Starring – George O’Brien (The Man), Janet Gaynor (The Wife), Margaret Livingston (The woman from the city), Bodil Rosing (The Maid).
Released – November, 1927
Directed By – F. W. Murnau
Produced By – Fox Film Corporation
Distributed By – Fox Film Corporation
Description – When a seductive, scheming, woman from the city meets and starts an affair with a simple-living farmer only trouble can follow.
A vacationing city woman hangs around a small town much longer than expected. She has been having an affair with a farmer who has fallen under her spell. The woman sees the farmer as an opportunity to seize an easier life.
One night, after donning a slinky black dress, the city woman goes to the home of the farmer, his wife, and their child. She signals for the farmer and waits secretly outside for him. After awhile he comes out and the pair sneak off for another tryst.
However, this tryst is a little different. The woman from the city suggests that the farmer drown his wife making it look like an accident. Then the pair can live together in the city. At first the farmer violently objects, but the lustful spell of the city woman eventually wins out.
The plan is that the farmer will go boating with his wife, throw her overboard, and make it appear that he was the only one to survive an overturned boat. He will cling to bundles of reeds to stay afloat and make it to shore.
The wife suspects nothing when asked by her husband to go for a boat ride on the local lake. It is only when out on the lake that she becomes increasingly uncomfortable due to her husbands unusual and bizarre behavior.
The husband starts to throw his wife over the side of the boat when he suddenly realizes what a horrible thing he is doing. He stops and immediately, and hurriedly, rows toward shore. When there his, now very fearful, wife runs away. He follows.
Afraid to return to their remote home she boards a trolley for the city. He also boards the trolly. Desperately trying to get his wife to forgive him, and after a tearful reconciliation, they talk and walk around the city. They have their picture taken, make a visit to a local barber shop, enter a church to watch a wedding, go to an amusement park, and spend some time dancing. After dark, they board the trolley for the ride home.
Again they must cross the lake by boat. As they row across the lake a storm begins to start up. Fearful that the boat may overturn, the man ties the groups of reeds around his wife. The storm worsens, the boat capsizes, and the man is washed to the shore.
With no sign of his wife he asks the townspeople to help look for her. All that is found is a broken bundle of reeds floating in the water.
The commotion of the search has gotten the attention of the city woman who now believes that the plan to murder the farmers wife has been successful.
NOTABLE: Sunrise won Oscar’s for Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production (This was the only year that this specific award was given out), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Janet Gaynor), and Best Cinematography. The film was also nominated for Best Art Direction.
In 1989, Sunrise was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Sunrise was one of the first motion pictures to include a soundtrack of music and sound effects using the new Fox Movietone sound-on-film system.
Sunrise became the first silent-film to be released on Blu-Ray in 2009 by Eureka Entertainment in the United Kingdom.