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SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS (1927)

icon-dots A CELEBRATION OF 20TH CENTURY FOX

Marital love is at the center of F.W. Murnau’s silent masterpiece. It wasn’t completely silent, however; in fact, it was the first feature to use Fox’s Movietone sound system, though only music was recorded on the soundtrack (its New York premiere had live orchestral accompaniment). The film is essentially a fable: an unnamed farmer (George O’Brien) allows himself to be seduced by a city woman (Margaret Livingston), who tempts him to murder his wife (Janet Gaynor) on the way back from a trip to the city. This simple tale provides the linchpin for some of the screen’s most amazing visuals, with Charles Rosher and Karl Struss’ camera gliding through the farm, a nearby village and an amazing, expressionistic city. Double exposures shot in camera intensify the excitement. Murnau didn’t go to actual locations for all of this. The studio’s art department built the farm and nearby village along the shores of Lake Arrowhead and constructed the entire city on the Fox lot at a cost of $200,000. Arriving at the birth of the sound era, the film under-performed at the box office, but still walked off with three Oscars: Best Actress (Gaynor), Cinematography and Best Picture: Unique and Artistic Production. It’s now considered one of the greatest films ever made. (d. F.W. Murnau, 94m, DCP)

Presented with the original Fox Movietone recorded soundtrack.

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