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Year: 1927
UK: BFI (Access)
Cast: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston, Bodil Rosing, J. Farrell Macdonald, Ralph Sipperly, Jane Winton, Arthur Housman, Eddie Boland, Barry Norton, Sidney Bracey, Gino Corrado, Sally Eilers, Gibson Gowland, Bob Kortman, Harry Semels, Phillips Smalley
Director: F W Murnau
Country: USA
UK: 95 mins
UK Certificate: U contains melodrama and very mild violence
UK Release Date: 6 February 2004 (Limited Re-release)


One of the undisputed pinnacles of silent cinema, SUNRISE, this lyrical masterpiece from the director of NOSFERATU and FAUST, is being re-released in a sparkling new restoration.

SUNRISE is a study of betrayal, love and reconciliation. Seduced by a vamp from the city, a man from a small fishing village (George O'Brien) plans to murder his wife (Janet Gaynor) during a boat trip to town. However, both reach their destination unscathed and there, amid a dazzling panoply of urban attractions, the couple rediscover their love for each other.

Murnau's American debut was awarded an Oscar for Artistic Quality of Production (1927/28) as well as Best Actress for Janet Gaynor (in conjunction with her roles in Frank Borzage's SEVENTH HEAVEN and STREET ANGEL) and Best Cinematography for Charles Rosher and Karl Struss.

SUNRISE had a powerful influence on Murnau's filmmaker contemporaries such as Howard Hawks and John Ford, and it has continued to fascinate present-day directors as diverse as Neil Jordan, Jim Jarmusch and Baz Luhrmann who cited it as one of the key inspirations for his MOULIN ROUGE.

This new restoration, the result of a collaboration between the BFI National Film and Television Archive (NFTVA), the Academy Film Archive and Twentieth Century Fox, was enthusiastically received at the Berlin Film Festival where it received its world premiere earlier this year. Murnau's film was was one of the first to use Fox's sound-on-film process, and the 1927 world premiere in New York featured a Movietone recorded orchestral score compiled by the composer Hugo Riesenfeld. Based on the best surviving film elements, this new print incorporates the first restoration of this wonderful original soundtrack.

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