Sunrise by F.W. Murnau |F.W. Murnau, George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston | 24543873273 | Blu-ray | Barnes & Noble
Sunrise

Sunrise

Director: F.W. Murnau

Cast: F.W. Murnau, George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston

     
 

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Considered by many to be the finest silent film ever made by a Hollywood studio, F.W. Murnau's Sunrise represents the art of the wordless cinema at its zenith. Based on the Hermann Sudermann novel A Trip to Tilsit, this "Song of Two Humans" takes place in a colorful farming community, where people from the city regularly take their weekend holidays.

Overview

Considered by many to be the finest silent film ever made by a Hollywood studio, F.W. Murnau's Sunrise represents the art of the wordless cinema at its zenith. Based on the Hermann Sudermann novel A Trip to Tilsit, this "Song of Two Humans" takes place in a colorful farming community, where people from the city regularly take their weekend holidays. Local farmer George O'Brien, happily married to Janet Gaynor, falls under the seductive spell of Margaret Livingston, a temptress from The City. He callously ignores his wife and child and strips his farm of its wealth on behalf of Livingston, but even this fails to satisfy her. One foggy evening, O'Brien meets Livingston at their usual swampland trysting place. She bewitches him with stories about the city -- its jazz, its bright lights, its erotic excitement. Thrilled at the prospect of running off with Livingston, O'Brien stops short: "What about my wife?" Drawing ever closer to her victim, Livingston murmurs "Couldn't she just...drown?" (the subtitle bearing these words then "melts" into nothingness). In his delirium, the husband agrees. The plan is to row Gaynor to the middle of the lake, then capsize the boat. Gaynor will drown, while O'Brien will save himself with some bulrushes that he'd previously hidden in the boat; thus, the murder will look like an accident. The next day, the brooding O'Brien begins slowly rowing his unsuspecting wife across the lake. Halfway to shore, he makes his intentions clear, but is unable to go through with it. As his wife cringes in terror, O'Brien rows to the other side of lake. Once ashore, she runs away from him in terror, as he stumbles after her, trying to apologize. Gaynor boards a streetcar bound for the city, with O'Brien climbing aboard a few seconds afterward. Upon reaching the city (a renowned set design), O'Brien continues trying to make amends to his wife. They sit disconsolately at a table in a restaurant, unable to eat the plate of cake that is set before them. Slowly, Gaynor begins overcoming her fear. The couple wander into a church, where a wedding is taking place. Breaking down in sobs, O'Brien begins repeating the wedding vows, thereby convincing Gaynor that she has nothing to fear. Together again, the couple embraces in the middle of a busy street, oblivious to the honking horns and irate motorists. Anxious to prove to each other that all is well, the husband and wife spend a delightful afternoon having their pictures taken and "dolling up" in a posh barber shop. They cap their unofficial second honeymoon at a joyous festival in an outsized amusement park. More in love with each other than ever before, O'Brien and Gaynor head back across the lake in the dark of night. Suddenly, a storm arises. Pulling out the bulrushes with which he'd planned to save himself, O'Brien straps them onto Janet, telling her to swim to shore. The storm passes. Washing up on shore, the unconscious O'Brien is brought home. But Gaynor is nowhere to be found, and it is assumed that she has died in the storm. Half-insane, O'Brien strikes out at Livingston, the instigator of the murder plan. Just as he is about to throttle the treacherous temptress, he is summoned home; his wife is alive! As Livingston stumbles out of the village, O'Brien and Gaynor cling tightly to one another, watching the sun rise above their now-happy home. Together with Seventh Heaven, Sunrise earned Janet Gaynor the first-ever Best Actress Academy Award, while Charles Rosher and Karl Struss walked home with the industry's first Best Photography Oscar. The film itself was also in the Oscar race, but lost out to the more financially successful Wings.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Appearing at the dawn of the talkies, F.W. Murnau's first American film represented Hollywood silent artistry at its peak. Murnau's graceful moving camera, expressive lighting, and superimpositions lyrically evoke the inner passion, pain, and romanticism driving the love triangle among a simple country couple and a vampish city woman. Though the city sequences play up too many country bumpkin-isms, the amusement park and streetscapes remain a marvel of set design, and the post-synchronized music and effects soundtrack eloquently took the place of speech. A prestige production for Fox Studio crafted by transplanted German personnel, including Murnau, scenarist Carl Mayer, and cinematographers Charles Rosher and Karl Struss, Sunrise was more a succès d'estime than a box-office hit, and it won several of the newly instituted Academy Awards, with new star Janet Gaynor taking Best Actress for Sunrise, Street Angel, and Seventh Heaven, Rosher and Struss winning Cinematography, and the film receiving Best Artistic Quality of Production (a second Best Picture category dropped the following year). Critically revered for its exquisite technique, Sunrise's artistic impact can be seen most notably in Citizen Kane (1941).

Product Details

Release Date:
01/14/2014
UPC:
0024543873273
Original Release:
1927
Rating:
NR
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1A
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
Sales rank:
7,312

Special Features

Closed Caption; Disc 1 Blu-Ray Disc: ; Sunrise in high definition - original fox movietone version and european silent version; Commentary by asc cinematographer John Bailey; Outtakes with John Bailey; Original theatrical trailer; Original scenario by Carl Mayer with annotations by F.W. Murnau; Original Sunrise screenplay ; Restoration notes; ; Disc 2 DVD Video: ; Side A: ; Sunrise in standard definition - original fox movietone version; Side B: ; Sunrise in standard definition - european silent version

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
George O'Brien The Man
Janet Gaynor The Wife
Margaret Livingston The Woman from the City
Bodil Rosing The Maid
John Farrell MacDonald The Photographer
Jane Winton The Manicurist
Arthur Houseman The Obtrusive Gentleman
Eddie Boland The Obliging Gentleman
Gino Corrado Actor
Sally Eilers Actor
Bob Kortman Actor
Gibson Gowland Angry Driver
Sidney Bracey Danchall Manager
Phillips Smalley Head Waiter
Barry Norton Dancer
Edward Arnold Actor

Technical Credits
F.W. Murnau Director
H.H. Caldwell Editor
William Fox Producer
Rochus Gliese Production Designer
Katherine Hilliker Editor
Carl Mayer Screenwriter
Hugo Riesenfeld Score Composer
Charles Rosher Cinematographer
Harold D. Schuster Editor
Karl Struss Cinematographer
Edgar G. Ulmer Art Director

Scene Index

Disc #1, Side A -- Sunrise: Fox Movietone Version
1. Main Titles [2:24]
2. Summertime [1:48]
3. A Woman Of The City [2:03]
4. The Unfaithful Husband [6:40]
5. Come To The City [:53]
6. Doubt And Desire [3:06]
7. A Trip Across The Water [5:39]
8. The Terrible Truth [5:36]
9. To The City [:26]
10. A Broken Heart [4:08]
11. Forgiveness [3:26]
12. The Barber Shop [4:32]
13. The Photographer's Studio [:29]
14. The Carnival [4:51]
15. The Pig's Progress [7:28]
16. The Peasant Dance [5:39]
17. Honeymoon's End [3:11]
18. Home By Moonlight [3:26]
19. The Storm [:30]
20. Lost [2:27]
21. The Search [3:02]
22. A Man Alone [2:43]
23. Safe [4:20]
24. Sunrise [:16]
25. Chapter 25 [2:44]
26. Chapter 26 [4:19]
27. Chapter 27 [2:02]
28. Chapter 28 [4:25]
29. Chapter 29 [1:30]
Disc #1, Side B -- Sunrise: European Silent Version
1. Main Titles [:39]
2. Summertime [1:04]
3. A Woman Of The City [2:02]
4. The Unfaithful Husband [5:40]
5. Come To The City [3:03]
6. Doubt And Desire [:31]
7. A Trip Across The Water [4:36]
8. The Terrible Truth [5:25]
9. To The City [3:04]
10. A Broken Heart [:27]
11. Forgiveness [2:25]
12. The Barber Shop [4:26]
13. The Photographer's Studio [5:17]
14. The Carnival [4:27]
15. The Pig's Progress [4:26]
16. The Peasant Dance [2:15]
17. Honeymoon's End [1:56]
18. Home By Moonlight [1:15]
19. The Storm [2:50]
20. Lost [2:25]
21. The Search [2:02]
22. A Man Alone [3:53]
23. Safe [1:31]
24. Sunrise [1:23]
25. Chapter 25 [4:09]
26. Chapter 26 [1:31]
27. Chapter 27 [4:27]
28. Chapter 28 [1:17]

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