Sunrise (1927)

Rate This Movie

Rating: 5 stars from 9 ratings

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.

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, also known as Sunrise, is a 1927 American silent film directed by German film director F. W. Murnau. The story was adapted by Carl Mayer from the short story "The Excursion to Tilsit", from the collection with the same title by Hermann Sudermann.

Sunrise won an Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Production at the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929 and sixty years later was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the United States Library of Congress for films that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The 10th anniversary update of the American Film Institute's best 100 films in 2007 placed it at No. 82, while the decennial Sight and Sound poll of 2012 for the British Film Institute named it the fifth-best film in the history of motion pictures by critics and 22nd by directors.

Murnau chose the new Fox Movietone sound-on-film system, so it is one of the first films with a synchronized musical score and sound effects soundtrack. It incorporated Charles Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette, which was later used as the theme for the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955�65).

Although the original negative was destroyed in the 1937 Fox vault fire, a new negative was created from a surviving print.

(Summary from Wikipedia)

More Like Sunrise