1928 – Sunrise

We went back in time a bit to the second Academy Award winning Best Picture, Sunrise.  It just became available on Netflix.

I’m not really sure what a sunrise has to do anything, but it was an interesting film.  It was a silent film, and each scene seemed to go on forever as we stared at each noiseless expression.  But the plot itself was intriguing and ironic. 


The man (none of the characters had names) and his wife live on a farm with their baby (and someone’s mother?).  We find out that the man has a lover, the “woman from the city.”  She wants him to kill his wife and sell the farm so they can be together.  And he actually plans to do it!  When he chickens out during his attempt to drown her, the man and his wife make their way to the city for what ends up being the best day of their marriage.  They buy flowers, dance, get drunk, go to a barber shop, hold hands, ride a train… it’s all very magical.  On their way back across the water, a storm brews, and their boat capsizes.  The wife is on her way to death by accident this time.  And of course the man is guilt-ridden and mournful.  The woman from the city comes over after she hears of the wife’s drowning.  The man is less than pleased to see her.  As he is strangling her with his bare hands, someone calls from the house saying the wife has been recovered and will be fine.  The woman from the city returns to the city alone and unharmed.

You could clean house while this movie is playing or watch it in fast forward and not miss a step.  But it was fairly enjoyable.  It was interesting to see what was considered scandalous in that day.  For instance, while the man and wife are in the salon, the woman is adamant about not having her hair cut because she doesn’t want to be a hussy like the city girls who all have bob cuts with bangs.  I find it odd that the city is portrayed as being full of shame and scandal.  But that was part of industrialization, I guess.  Farms were losing ground as people flocked to cities/factories to work.  So depending on what side of the pumpkin patch you were on, one could look down on the city attraction as a departure from family home life.

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