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Sunrise 1927

a.k.a. "Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans"

A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife...

Your rating: 0

Solar rating: 8.1


Imdb rating: 8.4



Comments pending.
I am rather in an unphased state this morning due to the events of last night (which shall not be disclosed). My cousin was visiting for the weekend; we had a good time. This morning was the time when she unfortunately had to depart. After dropping her off at the train, I walked towards the exit as I fumbled with my iPod. I finally untangled all the earphone wires to discover that the iPod had run out of its goodness known as "battery power". I had expected to alienate myself on the subway (which is rather easy to do, despite it being such a public location) with the aid of my iPod. However, it looked as if I would have to non-chalantly isolate myself without help -- this would be somewhat difficult.

I approached to the token booth. Just one, please. I slipped my twenty dollar bill under the slot and anticipated the arrival of a small, shiny copper equivalent of $1.25. I received my change, glanced through it to make sure it was correct, and headed through the turnstile. I think I only have $17.75 in my hand. Perhaps I just cannot see the other dollar. Wait, twenty dollars minus one twenty-five equal eighteen seventy-five, right?

I must have self-consciously questioned myself and my math skills at least ten times. It was not until I stepped onto the subway car that I was sure I had been cunningly deprived of my deserved dollar (I'm sure my grandparents worked very hard for the twenty dollar bill they gave to me). By the time I took a seat, my apathy had consumed me and the robbery consequently eluded me. I have tons of work I have not even thought about the whole weekend. I need to finish my short story. Everyone in the train is looking at me in a strange way. They must be judging me, because, of course, that is the favorite pastime of most frequent subway riders. Who did they think I was? I didn't care.

I stared out through the plexi-glass to my right, through the minor grime which has become part of the translucent (previously transparent) window. I must augment and concrete my short story -- I need an anecdote filled with antique imagery. Perhaps a trip to the woods and the discovery of a nearly dilapidated house would be a nice touch. Is that insipid, though?

"Yeah, that seems a bit cheap".

Did I just open my mouth and vocally pronounce each of those words? I glanced around -- I encountered a few awkward visages. Oh no. I was the crazy individual on the train. The dubious character who is obviously spaced out and talking to himself out loud. Instead of feeling empathy for all the crackheads I usually observe, I just felt strangely embarrased. My stop was next -- wonderful.

The subway is a great place for the creative process and a terrible place to realize that you are a moron.
A la menci
Sunrise: A song of two humans (Murnau, 1927) U. S. A.

First off, there is no denying that Sunrise: A song of two humans is a monumental cinematic achievement. The storyline was simple, yet poetic and universal. The film was full of technical wonderment (the lighting effects, the dolly shots, in-camera splits, etc.) and beautiful imagery (the dissolves, the city life, etc.). One of my favourite shots in the film (there were many) was the one where the camera tracked the Man walking in the moon light to meet the City Woman. What was extraordinary about the shot (beside its being beautiful to look at) was the way in which the viewer started out following the Man from behind and ended up crossing his path, settling in the bush to voyeuristically watch the scandalous meeting. I also loved the way in which the interior floor always seemed to slope down, reminiscent of German expressionistic films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Technically, there is not a more perfectly made film than Sunrise; its inventiveness alone secured its spot in cinematic history as one of the most influential and important films of all time.

However, I was not too keen on its portrayal of the two main women. For the most part, the characterization worked. I loved the middle section of the film, where the couple renewed their love in the chaotic and flashy city life. Most importantly, this was the only time in which Janet Gaynor's character was more than just a nice boring little wife. She had a spark in her, a genuine, joyous personality that made me forget that she started out as flat as the hair on her head. The husband suddenly appeared to be very hot to me, and the wife was suddenly utterly adorable, a complete contrast to the two people the viewer found in the beginning of the film. The film could be said to be a journey in rekindling the spark between two souls. The rekindling part was so moving and romantic; everything was filled with warmth and humour. I loved the little touches with the man in the dance hall who kept trying to fix the dress of the woman standing next to him.

Where I had trouble with was in the dichotomy of the City Woman (the Vamp) and the Wife. The City Woman, in particular, was portrayed as a snake-like temptress. Her modern city sophistication made her stand out like a sore thumb. She was the real villain in the picture, and the blame fell squarely on her (he attempted twice to strangle her). A nice submissive little wife with flat blond hair locked in a moral battle with a cunning slithering temptress with bouncy dark hair. Can we say, 'gender stereotypes abound'? One could argue that these caricatures were meant to be stereotypical, since the aim of the film was for universal appeal. These women took on more symbolic roles rather than specific 'women' roles. Nevertheless, I would argue that a little less black and white characterization of these women would not have hurt the film, even if it would lessen the sharp distinction between these two kinds of women. I wish I could ignore my modern sensibility concerning these kinds of issues when viewing the film, but I could only ignore so much. The film's obvious aim at generalizing the story only made the issue matter more to me. However, to quibble on this matter and ignore the exceptional aspects would be to miss the point of the film. For what it was, Sunrise delivered the romantic parable worthy of a melodramatic masterpiece.
Brilliant, absolutely briliant, Janet Gaynor is incredible. Moving, unforgettable. One of the best films of all time.

A true masterpiece of the silent cinema!

The plot is so naive, so easily predictable! And it makes it classical! A classical story of two humans!
A perfect expression!!!
Die Hard 8.5

-1988, time was no CGI, characters are more raw, the story is less real, there are more cartoonish characters almost, but it makes the story more interesting, unique.

Sunset Blvd. 9

-Her intro symbolized silent films, her overacting is the same overacting required for silent films

-Great script, very self-aware and very crafty

-Max's character especially good

Quiz Show 8

-Good film, not very unique

-Turrotor was excellent, breaking between crazy and loveable

Sunrise 9

-In a time when audio was possible

-Has fully accepted silent films, uses it to its advantage as text is repeated, slowly fades in and melts away to create power

-Amazing effects and editing as it is able to bring characters into new worlds as they get lost in the moment

Paths of Glory 8.5

-War in a raw view, it takes a look at how top level officials are asked to attempt the impossible, it doesn't matter how many die.

-People are estimated by percentages, it is an acceptable amount to let die

-Corruption and missing morals
Murnau, 1927

I once heard a film expert say that the birth of the 'talkie' was the worst thing to ever happen to cinema. When I heard that at first, I thought he was a bit crazy, but now I understand what he was getting at. Films like Sunrise show how lack of sound forced early filmmakers to innovate and rely on visuals to tell the story. The talkie virtually destroyed all progress that had been made, as filmmakers were forced to severely limit visuals just to have a bit of audio, thus compromising and usually destroying their own films. Sunrise, however, shows just how incredible visual cinema truly can be, and being one of the pioneers of cinema, it had almost nothing to look back on. Sunrise was a revolutionary piece of cinema.

I think what really stuck me about Murnau's silent classic Sunrise is just how well it has aged after over the years. Sure, the actual film is grainy and scratched, but that's all superficial; what I'm talking about is the content, the 'soul' of the movie, which even today feels fresh and undated. The story is simple enough, fairly linear, and there is not too much complexity on the exterior, but I like to think of Sunrise to be more of a fable on film than anything else, and I find many silent movies (and interestingly enough, many Italian neorealist films) share this trait. So therefore the simplicity really shouldn't be seen as a fault, but more as a way for this fable to convey its moral message, and since Sunrise is an incredibly visual movie, the simple story also allows for the visuals to do the talking, and they literally do all the talking, being that Sunrise is a silent film.

Sunrise is indeed a sublime example of cinematography and the use of visuals to advance a story, but Sunrise is also a revolutionary example of this. I really think Sunrise was one of the pioneer films of cinema, and is virtually a textbook of visual and editing techniques. However, that's not to say that it's a boring manual, as it is a film that puts visuals to beautiful use and the 90 minute runtime is literally bursting at the seam with gorgeously done visuals, from lovely sunrises to deadly thunder storms - and they are all used to tell the story. Some scenes really take your breath away, such as the one in which the camera tracks across fast flowing traffic as the two lovers cross the street, almost ignorant of the danger, or the entire thunderstorm sequence. Simply by having the camera set up a certain way and skilfully utilizing light and shadow, Murnau was able to convey amazing amounts of emotion and easily advance the plot. If he wanted you to feel dread and know what a character was planning to do, he easily did so, and in the end did a wonderful job, making the movie both enjoyable to watch as well as morally relevant. As I said earlier, Sunrise has not really dated at all, and therefore is still a very entertaining as well as thought provoking film.

The two main characters are very well acted, a rare occurrence in silent films, and their chemistry is exquisite - the main girl was particularly cute, almost like a kitten! It even retains much of its humour, which is found largely in the happy midsection of the film as opposed to the dark beginning and end. Of course, Sunrise is just as good at illustrating terror and disaster, and like the humour, much of these other emotions or themes have not faded away with time either, and still feel very immediate and fresh. Thematically there is a lot going on with simple morals, such as temptation breaking love, or love breaking temptation. It is simple, as I said, fable like, and coincides extremely well with the rest of the structure of the film. It's very interesting to see the stark differences in the main character from the beginning to end -- and remember, all of this well developed with no words, just visuals!

All in all, I really loved Sunrise because of how revolutionary it was, and how it has still managed to keep so much of its charm and beauty intact. The film was a flop at the box-office, and two weeks after it came out, Murnau died in a tragic car accident, but it has since proved to the world that it was obviously ahead of its time. The use of magnificent and stirring images to illustrate the entire story and characters is impeccable, and the story and the characters themselves are very enjoyable and easy to watch as well as quite cute and funny. But at its center, Sunrise is always using the various arts of film to tell a story, to get across a message and to develop likeable and always changing characters. That's what's so revolutionary and amazing about Sunrise; it's one of the first films to really understand how to take advantage of the then new visual medium which has unlimited potential. Perhaps that is why Sunrise still feels so fresh and easy to watch; it understood what it takes to make a great film, and remarkable Sunrise is.
Directed by F.W. Murnau
Starring George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston

I finally saw "Sunrise," the great American silent film directed by the great German impressionist. Unofficially considered as the "other" first Oscar winner for best picture ("Wings" has the honor, "Sunrise" was awarded for its artistic excellence.) , it is still being lauded for its achievements in style, camerawork and cinematography. There are cinematic effects that predated Welles' "Citizen Kane." As a whole, the movie is effective as a drama and quasi-comedy, a kind of Shakesperean play in it too. There's too much acting on O'Brien's part though, but his uncouth appearance and lack of heavy make-up gives a tinge of realism, very un-Hollywood at that time. Gaynor won the actress trophy for this and two other films (the Academy primarily awarded actors for body of work, soon corrected the following year). "Sunrise" remains a landmark achievement.
Best Scene: The Man takes his Wife for a boat ride.
I don't like MST3K all that much. Well, at least, not all of the episodes. I think it's because I usually end up watching the movie not paying too much attention to the mst3k crew. Anyway, Red Zone Cuba was awful something fierce, but compared to Reefer Madness, it was a freakin' masterpiece. I'll be honest with you, I slept through most of it.

Sunrise would have been better if the part where the couple fight and get back together would have been shorter, but it still wouldn't have been that good.

The Wasp Woman was awful. So was Attack of the Giant Leeches, but that was at least fun. Roger, it's a good thing you stopped directing.
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