Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has revealed that it plans to bring to Blu-ray F.W. Murnau's Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), starring George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, and Margaret Livingston. The legendary film is expected to arrive on the U.S. market in November.
German Expressionist, F.W. Murnau's film won Academy Awards for Best Actress and Best Cinematography and remains a critically acclaimed piece of silent cinema. George O'Brien plays the young farmer who falls for The Woman From the City (Margaret Livingstone) and agrees to murder his Wife (Janet Gaynor) by drowning her. He is unable to fulfil his plan though, and is reconciled with his Wife. Together they embark on a celebratory adventure in the city (one of the most celebrated montage sequences ever filmed), but on their way home The Wife is lost overboard in a storm and believed drowned. The Woman from the City arrives to claim The Man, believing he has committed murder for her; but word arrives that his Wife has been saved and he rushes to her side.
Yes! The first wide standalone release in the U.S. and another Best Picture winner on Blu! Hopefully if this and The Big Parade sell well we'll see more silents from major studios on Blu as well! Day one buy for me!
Alas, I'm with Blu-Velvet; I'm surprised Fox thinks anyone's still interested in it here that has NOT imported it from the UK. Not only is the MoC disc region-free, but it also includes a restored Czech silent print that's much cleaner, albeit shorter and with different takes, than the U.S. Movietone print (the OCN was destroyed in the 1930's); I doubt the U.S. edition will have that. Probably most likely to be found at a Costco or Sam's near you -- which reminds me I need to look for Cavalcade at Sam's (no Costco here).
The DVD version, both standalone and in the Murnau/Borzage Fox box set, was actually pretty good (including the Czech cut), and I don't think Eureka's Blu-ray had any new supplements beyond their booklet. Its greatest advantage was the dramatically sharper presentation of the Czech cut, as the surviving material on the US cut is soft enough that the DVD looks almost identical to the Blu-ray.
I'm really hoping that this release is a hint that the rest of that DVD box set will soon get US Blu-ray releases, as the SEVENTH HEAVEN, STREET ANGEL, and LUCKY STAR Blu-rays are only available from France, so I've been avoiding importing those. CITY GIRL, of course, already has a gorgeous region-free Eureka release, so I would guess that will be Fox marketing's next choice for a US edition for the few silent film buffs who haven't already imported it. Still, the more classics and silent on Blu-ray, the better!
Hopefully the Movietone version gets a new restoration. I'm sorry, but while the Czech version looks great, the Movietone version looks horrible on the MoC release. If technology today can make Metropolis and Passion of Joan of Arc look great, then I know that the Movietone version can look a lot better.
I'll be looking forward to this. When I saw this for film class we were lucky enough to watch our movies on a big screen in the theater arts building auditorium. I still remember hearing audible gasps when the Wife falls overboard and hearing more than a few sniffles they reunite at the end.