Samuel Goldwyn Theater
8949 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Preceded by the short film Steamboat Willie (1928), with a post-screening dessert reception.
Hosted by Academy President John Bailey and Oscar-nominated production designer Jeannine Oppewall.
In celebration of the anniversary of the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, we are honored to present the premiere of a newly struck 35mm preservation print of Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927).
In June 1926, German filmmaker F.W. Murnau (1888-1931) traveled to Los Angeles under contract with producer William Fox, who offered the highly coveted artist complete creative and financial independence to direct Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927). Shot at the twilight of silent cinema, the film was inspired by a short story by Hermann Sudermann and adapted by frequent Murnau collaborator Carl Mayer. The story is centered on the life of a married couple from a rural town (George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor), whose apparent perfect love is stirred by the arrival of a city woman (Margaret Livingston). Considered a masterpiece of American-German cinema, Sunrise’s striking visual imagery featured a combination of location shooting (including Coronado Beach and Lake Arrowhead) with intricate artificial sets built at with expressionistic techniques at exorbitant expense by production designer Rochus Gliese at Fox Hills in West Los Angeles), and shot by cinematographers Charles Rosher and Karl Struss. Although it is a silent film, it featured a synchronized musical score and sound effects upon its release.
The film was awarded three Oscars during the first Academy Awards ceremony, which was held in 1929 and honored films released in 1927 and 1928. In addition to receiving a nomination for Art Direction for Gliese’s work, Sunrise won in the categories of Actress (Gaynor, whose award honored her work in Sunrise, 7th Heaven and Street Angel), Cinematography (Rosher and Struss), and Unique and Artistic Picture (Fox Film Corp.). After Murnau’s untimely death due to a car accident near Santa Barbara, he left an impressive film legacy that included the German films Nosferatu the Vampire (1922), The Last Laugh (1924) and Faust (1926).
35mm, B&W, 95 minutes
Restored by the Academy Film Archive in collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox and the British Film Institute
Directed by F.W. Murnau. Produced by William Fox. Screenplay Carl Mayer. Based on a story by Hermann Sudermann. Cast: George O’Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston, Bodil Rosing, J. Farrell MacDonald, Ralph Sipperly, Jane Winton.