Thursday, October 15, 2009

31. SUNRISE (1927)

Running Time: 95 minutes
Directed By: F.W. Murnau
Written By: Hermann Sudermann, Carl Mayer
Main Cast: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston


From the big budget, complex Metropolis to the simple, heartwarming Sunrise, this film proved that it's not always about big, fancy sets and lots of dough, that sometimes, it's just about a good, solid story that tugs at the heartstrings.

The Man (O'Brien) and The Wife (Gaynor) have been married for several years and were once a fun loving, carefree, 100% in love couple. But those days are gone, and when the Woman from the City takes a visit to the country, where the married couple resides, she lures the Man into her web of seduction, convincing him to kill his wife, so that they can go to the city and live happily ever after together.

So the plan is set and the Man is on board, willing and ready to drown his wife, when he lures her onto their boat and schemes, what will look like a boating accident, where the wife will "tragically" die. So everything is set and the Wife is mighty excited to be going out on the boat with the Man, as she looks forward to spending some quality time with him and possibly getting their marriage back on the right track. Of course, she doesn't know what the Man has in store for her.

Out on the lake, as the the Man has rowed out far enough, that he feels safe enough to commit the evil deed without being seen, he rises and comes toward her, but as he looks into her eyes, the love that he once knew for her comes rushing back into his body and the good in him begins to overpower the evil and lustful intentions that were put there by the Woman. He rows back ashore, and the wife, realizing what his intentions were, runs away from him. He chases her, yelling "Don't be afraid of me!".

Back in town the Man follows the wife throughout the city, and the happen to pass a church, where a wedding ceremony is in the process of being performed. They go inside and take a seat and both watch on, as they view another couple madly in love, ready to walk together on the journey of marriage. The man begins to weep uncontrollably and the Wife comforts him, holding his head in her lap and stroking his hair. They cry it out together, leave the church and set out on the happiest day of their life, going to have their picture taken, going to the carnival and dancing the night away. They've taken the form of the newlyweds they viewed in the church, earlier in the day...madly in love, yet again and ready to watch the sun rise yet again on their passion for one another.

This film was surprisingly simple, in a time when the going thing seemed to be the "anything you can do, I can do better" philosophy of movie making. After watching something as grandiose as Metropolis and not caring too much for it, then settling in to something as simple and beautiful as Sunrise, it was nice to finally see a director just make a good picture, with a really good story to it. This movie was breathtakingly beautiful and the camera work was sublime, as it totally went with the story and helped to push it along. Murnau, of whose work I haven't been a fan of thus far in the book, has made me into a fan, and made me realize, with this picture alone, why he is still talked about as one of the greats to this day.

RATING: 10/10 Without question this one gets the full monty of ratings and I look forward to checking this one out again someday down the road.

NEXT UP: The General....Make way for Buster!

October 15, 2009 12:28am


  1. I would definitely consider checking this one out with you the next time you decide to watch it sound great!

  2. I don't know why I've not added a comment on this before now.. a very good one this. I trust yiou get to re-watch fairly soon with Ruth, and that it shows her how good and engaging silent films can be.


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