Archive for November 15th, 2010

I wrote some time ago about how a series of my paintings from several years back, the Outlaws series, had been influenced heavily by the imagery from a number of silent movies.  One that I mentioned specifically was Sunrise, the 1927 film from the great German Expressionist director FW Murnau of Nosferatu fame.  I mention this today because TCM is showing the film tonight at 9 PM EST.

The film was made at a really interesting time in the history of films.  Just as talking pictures were emerging ,  silent films were reaching their apex of artistic expression.  Within a few years they would be gone completely.

This film is the answer to a trivia question in that it won won the award for Best Picture  at the first Oscars ceremony in 1928.  Trivia fans will be shouting at this point saying that I’m wrong, that Wings won the first Best Picture award.  Well, they’re correct but I so am I, as Sunrise won the award for Best Picture: Unique and Artistic Production. There were originally two awards to honor two separate  aspects of the industry- the popular and the artistic.  This practice ended after this ceremony and  Sunrise became the only winner of the award for a unique and artistic film.

The cinematography in this film is beautiful and there is a long continuous shot from inside a streetcar that shows the city passing by that is breathtaking for its freshness, even by today’s standards.  The story is a fable telling the story of farmer and his wife and his struggles with a big-city temptress who nearly lures him into murdering his wife.  It is beautifully expressed and is a must-see for anyone who has seen more than enough special effects extravaganzas of the Transformers sort.  It is considered by many critics to be the finest silent film ever made and some even rank it up there with Citizen Kane as one of the greatest films ever.

I always hesitate in recommending films because we all have such different and subjective preferences, but if you get a chance and have any interest, take a look tonight on TCM.

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