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USA 1927
Directed by
97 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Sunrise - A Song of Two Humans

This Fox (later 20th Century Fox) silent film, made in the same year that Warners made The Jazz Singer was F.W. Murnau's first Hollywood film. It regularly appears on cineaste's Top 10 Films lists, although mainly, one assumes, for its technical achievements rather than its dramatic merits.

Whilst, as the title indicates, the story is a rather didactic morality play, Murnau pushes the camera to the limits of what it could do in terms of mobility in those days, making extensive use of montage and superimposition to convey meaning visually. something which was then regarded as cinema's unique quality, one which would render sound as a flash-in-the-pan novelty. It would be a fair bet that Fritz Lang made some notes during the amusement park sequence for staging ideas that would appear in his masterpiece, released the same year, Metropolis.

The film won an Academy Award for Artistic Achievement at the inaugural 1927 event with Janet Gaynor winning Best Actress (also in recognition for her performances in Street Angel and Seventh Heaven and camera men Karl Struss and Charles Rosher being rewarded for the film's impressive cinematography.




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