Sunrise A Song of Two Humans (1927) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife. Runtime: 94 mins Release Date: 04 Nov 1927
If you only see one film this century... (by benoit-3)
I finally got a hold of the 'Sunrise' DVD, which is only available in English-speaking America for free by buying three titles of the excellent Fox Studio Classics line and sending in proofs of purchase. I urge everyone to get this DVD either by sending your three coupons to the promotion or by dealing with someone in the province of Québec since it appears to be the only place in North America where this contest is void and one can buy it directly off the shelf.I have heard about 'Sunrise' all my life but the closest I ever got to see a part of it was, as a quote, in <more>
Martin Scorsese's 2-DVD made-for-the-BBC lecture with illustrations 'A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies' 1995 . Nobody told me the following:It is a pioneering, overwhelming piece of cinema that still manages to move me ME! after I thought I had seen everything. It is a profoundly human film which made me cry for 15 minutes solid in its first part a reconciliation scene that has to be seen to be believed . This film has more special effects than Terminator 3, all in the service of a thoroughly poetic, bucolic, pastoral, personal, contemplative, idiosyncratic, lyrical, late romantic and expressionist vision of humanity. Its love story, poignant and comic elements have inspired, in no specific order, René Clair 'Le Million' , Jean Vigo 'L'Atalante', 'Zéro de conduite' , Charlie Chaplin all his subsequent films , Fellini 'La Strada', 'Nights of Cabiria' and even James Cameron 'Titanic' .The camera is extremely mobile more so than in most of today's films, except maybe The Matrix and the acting is superb. I finally understand why Janet Gaynor was such a big star and a big deal in her time. Her co-star George O'Brien would be hunk-o-rama of the month at the box office today if he was still around. Margaret Livingston who she? is also quite realistic as a believably enticing city girl vamp of modest means who tries to lure the hero away from his deserving wife.The DVD has more extras than a Criterion issue, including a tentative reconstruction of Murnau's missing American masterpiece 'The Four Devils' a circus love story and the entire shooting scripts of both 'Sunrise' and 'The Four Devils'.'Sunrise' is presented with two soundtracks: the original mono Movietone i.e. optical track anonymous composite soundtrack cobbled together from several sources think Wagner's Siegfried Idyll and a newly written and recorded stereo score with all-original themes, that closely follows the original in spirit but not in melody.Both soundtracks try to add an intimate, poetic dimension to the film, which is subtitled 'A Song of Two Humans'. The music is an integral part of the experience as the film is conceived as a tone poem and, as such my theory is a kind of transcription for the masses of Schoenberg's 1900 string ensemble tone poem 'Verklärte Nacht' Transfigured Night , a late-Romantic/early expressionist attempt to describe musically the 'truly profound and authentic' relationship between a man and a woman who have problems the music follows a poem of the era .Both soundtracks succeed admirably, my preference going to the new one, despite the original's polish, historical value and magnificent preservation. And that would be because, although in the silent era there was no stigma attached to accompanying silent movies with a score made up of public domain and rather recognizable pieces, as long as they fit the mood, times have changed '2001, A Space Odyssey' notwithstanding and this practice is more distracting than anything for a contemporary, moderately educated spectator.Murnau had very highbrow ambitions but his film is totally clear and populist and made to reach the widest popular audience thanks to the incredible sums of money and artistry that Fox poured in the project. 20th Century Fox basically imported a genius from Germany, gave him a ton of money and told him: 'Make us a movie that will be the most prestigious ever made in this town and that will win us the first Oscar'. And that's just what he did!Needless to say, that was a long time before Rupert Murdoch took over the Fox Corporation...
This Murnau work comes from the end of the silent era,and the miracle is that it needs nothing:it has everything.There are hardly a dozen of subtitles for a ninety- minute movie,and that's enough.The rest is the actors'sublime performances and Murnau's flawless directing. George O' Brien and Janet Gaynor do not speak,and however,we can hear them,with all our heart ,with all our soul.Their faces reflect what they endure,suffer and enjoy.Because this is not only a drama.Sometimes it turns to a true comedy.For me the scene in the church climaxes the work:the husband,desperate to <more>
a fault,and his wife ,who saw her sincere love atrociously betrayed ,"get marry" again and the priest's words will drive you to tears.Unlike "Nosferatu",which took place in dark places ,and before "tabu" which would be an hymn to the nature -in every sense of the word,and probably the key to WF Murnau's entire canon"-,"Sunrise" is a diurnal movie,beginning with a meeting with the husband and his mistress at the break of dawn,and ending in the deep of the night,but the very last picture brings back sunrise,which epitomizes a new beginning, a new christening,a redemption.And the man ,crying and begging for pardon,it might be Murnau who thought his homosexuality was a crime -Nosferatu might be a metaphor as well,as the hero who abducts a priestess he's in love with in "tabu" -A true auteur opens up in his movies,if we can read between the lines.Murnau was,along with Fritz Lang,one of the two most influential forces of the expressionism .
An Artistic Masterpiece & Also A Joy To Watch (by Snow Leopard)
This is one of the few movies that fully deserves all the raves that it gets. Some movies are artistic masterpieces more to be admired than enjoyed, leaving the viewer feeling a little distant; other movies can be enjoyable and satisfying to watch, but with obvious artistic defects. "Sunrise" is a nearly perfect movie that is impressive in every detail, and it is also a joy to watch, offering moments of suspense and tension and other moments of humor and humanity.The story provides a very thoughtful look at the importance and the fragile nature of human relationships. Janet Gaynor <more>
is wonderful as the wife - she is always believable, endearing, and completely sympathetic. George O'Brien is also good as the husband, and both of their performances are enhanced by director Murnau's use of their body language. There are also many minor touches in the settings and action that help guide the story and the mood, and it is all complemented by some fine camera work. The first time you watch the film, your attention is fixed on the leading couple, as you hope against hope that things will work out all right for them. Repeated viewings reveal many of the other fine details that make everything work so well.The movie also has plenty of variety and a masterful structure. The first part and the last part are tense and full of suspense, but they sandwich a very enjoyable series of lighter vignettes in the middle, which make a perfect complement both to the story and to the tone of the movie.It is very difficult these days to track down this movie, which is a real shame, and even when you do find it you generally have to make do with a rather fuzzy or defective print. But it is well worth the trouble, and "Sunrise" is highly recommended to any silent film fan or to anyone who can appreciate a movie made the way that movies ought to be made. It is not only one of the great masterpieces of the silent era, but is as good a film as any made since.
I have no words. This is cinema. This is not a story, this is not a plot. This is THE STORY, this is THE PLOT. Murnau can describe the human beings, the men, the women and the fast blind society. The woman of the city seems to be a post-modern nosferatu. She is a vampire, she moves like Dracula, she is like a witch around a tree. This film holds the tragedy and the comedy, the laughing and the crying. "Sunrise" doesn't belong to the past, but It belongs to the story, to the time. Sunrise, yes...the sunrise of the modern cinema waiting for "Citizen Kane".
A Beautiful Love Story and Also Another Great Movie of Murnau (by claudio_carvalho)
A married farmer George O'Brien is seduced by a beautiful city girl, who is spending vacation in the country. She convinces him to kill his wife Janet Gaynor , sinking his boat while going to the city, pretending an accident. When they are in the boat, the farmer gives up the idea, chases his frightened wife until the city and spends the day with her in a 1927 modern and bright city. There, they fall in love for each other again. When rowing back home, strong winds sink the boat in a real accident. In order to avoid a spoiler, no further comments can be written about the plot. This is <more>
the first American movie of the fantastic F. W. Murnau. Along this week, I have watched `Nosferatu', Faust' and `The Last Laugh'. The last one available in my collection is `Tartüff' I do not have `Tabu' . `Sunrise' is a beautiful love story and also a great movie. The technique certainly was very innovative in 1927 and even in 2003 is not totally aged. Janet Gaynor most known from `A Star is Born' was 21 years old and plays the role of the young, fragile and sweet wife and has an outstanding performance she was the first actress to win the Oscar of Best Actress based in her performance in `Seventh Heaven', `Sunrise' and `Street Angel' the unique time an actress won an Oscar for multiple roles . I only regret the terrible quality of the VHS released in Brazil by `Continental Home Video': it is a shame! The copy is completely damaged and deteriorated the viewer can hardly see the landscapes, and this film won the Oscar of cinematography . Therefore you can imagine how much we Brazilian are missing with such a copy. I really would like to know how this film was released in the rest of the world. Was it restored? My vote is nine.
MODERATE SPOILERS Occasionally, you catch a silent film that makes you realise just what a marvellous art form they were, and just how different to talkies. This is one of them.Early on, you might shudder at the tired old set-up -- basically decent man seduced away from Virtuous Wife by Femme Fatale --while still admiring the photography and art direction etc.But once the husband and wife reach the city, and rediscover themselves, it becomes one of the most charming films you could ever see, talking, silent, colour, monochrome, whatever.Janet Gaynor and George O'Brien make an ideal screen <more>
couple, and their adventures together in the town are so funny and touching and tender, you will so want them to work out their differences and stay together.The last section of the film returns to the melodramatic -- almost bathetic tone -- that we tend to stigmatise silent films as wallowing in, but by this time, you identify so strongly with the characters, that you are completely caught up, and prepared to forgive the fact that dramatic tastes were different eighty years ago.And the film looks like one of the most beautifully lit gems the cinema has ever seen from beginning to end.
A lot of film historians will tell you that Gone With the Wind was the first film that has the leading man crying on film. Clark Gable was said to be the first actor to do this.This is not so.In fact, George O'Brien is the first actor to do so. In the famous wedding scene, O'Brien breaks down in tears in front of his wife when he remembers back to the vow he took with his wife.Sunrise is one of the last great silent films that is filled with so many wonderful moments which helped it win the first and only Academy Award for Best Silent Film.
A bittersweet symphony of life and love (by The_Void)
Before the movie starts properly, Sunrise professes that life is sometimes bitter and sometimes sweet, and that is exactly what this film is; a bittersweet symphony of life and love. Flamboyant German director, F.W. Murnau directs this film with a great love and precision, his direction in the movie is flawless. Sunrise features very little story cards, and it almost totally told with just visuals and music. This is a testament to Murnau's talent for storytelling; to portray a story without dialogue is something that all silent films have to do, but to tell a story without many story <more>
cards either is something that many directors would struggle to do. The music in Sunrise is simply sublime; it fits what's going on in the film to a tee, and also succeeds in making the visuals' power more potent. Sunrise is a groundbreaking film, some of the techniques used by Murnau to tell his story are amazing, especially for the time. Techniques such as his use of flashback have had a major impact on cinema as a whole.And the film isn't just a technical marvel either; there is more than enough substance here. The plot isn't massively substantial, but it's the subtext that is important. It follows the story of a man who, tempted by a woman from the city, gets talked into murdering his wife. Him and his wife used to be madly in love, described by their maid as 'being like children', but the love has since stagnated and so the man is easily taken in by an offer from a beautiful to move to the city. However, when it comes to doing the act; he can't do, and so the film moves into following the two falling back into love. Like life itself, the film is never plain sailing and that seems to be it's central message, along with the fact that love is more powerful than anything that life can throw at you. And those are welcome messages in any film, especially one as brilliant as this.Overall, Sunrise is a masterpiece. It easily ranks as one of the best, and most important silent films ever made and it is as brilliantly technically as it is on the substance front. A must see for all fans of cinema.
I was not bowled over by the plot of SUNRISE. It seemed like a pretty simple but watchable morality tale about a man who has an affair and his new lady tries to get the man to murder his wife. And, while Janet Gaynor received the first Best Actress award for her COMBINED work on this and two other films the only time the committee did this , her performance didn't seem out of the ordinary. However, I still recommend the movie because of the director and cinematographer--it simply is one of the most beautifully made silent films I have ever seen. Again and again, the images on the screen <more>
are like works of art. The way the leads are framed, the vivid and realistic storm at sea and the amazing camera angles and movement are well ahead of most silent pictures of the day.By the way, in many ways the plot from later films such as THEY WON'T BELIEVE ME and A PLACE IN THE SUN appear inspired by the plot of this film.