Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

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Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, also known as Sunrise, is a 1927 American film directed by German film director F. W. Murnau. The story was adapted by Carl Mayer from the short story Die Reise nach Tilsit by Hermann Sudermann.

Sunrise won an Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Production at the first ever Academy Awards ceremony in 1929. In 1937, Sunrise's original negative was destroyed in a nitrate fire. A new negative was created from a surviving print.[1] In 1989, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.[citation needed] In a 2002 critics' poll for the British Film Institute, Sunrise was named the seventh-best film in the history of motion pictures.[2]

In 2007, the film was chosen #82 on the 10th anniversary update of the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Movies list of great films.[3] Sunrise is one of the first with a soundtrack of music and sound effects recorded in the then-new Fox Movietone sound-on-film system.[citation needed] Much of the exterior shooting was done at Lake Arrowhead, California.



A Woman From The City (Margaret Livingston) travels to the country on a summertime vacation, and lingers in one particular lakeside town for weeks. One night she puts on a slinky black dress and wanders through town to a farmhouse where The Man (George O'Brien) and The Wife (Janet Gaynor) live with their infant child. She whistles from outside to the Man, who is sitting dejectedly at a table his wife is setting for dinner. The Man--with whom she has been having an affair--notices the Woman waiting for him outside and motions her to meet him nearby. He changes his coat, and leaves his wife and child alone in the house. The Wife, seeing her husband has left, leaves the empty dinner table to cry on her child's pillow. The Man walks through the moonlit woods to the shore of the lake where the Woman is waiting for him. The Woman seduces The Man into thinking that he should sell the farm and move with her to The City. Images of the big city, brass bands, and bright lights flash above them as they lie together among the reeds. When she suggests he could drown his wife, he objects violently at first but reluctantly agrees. They decide he will take her on a trip to The City, drown her on their way across the lake in a small boat, then sink the boat to make it look like an accident. The Man would then use bundles of reeds secretly placed in the boat to swim ashore on. The Wife happily agrees to go on the trip, yearning for any bit of time and affection from her emotionally distant husband. The next day, the Man and the Wife set off across the lake, but she soon grows suspicious of his strange behavior. Halfway across, the Man stands up menacingly and prepares to throw the Wife overboard. Looking into her eyes as he stands over her, he realizes he can't do it. He sits back down and begins rowing frantically. When the boat lands on the other shore, the Wife flees and the Man follows, begging her not to be afraid of him.

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