Sunrise (1927)

Free Great Movies Review

  •  (4 out of 5 stars)

The classic silent film Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans from 1927 entered the public domain on January 1, 2023. Director F.W. Murnau's tale of a country couple having marital troubles stars George O'Brien as The Man and Janet Gaynor as The Wife. The Man has become obsessed with a vacationing Woman From the City played by Margaret Livingston. She encourages him to drown his wife and come live in the city. The film's Expressionist lighting and dark plot in the early going make it feel like a pre-cursor to film noir. But when The Man is faced with the actual deed of killing his wife, he snaps out of his psychotic murderous state and begs forgiveness. The married couple are whisked off by train to the city where she quickly and ludicrously forgives him and they rekindle their marriage. And this is basically the climax of the marriage story at the mid-point of the movie. The rest of the film plays out as a romantic comedy in the city with some very impressive set pieces including a spectacular carnival. And there is an adventurous and stormy ending as they return to their small country town. Sunrise won three Oscars at the 1st Academy Awards including Best Unique and Artistic Picture (an award only given out once), Best Actress for Janet Gaynor, and Best Cinematography by Charles Rosher and Karl Struss. The cinematography award seems the most deserved as Murnau and the cinematographers attained an ethereal fairy tale beauty with their dissolving shots and other visual innovations. For its many memorable shots and camerawork the movie remains an essential silent film to be seen.

(Summary from Wikipedia)

Copyright Info: This movie is in the public domain and is legally available for free on YouTube.

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