The keenly anticipated new box set ‘Murnau, Borzage and Fox’ has arrived and cineastes everywhere are rejoicing. The set features 12 films by pioneering directors F.W. Murnau and Frank Borzage, two men that introduced film as a serious artistic medium, while at Fox studios. The set comes with a documentary and two coffee table books … fixing the price at a steep $179.99. In these lean times perhaps the pricetag is rather unreasonable … but for avid film buffs, especially the silent film fan, the price might just be worth it.
I have to say that I hope the titles will eventually be issued individually, but for right now I’m not complaining in the least as the world will finally, finally, have the long-awaited re-issues and first releases of:
Sunrise and City Girl from Murnau (Sunrise being one of the very best films ever made—period) and from Borzage Lazybones, Seventh Heaven (also one of the silent era’s very best), Street Angel, Lucky Star, They Had to See Paris, Liliom, Song O’ My Heart, Bad Girl (which won a best director oscar for Borzage), After Tomorrow and Young America.
For full details, visit Fox’s main page.
And, in celebration of this wonderful release, below is a clip from perhaps the most famous film in the series, Murnau’s Sunrise (1927). If you’ve not seen the film, it is truly a masterpiece of craft–an expressionist’s dreamy canvas set to celluloid, in the key of silence. It is not a talkie, but does feature a synchronized musical soundtrack (following in the footsteps of Warner Brother’s 1926 John Barrymore starrer Don Juan) as well as the first recorded human voices on film. In this scene, troubled husband and wife (the inimitable Janet Gaynor and a solid George O’Brien) are at the peak of their ‘second honeymoon’ following the husband’s repentence at his callous infidelity. They dance a ‘peasant dance,’ and F.W. Murnau’s film cements itself inin the history books: