1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant in places, not great elsewhere,
This review is from: Sunrise - Murnau - Masters of Cinema series [DVD] (DVD)
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 watching this with keen anticipation. The first 30 minutes or so were terrific but the film lost it's way when the man and wife went to the city. Many of the images in the first third of this film are memorable with lot's of effects being used and I found the story to be gripping and it certainly held my attention. I could see why so many people rated this so highly as it was atmospheric and beautifully filmed. However, when the action moved on to the city I started to lose interest pretty quickly.
The gradual forgiveness of the wife was reasonably well done but became way too sentimental and unrealistic. Scenes of a drunken pig and several comedic moments seemed out of place to me and I couldn't really warm to the husband. He was a tormented soul for sure but also psychotic as he very nearly drowned his wife, took a knife to ward off a harmless chap who happened to flirt with his wife and very nearly murdered his lover. The action in the city went on for too long and became boring and a bit daft and I was relieved when the action returned to the lake and farm and the movie picked up again towards the end.
I can truly appreciate the long tracking shots, the focus on the actor's reactions and the overall look of the movie but the middle part was a drag and beacause of this I don't consider it a classic. Oh yes, Janet Gaynor's wig was awful and almost distracted from her fine performance. A good film but not a great one, sorry.