City Girl

88 minutes 2013

F.W. Murnau designed his last Hollywood film (1929) as a sweeping pastoral symphony—the story of wheat, from field to table, to be entitled Our Daily Bread. But the commercial failure of his masterpiece, Sunrise, forced him to make major concessions to his producer, William Fox. The film was severely cut and released only after some sound sequences had been added, against Murnau's wishes. The version currently in circulation is a partly restored one, entirely silent and a half hour longer than the original release print, but it's still sadly crippled. Some of Murnau's genius remains in the lighting of individual shots, and particularly in a lyrical sequence in which a man (Charles Farrell), a woman (Mary Duncan), and Murnau's camera dance through a sunlit field.

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