The original sex thriller! A picture with everything: murder, lust, revenge, love, gags, violence, twists, melodrama, smoking, flashbacks, dream sequences, guyliner, fantastic special effects, stunning cinematography, and a sensational story that no doubt Joe Eszterhas once oiled his typewriter to. A silent film for modern audiences.
Re-rating this (still a 5) after seeing it on 35 at Film Forum. Not everything in it works, but the peaks are close to godliness. Murnau excels at creating an anywhere-yet-nowhere world, and if you think the plot is too close to Griffith-style moralizing against modern life, consider that the husband and wife fall back in love when they sample the "sinful" city. Bonus points for a close up of a drunken pig.
Cinematography by Charles Rosher and Karl Struss. "Desire" list: One of the great male actors of the North-American silent period, O'Brien is filmed by Murnau in a double sense, which is one of the great wonders of this immense film. Murnau's men, if we except the mere dramaturgical figures such as Emil Jannings characters, were stunning figures of a desire that only fits in cinema, by his camera-eye.
One of the best films ever? Starts off as an expressionist Brechtian morality play and evolves through a quasi-documentary city symphony into something so luminously unique that one is abashed to talked about things like the uncanny camera or the immense sense of offscreen reality (or dream).
Dark, romantic, surprising funny and beautifully shot (as are all of Murnau's films). A film that epitomises that a simple, arguably almost-primitive narrative can make for a brilliant cinematic experience. Top notch.
The most gripping cinematic love story I've ever experienced. The final twenty minutes have you gripping your seat more tensely than any modern thriller could provoke you to, only it's because you care so deeply about these people; you're so invested in them.
It's impossible not to like this film. The way F.W.Murnau could express a lyrical drama and the overwhelming love between two humans is beyond fabulous.
"Sunrise" is a tale who show us how great silent films can be and how sound is used so pointless some times in these days.
The late flowering of silent film into a fully mature artform is perhaps best exemplified in "Sunrise". Then of course came the "improvement" of sound. Perhaps cinema is the only artform where the word "innovation" is mouthed so enthusiastically by those who understand its implications so little.