10. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
For those who don’t know, Murnau is the same guy who directed “Nosferatu“. This was one of two films to win best picture at the first ever Oscars(technically it won for “Best Unique and Artistic Production, while the lesser “Wings” won for “Best Picture”).
The premise for the movie is simple: small-town husband wants to leave his wife and run off with a big-city woman. They conspire to kill the wife, but the husband gets cold feet after spending an eventful night in the city with his wife. He realizes he loves her and all is well.
It should be stated that I am a sucker for an evil woman. In this film the big city woman(played by Margaret Livingston, pretty decent by 1920’s standards) is the one who wants him to kill his wife. What I as a viewer am supposed to find abhorrent, somehow becomes attractive. I think it is connected to both my status as a “good-natured doormat“, and the fact that I like strong women. Something about submission and degradation has always interested me, and I guess evil women and femme fatales as they appear in film and other media allows me to explore that without having to do something I might regret.
On filmaffinity.com I rated the film a 9/10, because it’s an engaging melodrama, which is beautifully shot, and technically very innovative. Films shot in 1927 aren’t supposed to look this good.