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      Sunrise

      Released Sep 23, 1927 1h 50m Drama Romance List
      98% Tomatometer 65 Reviews 92% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings Bored with his wife (Janet Gaynor), their baby and the dull routine of farm life, a farmer (George O'Brien) falls under the spell of a flirtatious city girl (Margaret Livingston) who convinces him to drown his wife so they can escape together. When his wife becomes suspicious of his plan and runs away to the city, the farmer pursues her, slowly regaining her trust as the two rediscover their love for each other in this award-winning silent classic. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Sunrise

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      Critics Consensus

      Boasting masterful cinematography to match its well-acted, wonderfully romantic storyline, Sunrise is perhaps the final -- and arguably definitive -- statement of the silent era.

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      Critics Reviews

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      Pauline Kael New Yorker The story is told in a flowing, lyrical German manner that is extraordinarily sensual, yet is perhaps too self-conscious, too fable-like for American audiences. Jul 28, 2022 Full Review Wilella Waldorf New York Post Any one who prefers an intelligent and stimulating film to the usual trash is urged to go and see it for himself. Sep 4, 2020 Full Review SMH Staff Sydney Morning Herald From two points of view, Sunrise is among the most remarkable films that have ever been flashed on the screen. One is the rich, sensitive beauty of the photography; the other the tragic tenseness of the story. Feb 6, 2020 Full Review Zita Short InSession Film Murnau really was a visionary and I do see what made him such a talent... Feb 9, 2023 Full Review Francisco J. Ariza Cine-Mundial Innovative through technology and development which will, without a doubt, be echoed in films yet to come. [Full review in Spanish] Jul 1, 2022 Full Review Dennis Harvey 48 Hills The visual poetry it expended on an admittedly simple, cornball story (country bumpkin seduced by city vamp, pursued and redeemed by his pure-hearted wife) remains fairly dazzling. Jan 8, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Christian K Honestly, you can say the first half of this is a masterpiece. It is filmed in such a different way and with more care and consideration than any movie from the era. There is a little lull after where it dips into some misplaced silent film slapstick, the ending sequence is a little weird story wise but beautifully filmed. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/09/24 Full Review Matthew B One of the earliest silent film movies of its time. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/13/24 Full Review Matthew B Sunrise might have been called Sunset, and the title would have seemed equally appropriate. Watching the movie today is like seeing an art form reaching its highest peak just at the point when that particular medium was about to die forever. The streets that see in the movie were actually a studio set costing $200,000. The film company recovered some of the costs by using the set in other films of the time. Some cost-cutting was made by using smaller sets in the background, and making them seem bigger with use of forced perspective, the optical illusion of making smaller objects appear as if they are further away. Murnau understood the craft of how to visually convey meaning to the audiences better than almost any director of his time. There is not a single moment in Sunrise where the audience feels confused about what is happening. His storytelling is crystal clear, and yet it is told with minimal intertitles. The use of a synchronised music score and sound effects also help to clarify what is happening in scenes. What Murnau showed best in Sunrise is how much more sophisticated late silent movies were than the early sound movies. The need to soundproof the cameras so that they could not be heard on the final movie led to an era of static camerawork. Here in Sunrise, we have nothing of the sort. The camera has a freedom that it would not have for several years. One notable feature is Murnau's use of long tracking shots, still something of a rarity in an age when visual movement was limited by the need to crank up the camera. This was made easier by the fact that even many of the outdoors scenes in Sunrise were filmed in a studio. When The Man and The Woman from the City meet in a marsh, it is merely a set, allowing Murnau to put the camera on an overhead rail to achieve the long tracking shot required to make the scene so effective. Murnau's camera crew also had access to a camera with an electric motor. On several occasions, images are superimposed onto one another. We see a train and a boat in a split screen effect, perhaps reflecting the personality of the main character in the movie. Images of the marsh fill the bottom of the screen while images of the city fill the top of it, as if to show The Man's thoughts. In another scene, The Man is lying on the bed while above him we see an image of the water on the lake where he is planning to drown The Wife. This visual effect was achieved by masking part of the screen, and then exposing the rest of it. Murnau could then arrange for the second image to be exposed in the areas where the first image was masked, and masked in the places where the first image was exposed. The action revolves around three people. None of them is named. There is The Man (George O'Brien), The Wife (Janet Gaynor) and The Woman from the City (Margaret Livingston). The absence of names has led some people to view the work as allegorical. If the story is an allegory, we may ask who are the two humans in the film's title, especially since there are three central characters. Could it be the two women in The Man's life, who may represent good and evil? I do not see them as allegorical representations myself. They seem to me to indicate two possible paths that The Man can follow. One is domesticated and a little dull, but safe and perhaps more fulfilling in the end. The other is thrilling, but it will destroy him. Which choice will he make? Perhaps the two humans are both The Man – his lighter and darker sides. He is under the influence of temptation that may bring calamity on himself and others, but he also has a kinder and more compassionate side that might redeem him. A more likely explanation is the least interesting one. The two humans are The Man and his Wife. This seems to be hinted at in an early intertitle in the film. The married couple are at the heart of the movie. The action follows their marital problems in the first part, a cessation of those problems in the second part, and an unexpected separation in the last part. By contrast The Woman from the City is only dominant in the first part. She is almost totally absent from the middle section of the film, and never regains her importance in the final part. What the first two parts of Sunrise have established is that tragedy need not be inevitable. In many film noirs, there is a fatalistic sense that the characters are trapped by circumstances and by their own moral weakness. They are doomed from the start. In Sunrise, there is still the sense that people have a choice, and the chance to change their destiny at any point. Whether Sunrise ends happily or unhappily, the outcome was not pre-ordained, and could gone differently. A happy or an unhappy ending would have been equally correct. I wrote a longer appreciation of Sunrise on my blog page if you would like to read more: https://themoviescreenscene.wordpress.com/2020/12/24/sunrise-a-song-of-two-humans-1927/ Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/18/23 Full Review Georgan G This silent film teaches morality lessons with 3 characters in one day. Handsome farmer is being seduced by a city woman. Her evil plan against his wife just cannot be done. Instead, he falls in love with his wife again. There is more, but I won't tell. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 08/14/23 Full Review Michelle L This is truly a cinematic masterpiece that should never be lost to time. It was one of the 2 films that won the most awards in the very 1st Academy Awards. Watching the film you get lost in the love between the Man and the Wife and how it was almost destroyed before they built it back. It's poetic and it's timeless. The first intertitle says 'This song of the Man and his Wife is of no place and every place: you might hear it anywhere at anytime'. It's a tale that's both old as time, yet still can ring true to this day. A truly beautiful piece of artwork that I hope everyone gets the chance to see. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 07/07/23 Full Review Louisa E Usual over-acting style of silent film. I felt the middle part was unnecessarily long. I don't think it needed the comedic elements. However, there were some wonderfully innovative cinematic elements, like the drowning subtitles and the walking between cars. 7/10. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 05/08/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis Bored with his wife (Janet Gaynor), their baby and the dull routine of farm life, a farmer (George O'Brien) falls under the spell of a flirtatious city girl (Margaret Livingston) who convinces him to drown his wife so they can escape together. When his wife becomes suspicious of his plan and runs away to the city, the farmer pursues her, slowly regaining her trust as the two rediscover their love for each other in this award-winning silent classic.
      Director
      F.W. Murnau
      Producer
      William Fox
      Screenwriter
      Hermann Sudermann, Carl Mayer, Katherine Hilliker, H.H. Caldwell
      Distributor
      Critics' Choice Video, Fox
      Production Co
      Fox Film Corporation
      Genre
      Drama, Romance
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Sep 23, 1927, Wide
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Oct 1, 2015
      Runtime
      1h 50m
      Sound Mix
      Mono
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