View Full Version : SUNRISE: A Song of Two Humans

12-12-2003, 01:22 PM
William Fox presents a song
You might hear it anywhere, anytime
Sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet

This silent film won an Academy Award in the first ever ceremony(1927). I saw it twice last night at the pacific cinematheque.

It opens with a melange of images depicting vacationists. Murnau chose to show us the "woman from the City" first, Margaret Livingston, a drop-dead gorgeous woman. She is delivered to us by a vampy scene where she lights a cigarette from a candle and runs her fingers thru her jet-black hair (a bob style, so sexy, used to great effect in films like Chicago). She's riveting to look at.

A young beautiful couple (George O'Brien & Janet Gaynor) are struggling. They own a farm, owe money, have a son, and they stand to lose everything if something doesn't change.

Something does, but it's not what you'd expect.

Through twists of fate (and Maggie's whistles), hubby has thoughts of leaving his present situation. This "vamp" has bewitched the tied-down farmer. They meet by moonlight in the bulrushes, where she tempts him:
"Sell your farm...come with me to the city"
He stares at her.
"And my wife....?"
"Couldn't she get drowned?" purrs the vamp.
They plot the murder.

Hubby skulks home, carefully makes his way to bed, dreaming of drowning his wife and life with his new mistress.
I won't say anymore. There's a lot more to tell you, but I won't spoil.

F.W. Murnau. German poet and master filmmaker.
This is indeed one of the best films ever made.

If you want to see it on DVD, you have no choice but to cough up the scratch for the 20th Century Fox box set "Studio Classics" containing How Green Was My Valley & All About Eve. Fox wisely did this, because film freaks like me must own this movie. They won't release it as a single-you must pay more! Greedy bastards, but I understand. I don't mind supporting classic films in this way.

oscar jubis
12-13-2003, 01:00 AM
Thanx Johann! Sunrise is my favorite American film of all time (along with Kane and The Searchers). I saw it at a museum screening a long time ago. I will see it again upon receipt of the box set I just bought from Amazon. The set includes four films with extra features. The three you mentioned plus Gentleman's Agreement which I saw once and don't care to see again. I plan to sell that one to reduce my cost. I found a new box for $34, which includes shipping. Amazon is selling another new, sealed box for just under $35!!

Sunrise will be released in the UK finally next month. I have no information yet regarding quality of transfer, extra features, etc.

12-13-2003, 01:26 PM
Yes, I have to buy the "Fox box". Sunrise is excellence in filmmaking. Murnau was given carte blanche to make what he wanted. This "song" is what he came up with.

What do you mean "released in the UK finally"? Is it a Fox release or some other co.?

I spent the better part of the day yesterday reading film magazines. Film Comment has some excellent articles this issue (Faster Tarantino, Kill Bill!!) Great stuff in that rag. My kind of film mag. I saw an advert for 2 DVD volumes of early Greenaway films in Sight and Sound. Music to my ears. (Nyman music, that is!)

Which brings me to Black Book, a magazine I picked up because it had a photo of Benicio del Toro & Julian Schnabel on the cover. Had to be good, right?
It's a better mag than that! It had "head to head" pieces of writing with several "teams" of people, like Benicio & Julian.

Lars von Trier and PT Anderson sparred off in one of the greatest bits of "journalism" ever.

After the obligatory "I liked Magnolia" and "I liked Breaking the Waves" type-shit, Lars talks about Barry Lyndon, my all-time favorite film. He says to Paul: "It is monumental. I talked to Nicole Kidman about it, and she said Kubrick told her it should have been shorter".

Incredible. If I was on the Trier bandwagon before, I'm totally down with the guy now. I will be buying more Trier DVD's and books as a result. Thank god he's working on projects. Check out BlackBook- a new film magazine that I'll be buying every month now. I was very very impressed with it, oscar. I believe it's from the UK- cost me ten bucks, glossy heavy stock paper, crisp pictures, great rag.

oscar jubis
12-13-2003, 02:57 PM
Sunrise has never been available in PAL format. Europeans will finally be exposed to this "most poetic" of Hollywood films. The company releasing it is called EUREKA. I went ahead and bought the Fox NTSC version. Reviews state the transfer is good, print is reasonably clean. Basically I'm guessing the Eureka disc will not be better than the Fox, which I can share with friends not equipped to watch PAL discs.
Johann, I appreciate your tips and recommendations. Keep 'em coming.

07-21-2004, 09:54 AM
ah sunrise is one of my favourite films ever;
I always think about it to remind myself how beautiful can the world be.