Danielle Cooper 0496848
Cast: George O’Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston
Director: F.W. Murnau
Synopsis: A married farmer who falls in, with what he thinks is, love with a flapper girl who inveigles him to kill his wife.
The story of Sunrise can be told in very few words. In a charming village, the city woman has come for vacation, and dawdled around to beguile and ensnare the man. Early in the film we see the city woman smoking in her quarters, pussyfooting in her negligee, sauntering through the village to the illuminated aperture of a man’s shanty shack, where she whistles.
Inside the lodge, the man listens to her, there is anguish and allurement in his movements before he finally decides to flee the cabin; when his wife comes to the dining room with their dinner, he has flown the coop, and the film sets side by side the wife cradling their child and the city woman enveloping the man.
Several of the finest instances incorporate overlapping images. In one instance, we see the man being engulfed in two phantasmal replicas of the city woman. We notice a train passing in front and at the same time extras strolling in the middle horizon and the city swells in the backdrop. There is a feverish speakeasy scenery, performers on one side, dancers in the middle, all appearing to hover in a void.
The dynamism of “Sunrise” comes literally through its optical pictures. The fable, as I’ve aforementioned, is extremely straightforward, but it possesses pizzazz and punch. The city woman cajoles the man into drowning his wife, auctioning off his farm, and splitting with her to the city. The film has minor captions, but they are striking: the caption “drown” floats into sight and then seems to drain down the screen and evaporates.
As the man and the wife make their voyage over the water, the man prepares to drown his wife and very nearly does. When the man decides not to drown the wife, the wife flees the boat and the clutches of...