Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jason goes to Niles to see SUNRISE

But first a couple of shorts, which weren't on the original program so please excuse the fact that I don't have all the details on them.

THE VOICE OF THE NIGHTINGALE (1925): Russian stop-motion animation pioneer Ladislas Starevich (or Wladyslaw Starewicz, if you prefer) created this half-animated, fully-imaginative tale of a girl who captures a nightingale, the dreams its song inspires, and her decision to set it free.

HIS FATHER'S SON (????): I'm not only not sure about the date, I'm not 100% sure about the title. Or the plot (since I made the mistake of not writing this up right away.) Something about a young man who goes out and makes his fortune while his father falls on hard times. Eventually he has an epiphany and takes care of his father, when he sees him destitute working as a human advertisement at a restaurant.

Then, after a brief intermission, (arguably) the greatest silent film ever made.

SUNRISE (1927): I've seen this twice on the big screen. But never with the "right" score. Once, in fact, with a solo electric guitar score, which was...interesting. So not only was I looking forward to just watching it again (it is a movie that gets better every time you watch it) I was specifically looking for whether I felt the supernatural elements I picked up on during that electric guitar version (it is, after all, a SONG OF TWO HUMANS...although it's a love triangle...(essays could be written on which two of the three of them are humans.) And at first...I was convinced it was there. Particularly in an early scene where The Man (George O'brien) is sitting and the superimposed image of The Woman From the City (Margaret Livingston) appears to caress him. Now that could just be that he can't get her out of his mind. But it also could be a ghostly, supernatural power over him. But in the end, the big storm...I was viewing that as just a freak storm, not something she whipped up with her magical succubus powers. I don't know, future viewings might change my mind again, and that's part of the fun. But I also noticed that when The Man and The Woman (Janet Gaynor) fall back in love in The City, it was a much more important part of the movie this time. I had sort of glossed over it before as that fluffy bit of comedy in the middle of the movie. But it's a long stretch of the movie (at least half?) and extraordinarily important. There is a progress to them falling back in love, and that whole middle act of the film is an excellent romantic comedy. And then the storm, exciting action, and high melodrama again. And I think it's that shifting from melodrama to comedy to melodrama that perplexes audiences the first time around and makes it a movie you need to watch multiple times in order to appreciate.

At least, that's what I think this time. Knowing this movie, the next time I see it (and there will be a next time) my opinions will change again.

Total Running Time: 118 minutes
My Total Minutes: 363,222

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