Coming to DVD this week from director F.W. Murnau and 20th Century Fox Studio Classics comes the 1927-stunning story of SUNRISE.
This film tells the story of Anses (George O’Brien) a farmer who is struggling with his life. Wife Indre (Janet Gaynor) sees that her husband isn’t happy and is troubled not knowing what to do.
The trouble comes in the form of The Woman From the City (Margaret Livingston) who has used her feminine wiles to capture Anses’ heart. Wanting him all for her own, she suggests a way to rid himself of Indre so they can run off to the city.
What starts out as a world of trouble turns into discovering what it means to love between a husband and wife.
FINAL WORD: First of all, I have to say that I do love silent films but they have to be very good silent films – this one certainly qualifies. Gaynor as Indre is so moving it hurts. The obvious dedication this character has towards her husband Gaynor portrays with what looks like effortlessness. Her pain, frustration, fear and love are crisp and clear without Gaynor ever having to utter a word (or flash a title card for that matter).
O’Brien as the mad-driven husband just blows my mind considering this story idea has been repeated in so many ‘modern’ films. To think this actor was one of the first to portray a man who has fallen so far down he’s willing to murder an innocent is mega-mind blowing. His lust affliction is clear, his weak mind out for all to see (even the town’s people know!) brings him to the boat scene where I found myself yelling at the screen! Are you kidding me? This is a film from 1927 and its 2014 and I’m yelling at the screen? MARVELOUS and well-done Mr. O’Brien.
Livingston as the Woman from the City got what all women like her deserve – although I could have come up with a different ending for her but I’ll be nice. Livingston got my goat so brava madam, well played and well done!
The DVD includes the original Fox Movietone Version and European Silent Version, Commentary by ASC Cinematographer John Bailey, Outtakes with Commentary by John Bailey, Original Theatrical Trailer, Original Scenario by Carl Mayer with annotations by F. W. Murnau, original SUNRISE screenplay and restoration notes.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment represents over 75 years of innovative and award-winning filmmaking bringing film and television programming to DVD, Bluray, Digital copies and HD as well as Video On Demand.
Other cast include: Bodil Rosing as the Maid, J. Farrell MacDonald as the Photographer, Ralph Sipperly as the Barber, and Jane Winton as the Manicure Girl.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give SUNRISE four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. What a magnificent piece of filmmaking that has been gloriously saved! The original negatives were destroyed in a fire in 1937. What has been done to restore this film is brilliant and stunning. The story is relevant, riveting to watch and the music is perfection from scene to scene. There is something to be said for hearing bad dialogue in a film but in this film it is PURE acting at its most glorious. I have absolutely no complains and plenty more to rave about!
Filmed on a vast set created entirely for the film is a true vision for the director. Murnau also hated using the title cards in the film, which is why, throughout the film, they are hardly seen to the very end. I wish I could personally thank him for that!
This film won an Oscar in 1929 for Best Picture (Unique and Artistic Production), Best Actress for Janet Gaylor and Best Cinematography for Charles Rosher and Karl Struss. It also won the 1929 Kinema Junpo Awards for Best Foreign Language Film for F. W. Murnau. In 1989 it was put on the National Film Preservation Board’s Registry.
If you love restored classic films as much as I do then head over to www.facebook.com/FoxStudioClassics to see more of what is coming in the future.
In the end – it is a story of betrayal and redemption
For more information on films and television visit Movie Maven.