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September 14, 2006

TV Alert -- "Sunrise"

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards--

F.W. Murnau's silent movie "Sunrise" will be shown on TCM on September 17 at 12:00 a.m. Set the DVR: Though it has been an influential movie, and though it has often been proclaimed one of the best-evers, "Sunrise" has for many years been one of the hardest-to-find-and-see of all the great movies. Quick film-appreciation lesson: Murnau (who worked in Germany, came to America, and died young) was worshipped for the eloquence and virtuosity of his tracking shots, for the soulful beauty of his use of light and shade, and for the way he tied all the elements of film together -- at a very early stage in the medium's history -- into a pulsing artistic unity. This is a rare chance to catch a genuinely legendary movie.



posted by Michael at September 14, 2006


Oooooooooh, MAMACITA!

Used to be the only place you could see this was its sporadic showings on the Fox Movie Channel. Being such a classy network, they'd cut from the spiritually uplifting sunrise at the end of the film directly to an ad for, like, rust remover or something. Bastards.

Then it was on DVD, but you had to send in boxtops from a bunch of other Fox DVDs to get it. Again, bastards.

Anyway, I was reading an old review of this film a week or two ago. Turns out the auteur theory isn't as novel as its proponents pretend. The review, which was from the National Board Of Review's magazine of 1927, said something like "If there was any doubt that the director is the driving force of a serious picture, Sunrise should do much to allay them."

Definitely watch this if you haven't seen it. Number seven on the latest Sight & Sound poll of greatest movies ever. (Jim Jarmusch voted for it!) If the wedding chapel scene doesn't get you, well, I just don't know.

Posted by: Brian on September 14, 2006 1:43 PM

Sunrise is indeed one of the big kahunas of American film--and of movies in general. My favorite part is probably the man's elastic, serpentine pursuit of the slinky temptress through the woods at night, at the end of which he buries his face ecstatically in her tummy.

The movie is still available on Fox DVD in a nicely-priced box set along with three other Best Picture winners: All About Eve, How Green Was My Valley, and Gentleman's Agreement. (Maybe you can use Gentleman's Agreement as a coaster?)

You can get the entire box for around $20 shipped here..

Even if you catch the TCM screening, the disc is worth having. If memory serves it comes with some nice extras, including a fascinating commentary by a cinematographer whose name escapes me right now. He gets into a lot of *very* specific details about how certain shots were achieved.

The Masters of Cinema label has also released a terrific disc of it in the U.K.

Murnau fans might also be interested in Flicker Alley's recent release of Murnau's earlier film, Phantom. I haven't watched it yet, and I'm sure it's no Sunrise, but I'm looking forward to it.

See here.


Posted by: Ron on September 15, 2006 8:03 AM

Thanks Ron, those are great tips.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 15, 2006 10:33 AM

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