In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.
Sergei M. Eisenstein
In this fable-morality subtitled "A Song of Two Humans", the "evil" temptress is a city woman who bewitches farmer Anses and tries to convince him to murder his neglected wife, Indre.Written by
Two major versions of the film exist - the version for the American market, and the version for the Czech market. While obviously the same basic film, the Czech version is about 15 minutes shorter and features alternate angles/takes for much of the movie - this was not uncommon in the days of silent films when marketing them abroad. See more »
Sunrise is a masterpiece, and its influence shines through in many later films. A couple come to mind very powerfully: Vigo's L'Atalante, another story about a couple who find each other, lose each other, and find each other again against the backdrop of a kaleidoscopic city; and Fleming's The Wizard of Oz, which has a similar conceptual framing - starting with monochromatic rural setting, moving to dazzling, dreamlike fantasy metropolis, and then back to a new dawn in the old rural setting. (I guess that means Janet Gaynor is Dorothy, George O'Brien is the Scarecrow, the city folk are the Munchkins, and the Woman from the City is the Wicked Witch of the West. But then, one can go too far with this kind of thing!) There are certainly more, and why not? Sunrise is a perfect example of what silent movies did so often and talkies seem to have to work like crazy to squeeze out: The illusion that one is entering a wonderful dream world. Escape, in other words, in the very best sense.
O'Brien was a big star for Fox in the 1920s, and several of his other firms are worth looking up as well (there's one I forget the name of where he plays a boxer). Gaynor is beyond perfect for her part, and in 1927-28, when she won the Oscar, she really must have seemed like the most powerful screen presence in Hollywood. I recently saw her in Street Angel, which was made about the same time, and she's equally superb in a quite different role.
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