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Archive for March 28th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(USA 1927 97m) DVD1/2

A Song of Two Humans

William Fox  d  Friedrich W.Murnau  w  Carl Mayer  novel  “A Trip to Tilsit” by Hermann Sudermann  ph  Charles Rosher, Karl Struss  ed  H.H.Caldwell, Katherine Hilliker, Harold Schuster  m  Hugo Riesenfeld  art  Rochus Gliese 

George O’Brien (the man), Janet Gaynor (the wife), Margaret Livingston (other woman), J.Farrell MacDonald (the photographer), Bodil Rosing (the maid), Ralph Sipperly, Jane Winton, Arthur Housman, Eddie Boland,

So goes the subtitle to Murnau’s masterpiece, and no film before or since has come close to matching its tune.  If one silent had to be preserved above all others, with the greatest respect to La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, Napoleon, The Wedding March, Nosferatu and all the other great classics of this lost art form, without Sunrise one would feel that the cinema itself had died.  In Interview With the Vampire Brad Pitt’s Louis mourns the loss of sunrises, but witnesses Murnau’s and even he, a soulless killer, can feel the emotion on the screen. 

            The story follows a young farmer entangled with a vampish woman from the city, who tries to tempt him from his wife by selling his farm – which he has already let loan sharks strip bare to finance his affair  – and getting him to kill his once beloved spouse to run off to the city with her.  However, when push (excuse the pun) comes to shove, and he takes his wife out on the boat, he cannot kill her, though she realises his intentions and runs away.  He then realises his folly and spends the day trying to win her love back. (more…)

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