After the visual fireworks of Sunrise and the now-lost splendour of 4 Devils, F.W. Murnau turned his attention to this vivid, painterly study of an impulsive and fragile marriage among the wheatfields of Minnesota.
During a brief stay in Chicago, innocent farmer’s son Lem falls for and weds Kate, a hard-bitten but lonely waitress. Upon bringing her home at the start of harvest time, the honeymoon soon turns into a claustrophobic struggle as they contend with the bitter scorn of his father and the invasive, leering jealousy of the farm’s labouring community.
Tenderly romantic and tough-minded in equal measure, City Girl is one of cinema’s great pastorals, featuring some of the most delicate performances Murnau ever filmed and influencing directors such as Terrence Malick and Jean Vigo. —Eureka Entertainment
To this day German filmmaker F. W. Murnau remains one of the most influential directors of cinema. After studying art and literature history at the University of Heidelberg, he became a student of director Max Reinhardt until serving in World War I as a combat pilot. During a flight, he accidentally strayed into Switzerland and stayed there till the war’s end. He made his directorial debut in 1919 back in Germany; although he made several films over the next three years, most of them have been lost. Murnau first gained international renown with Nosferatu the Vampire in 1922. Unlike others, Murnau filmed this still chilling masterpiece on location. His next film, The Last Laugh (1924), utilized unique camera techniques that later became the basis for mise-en-scene. He continued making German films, notable for their pessimism and pervading sense of doom, until he moved to Hollywood in 1926 to work for Fox studios. His first American film, Sunrise: A Story of Two Humans (1927), is considered… read more
This has to be my favourite film by Murnau. It seems almost impossible, but I truly believe that City Girl breathes the same or even more romanticism than Sunrise. I can't remember the last time that I was so engaged in the character's circumstances and deeply cared about their destiny as though it was mine.