Sunrise - Murnau - Masters of Cinema series [DVD]
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German Expressionist, F.W. Murnau's film won Academy Awards for Best Actress and Best Cinematography and remains a critically acclaimed piece of silent cinema. George O'Brien plays the young farmer who falls for The Woman From the City (Margaret Livingstone) and agrees to murder his Wife (Janet Gaynor) by drowning her. He is unable to fulfil his plan though, and is reconciled with his Wife. Together they embark on a celebratory adventure in the city (one of the most celebrated montage sequences ever filmed), but on their way home The Wife is lost overboard in a storm and believed drowned. The Woman from the City arrives to claim The Man, believing he has committed murder for her; but word arrives that his Wife has been saved and he rushes to her side.
In 1928 Sunrise won Oscars for Janet Gaynor as Best Actress and cinematography as a "Unique and Artistic Picture". In 1967 it was declared "the single greatest masterwork in the history of cinema" by key French new wave magazine Cahiers du Cinema. Released with a synchronised score and effects soundtrack but no dialogue, it is a cinematic landmark from the transition period between silent cinema and the talkies. Beginning as a prototype film noir in which a farmer (George O' Brien) plans the murder of his wife (Gaynor) with his vacationing lover from the city (Margaret Livingstone), the film develops from tense thriller into a story of reawakened love and redemption.
Anticipating Orson Welles's artistic freedom on Citizen Kane (1941), German expressionist director FW Murnau was given carte blanche following the huge American success of The Last Laugh (1924). The result was this poetic fable making inventive use of every technical device then available, including in-camera multiple exposures and superimpositions, long elegant tracking shots, forced perspectives, complex miniatures and synchronised sound, as well as the largest single-street-scene set ever built. The result is a film that influenced everything from Hitchcock suspense to Titanic (1997) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Murnau summons powerful performances from his principal players--Gaynor would later headline A Star Is Born (1937) and O'Brien would take important roles in several classic John Ford westerns--while the transcendent finale evokes and reworks the ending of the director's earlier classic, Nosferatu (1922). Though now inevitably dated Sunrise remains essential for anyone seriously interested in the development of cinematic art.
On the DVD:Sunrise is presented on an immaculately produced two-disc special edition. Though restored to full length and presented in the original 1.2:1 ratio with the complete music and effects soundtrack, the film has been taken from a print made in 1936, the original camera negative having been destroyed in a fire. As a result this is the best possible modern presentation of Sunrise, though the print, while perfectly acceptable, is very grainy, lined and flickery by contemporary standards. The mono sound has been superbly restored and is remarkably effective for its vintage; an alternative stereo musical track recorded for recent reissue sounds excellent. The film also boasts a commentary by John Bailey: apart from talking a little too much about how beautiful the lighting is, Bailey offers seriously in-depth knowledge about the film and about Murnau that really puts everything into historical context and explains the constant technical ingenuity.
The second disc presents the useful A Song of Two Humans, a 12-minute visual essay by film historian R Dixon Smith, and almost 10 minutes of outtakes with optional commentary by John Bailey, as well as a trailer, stills gallery and notes explaining the nature of the restoration. There is also an excellent 40-minute documentary Murnau's 4 Devils: Traces of a Lost Film, telling the story of the director's lost follow up to Sunrise. Microsoft Word and PDF files available via DVD-ROM present various incarnations of the screenplays for both Sunrise and 4 Devils. --Gary S. Dalkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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* Documentary by Film Historian R.Dixon Smith
* Original English intertitle cards
* A commentary track by ASC Cinematographer John Bailey
* Outtakes with optional commentary
* The original scenario by Carl Mayer with Murnau's handwritten annotations
* The original Sunrise screenplay
* 4 Devils reconstruction, treatment and screenplay
* Stills Gallery
* Original theatrical trailer
* Restoration Notes
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Movietone score/effects track, plus optional Dolby 2.0 Stereo alternative score.
"Sunrise" found its place in the history of silent movies next to classics like "Metropolis", "Nosferatu", "Der Golem" or "Faust". What is the story about? A young quite naive man falls in love with a cold-blooded woman who persuades him to drown his wife in order to be with her. But then something goes wrong...
This movie was the first to be awarded with three Academy Awards at the very first ceremony in 1927 and there is no question why!!! But every movie-buff should make his own opinion about this very intelligent psychological thriller that is - even yet - a shining example of how a movie should be!!!
when a laserdisc was produced. Now it will be even better on the
dvd format. A beautiful story subtitled "A Song of Two Humans".
Janet Gaynor won the first best actress Academy Award and 75 years
later her performance is still marvelous. The film also won
"Most Artistic Film" a category dropped after the first ceremony.
One is mesmerized with Murnau's work which was ahead of its time.
The irony of the ending is not to be forgotten. This should be
one of the best if not the best dvd reissue of 2004 and I am
greatful to Eureka for doing it. I can't wait.
So I bought this dvd, and it really surprised me. The cinematography is great! For example a really long dolly shot of the man walking to the lake. And the 'special effects' they use, like the double exposures... Fantastic!
Then we get to the story. The beginning is absolutely fabulous. A real psychological thriller. In the second part, they lost 10 % of my attention, the thrill was gone. But the climax is real nice.
And what about the extra's? Well. This is how every dvd ought to be. It's really full of it. Choose between the original soundtrack, or a later one (I prefer the original) and commentary (sorry, didn't hear the commentary yet, I will next week). I was really blown away by the documentary about '4 Devils'. With sketches and production photographs they tell you the story of the presumed lost film '4 devils' of Murnau. This takes 40 min. Two films for the price of one. The documentary of Dixon Smith is really nice, the outtakes really worth watching,...
If you like silents, this is a must!
If you want to try a silent, try this!
If you've never seen a silent,...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I saw this film at a course on 'films of faith and doubt'. It is a film about trust and a truly lovely film. Read morePublished on 30 Jan. 2014 by Andrea L Rogers
This was a DVD I bought purely based on the reputation of this movie. Listed in many silent movie web sites as one of the greatest silent films ever produced, I looked forward to... Read morePublished on 14 Jan. 2014 by Mr. A. Whiteside
"Sunrise" is one of the great films of cinema history. Directed by the world famous German director F.W. Read morePublished on 11 Sept. 2010 by Basileus
Silent era... The film was made in the late 1920s in Germany.
This tells the story of a young married couple who lives in the Country as farmers. Read more
Oscar winner in its 1929 for 'Best Unique & Artistic' production, regularly voted amongst the most influential films of all time by panels of critics, 'Sunrise' was actually made... Read morePublished on 26 Mar. 2009 by omnigadrum