Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Sunrise - A Song of Two Humans |
Actors: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston
There are those who rate Sunrise the greatest of all silent films. Then again, some consider it the finest film from any era. Such claims invite a backlash, but do yourself a favor and give it a look. At the very least, yo... more »
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A SILENT MASTERPIECE COMES EXQUISITELY TO LIFE...
Graham McIlroy | Sydney, NSW. Australia | 01/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"SUNRISE -- directed by F.W.Murnau --- was a commercial flop when first released in 1927, but is now recognised as one of the greatest, if not the greatest Silent Film ever made. Depending on which books you read it rivals Carl Dreyer's THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC as the No 1 Silent Film. Upon its release, it met with almost total disdain from the American public, who could not relate to the brooding Germanic atmosphere, and the simple, almost banal story. A peasant farmer is seduced by the Woman From the City who talks him into drowning his wife and running off to the Big City. The farmer tries, when rowing across a lake, but just cannot do it. The wife flees in terror, jumps on a trolley-car and rides to the city, with the husband just sitting staring at her. This sequence is one of the many fabulous " mood setters' in this film and is one of Silent Cinema's most famous sequqnces, as the rural, lakeside, country pastures silently turn into the outskirts and then the centre of the City. The rest of the film concentrates upon their gradual re-awakening to each other and then on the way home, across the lake by moonlight, fate takes a sinister and totally unexpected hand, leading to an emotionally heightened climax. If you are of an intellectual bent you could sneer at this beautiful and haunting film.. but if you are emotionally responsive person, you will need a large box of tissues......
Janet Gaynor who plays The Wife, won the Academy's very first Best Actress award, ( although it was not called that at the time ). The film is famous for its brilliant , atmospheric camera work and brilliantly set mood lighting.... especially the Man's tramping through the swamp to keep his moonlight tryst with the seductive Woman.
Not only did the public not understand this film, but it's release by 20th Century Fox was unkowingly very ill-advised. Just a few weeks after the release of SUNRISE, Warner Bros flung THE JAZZ SINGER on to the world...and the rest, as we all know, is cinematic history.
Another note of historical and scholarly interest is that SUNRISE is actually the FIRST feature-length film in which the human voice is heard. Many films up to this time had recorded musical soundtracks and sound effects. In SUNRISE, when the Woman and the Man reach the end of the line for the trolley car in the middle of the bustling and very fast moving traffic in the City, the wife jumps out in fear and runs right into the middle of the traffic which seems to be going in all directions. You hear on the soundtrack motor horns blaring; the angry cries of motorists --" get off the road ", " what do you think you are doing ? ", " get outta here " etc. But not too many people heard it, and a few weeks later THE JAZZ SINGER was released and .. we ain't heard anything, yet.
Another " claim to fame ' of this film is that is also considered to be the " grandaddy" of film noir, with its look and feel firmly set in Germanic Expressionist mode, and the birth of the femme fatale in film noir.
This sublime, beautifully filmed and senstively, sincerely acted film is one that will haunt you for a long time after viewing, and you will want to see it again and again.
And now we can in this MAGNFICENT DVD transfer from Twentieth Century Fox. The film has been miraculously restored and remastered. All the prints I had seen elsewhere, and the VHS videos I have of it from the USA and the UK are all faded and fuzzy, although very watchable and understandable. But now this DVD offers SUNRISE as it has never been seen before --execpt perhaps upon its original release. Now we can see the lighting effects as they are presented in those beautiful photographs in film books. Now all the levels of this film are perceived and the viewing becomes an unforgettable cinematic experience.
With his DVD you have the choice of two soundtracks. One being the original Movietone soundtrack, and the other, being a modern composition. I personally prefer the original. Firstly because that is they way the film was originally presented and meant to be seen. I also found the other soundtrack eliminated the original sound effects, and unfortunately for my taste, like most other modern compositions written to accompany Silent Films, the films seems to exist merely to accompany the new musical soundtrack and NOT vice-versa.
There is also a silent trailer for the film, and that is a novelty.. and other features to make this a treasured DVD in any collection. The one about the set designs and establishment of mood and matching shots is fascinating.
This is one of the greatest films, offered on one of the greatest DVD transfers around. If you love and know Silent Film, you won't need to be told to buy this DVD. If not sure, just buy it anyway. You won't regret it. I bought it --( I actually have two, one is a backup ), and have watched this film over and over again and will probably continue to for a long time to come.
Thank you Twentieth Century for reincarnating and helping countless numbers of people to discover and re-discover this mesmerising and unforgettable film."
SUNRISE-The Greatest Silent Film Ever?
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 04/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Is SUNRISE the greatest silent film ever made? Many polls consider it so but to me comparing it with a handful of other silents such as NAPOLEON or BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN or GREED (not to mention the comedies of Chaplin and Keaton) is like comparing apples and oranges. What is without question is that SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS (to give the film its complete title) is one of the greatest movies of all time sound or silent.
A simple story of love, betrayal, and redemption is transformed and elevated into a work of art captured on film thanks to director F.W. Murnau. There are so many things to savor in this film such as the breathtaking cinematography in the village scenes which is reminiscent of the 17th Century Dutch Masters, the Bauhaus influenced set designs of the City, or the remarkable performances by George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor (who won the first Best Actress Academy Award) and Margaret Livingston that trying to compile a list of them here would take up too much space. This is one of those handful of films that compel you to watch it again and again.
The new Fox Studio Classics DVD (also on VHS) provides us with the best surviving version as the original negative was destroyed by fire in 1937. It also comes with a valuable audio commentary and your choice of the original Fox Movietone score or a newly recorded one. There are also outtakes, the original script, and promotional materials as well. If you are truly a lover of cinema then you need to see SUNRISE and decide its status for yourself. Like all the really great films, once seen it cannot be forgotten and that is the greatest compliment I can bestow."
Let the sun rise on DVD !
Bob A. Monkhouse | Leighton Buzzard,, Beds. United Kingdom | 06/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This masterpiece by F.W.Murnau rates as one of the top ten movies ever. In a June 2002 poll of its members by the American Film Institute, inviting them to name the most romantic films of the 20th century, "Sunrise" was named alongside such classics as "Casablanca" and "Gone With the Wind". Digital satellite showings of the silent feature in the U.K. reveal the existence of a superb print crying out for DVD presentation. The sooner its distributors can be persuaded to release it in that format the sooner we can glory in it."
Touching and simple
Eugene Koh | Torrance, CA United States | 07/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Sunrise" is a simple, touching story, beautifully told, about betrayal and redemption. A farmer, tempted by his sophisticated mistress from the city, tries to kill his wife, but at the moment of truth he cannot do it. The farmer and his wife rediscover their love, but then Nature throws in a surprise twist to test their happiness. Within this framework, Murnau throws in bits of humor and imagination-- the knocked-down statue which they think they have broken because it doesn't have a head, the drunken pig which the farmer chases through the carnival. Throughout, Murnau hardly needs intertitles because the visuals are so effective.About the DVD: I received it through Fox Studio's free offer in 2003. The quality of the print is uneven and much more grainy than Fox's restorations of later films. Sometimes it appears to be free of artifacts, but often you can see the scratches and blotches from the film negative. There are two soundtracks. The original score is in mono and the sound quality is decent. The new score is in Dolby 2.0 and sounds much clearer. Both scores match the movie very well and are worth listening to.The DVD also has a lot of extra features. The audio commentary by the cinematographer John Bailey is technical but informative. For writers, you have the original scenario by Carl Mayer, along with the final screenplay. Most uniquely, Fox has also included what remnants are available from Murnau's "lost film" called "The 4 Devils." The narrated essay pieces the film together from production stills, drawings from the art director, and the screenplay, which is also on the DVD.Overall, a masterpiece of visual storytelling and an oustanding DVD. Kudos to Fox Studios."