Sunrise (1927)


Sunrise A song of two humans

Shit is OLD.


Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, directed by the original gangsta F.W. Murnau, is a silent film about some country shmuck who cheats on his wife with a bitch city girl. You can tell she is a bitch city girl because she is dressed in shiny velvety leather and she smokes cigarettes. Bitches like to smoke, I can tell you that from experience. Many people would find this kind of film boring and dumb, but I find it fascinating as a history lesson. This kind of shit was James Cameron’s Titanic back in 1927.

There’s something oddly charming and at the same time sort of creepy about the era. Right in between Victorian Times and the Nuclear age. Call it Raygun Gothic or whatever. The actors appear ghostly, like I feel I am watching ghosts flash across the screen. Everybody in this movie is dead. This is where their souls go. Watching this film is seeing the literal souls of the past.


Image from the movie Sunrise

Happens to me all the time.


So the bitch city girl convinces the country shmuck to murder his wife, by tossing her over into the lake while they’re on the boat. He is then to capsize it, and swim to shore using bulrushes to help him stay afloat. There he tells everybody that it was an accident, and then he will run away with the bitch to the city. Yup, sounds just like every bitch I’ve ever had the pleasure of being in good company with. So he and his wife go out onto the lake, but not until their German Shepard breaks free of his chains and chases after them, jumping into the water, swimming to the boat, and jumping on board. This whole sequence holds a lot of tension.

Whoa, this dog is going to foil his plans! This gives the schmuck a lot of time to think. He rows back to the shore and takes the dog back into the house. Second attempt, they make it out into the middle of the lake, and with ridiculously exaggerated Frankenstein-like body movements, goes in for the kill. But he hesitates, and has a change of heart. He can’t do it. He doesn’t have the testicular fortitude, as Mick Foley would put it. This leaves the wife terrified. He rows back on shore and she runs away. He chases after her, desperately demanding her to not be afraid of him. So much emotion in so much silence. Now that is something to respect of the talents of the O.G. Filmmakers of Ancient Hollywood.


Barber from the movie Sunrise

Oh yeah, and THIS guy. With his guyliner.


The rest of the film shows the souls of Ancient Roaring 20’s city life. The pursuit ends up in the city. Eventually, the wife calms down, and with the bribing of some bread, she is convinced that her lunatic of a husband no longer wishes to off her. They visit churches. They get pictures taken. The break a statue. They play games at a carnival, and they rescue a piggy and do a little jig. It’s hard to describe the feeling of watching daily activities of this specific long gone era. It’s a sense of wonder and eeriness. Then they take another trip onto the water, but before they know what hit them, a hurricane or some kind of storm comes in and completely wrecks their shit. Washed up on shore alone, the man cannot find his wife. Admitting defeat, he sulks back in his house. Then, the city bitch comes back and attempts to seduce him once again. This time, the man knows whats up, and tries to kill her with his bare hands in a fit of grieving rage.

It’s all her damn fault! Before he can make her give up the ghost, the villagers announce that they have found his wife, alive. She was saved by the bulrushes, originally intended to save the man after he drowned his wife. Irony? Fate? Nice storytelling technique? Something like that. Finally, we are treated with their loving embrace, smiles and all that mushy stuff. Quite effective. It’s a shame that most people won’t be able to get through the first five minutes. It’s en educational gem, and simply a delight for film fans, film historians, film students, and people who are into weird shit like me.

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