SUNRISE (1927) Photo


Vintage original 10 x 8″ (25 x 20 cm.) black-and-white single weight glossy silver gelatin print still photo. USA. George O’Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston, dir: F.W. Murnau; Fox. There are minor creases at each of the four corners and some along the top blank white margin. The bottom left corner is chipped and there is a small tear at the center top blank white margin. Very good-fine.

The full title of this classic is Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, and that was most appropriate. It is the story of a young married farmer and his wife. When he falls under the spell of a city woman, he attempts to take the life of his wife – but he cannot, and they spend a wonderful day in the city together, falling more in love with each other.

The film likely is Murnau’s greatest work and is to this day felt to be amongst the very finest of all silent films. It is the film which people come away from understanding the great artistic achievement of what silent motion picture-making was all about. It was greatly honored in its day as well, basically winning an Academy Award during the very first Oscar ceremony for Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production – a very appropriate award, indeed. Gaynor would win the first Best Actress award for this and two other films that year. Today, it has the distinction of being the very first silent film to be released on Blu-ray. No explanation can do this film justice, and it just needs to be experienced.

Much of the film was shot on location in Big Bear and San Bernardino National Forest, California. This image of O’Brien and Gaynor during their trip is from one of those locations. It is coded “M-1-112”. Original stamped information about the film on the verso.

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