debates with Douglas, his accepting of the presidency, the terrible toll of the Civil War, and finally the tragic assassination at Ford’s Theater. Griffith shows his usual meticulous attention to period detail, and the framing of the various vignettes has the feel of historical photographs come to life. Walter Huston is excellent in the title role, with a portrayal that subtly evolves from laconic, wizened rascal to noble elder statesman. This is a fascinating, worthy film, and an interesting historical document in and of itself.
The plot involves patriots during the Sung Dynasty and their attempts to rescue a kidnapped prince from Ching troops who have invaded the north of China. The patriots are led by Ti Lung who recruits a mysterious but seemingly superhuman fighter played by David Chiang to find a way to cross a perilous bridge to enter an impregnable fortress to locate and rescue the imprisoned prince. The big confrontation at the end involves trickery on the part of the heroes and the self-sacrifice of one of their number as David, who is not known to the enemy, brings in Ti as his `prisoner’ to turn over to the Chings, as a way of gaining entrance. Then he cuts Ti’s bonds and all hell breaks loose.