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Sunrise (1927)

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (original title)
Passed | | Drama, Romance | 4 November 1927 (USA)
An allegorical tale about a man fighting the good and evil within him. Both sides are made flesh - one a sophisticated woman he is attracted to and the other his wife.

Director:

F.W. Murnau

Writers:

Carl Mayer (scenario), Hermann Sudermann (from an original theme by) | 2 more credits »
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Won 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George O'Brien ... The Man
Janet Gaynor ... The Wife
Margaret Livingston ... The Woman From the City
Bodil Rosing ... The Maid
J. Farrell MacDonald ... The Photographer (as J. Farrell McDonald)
Ralph Sipperly Ralph Sipperly ... The Barber
Jane Winton ... The Manicure Girl
Arthur Housman ... The Obtrusive Gentleman
Eddie Boland Eddie Boland ... The Obliging Gentleman
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Storyline

In this fable-morality subtitled "A Song of Two Humans", the "evil" temptress is a city woman who bewitches farmer Anses and tries to convince him to murder his neglected wife, Indre. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 November 1927 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sunrise See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$121,107
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Movietone) (musical score and sound effects)| Silent (alternate version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The village where the Man and the Wife live in was a purpose-built set for the film, constructed on the shores of Lake Arrowhead in California by production designer Rochus Gliese. See more »

Goofs

The number of bottles left on the table after the piglet bumps it changes between shots. There are five bottles when the piglet bumps it, but when the Man comes in and grabs the piglet there are seven bottles on it. See more »

Quotes

The Maid: They used to be like children, carefree... always happy and laughing... Now he ruins himself for that woman from the city - Money-lenders strip the farm - and his wife sits alone.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Two major versions of the film exist - the version for the American market, and the version for the Czech market. While obviously the same basic film, the Czech version is about 15 minutes shorter and features alternate angles/takes for much of the movie - this was not uncommon in the days of silent films when marketing them abroad. See more »

Connections

Featured in Marty on Film (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Greatest Of The Silent Films
21 July 2004 | by FlickeringLightSee all my reviews

I am a big fan of the silent era, especially the German expressionist films, and I would have to say that although there are many great silent films-- Metropolis, Pandora's Box, The Wind, etc.-- this film is my favorite. I feel that it is Murnau's greatest film. While it does not have the social implications of his films such as "Nosferatu" or "Faust," the cinematography, acting, and Murnau's unabashed belief in the power of love helps this film to rise above the rest.

The acting is sterling, with a 21-year-old Janet Gaynor looking incredibly similar to Drew Barrymore, and delivering a layered performance that reveals her character's strong but tenuous emotional state. I suspect that George O'Brien wasn't exactly what Murnau wanted for his lead actor, due to the lengths that Murnau went to to extract O'Brien's performance, but credit is due the actor for a performance which was brave at times and never ego-centric.

Murnau's use of symbolism and metaphor are suppressed compared to the standards of his other films. In this film their use is more to augment the story rather than actually being the story under the narrative. One example is the fish nets waving the wind as O'Brien returns home from his tryst with the dark seductress, a terrific metaphor for his entrapment and helplessness.

The story itself is one that can appeal to many audiences, as it has its fair share of melodrama, comedy, sap, and suspense. I saw this film with my 17-year-old nephew, who is your typical disaffected digital generation teenager, and he was awful quiet during the dramatic sequences and awful loud during the comic portions. It is amazing how I my own emotions were manipulated by the film without Murnau ever being manipulative or obvious.

The true star of this film, of course, is the cinematography. It is simply awesome. I have done a lot of work with old film cameras, and I have no clue how Strauss managed some of the shots he did. Murnau was one of the first directors, if not the first, to use camera motion during a film. This was no small feat in the days where the camera was not motorized and had to be hand-cranked. The camera movement is amazing. There is a shot where O'Brien moves through the swamp, with wet, muddy, and uneven ground, to meet the woman from the city, and the camera tracks along with him. It looks like a steadicam shot! No track could have performed this shot as it exists, and I have no explanation on how he did this other than that he must have suspended the camera from the ceiling of the studio. Shooting a swamp scene with fog and a full moon in a studio is a feat in itself. There are also other feats of cinematography. There are several shots where the city is the typical cardboard cutout, there are people milling around in the street, yet the trains and trolleys are obviously models. HOW????? If you are able to get the DVD with the cinematography commentary, it is well worth the investment.

To the king of the silents... 10/10


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