New to Blu-ray: Sunrise (1927)

   Format: Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Mono)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: January 14, 2014
  • Run Time: 94 minutes


            The integration of sound into cinema came in a transitional period of stages, with an all-out dialogue-filled film being the end result. Before that were scenes of dialogue or music in an otherwise silent film, and even after the advent of sound there were silent films being made. Some of these utilized soundtracks before they did dialogue, because the sound effects could be added after the filming was already completed as a way of enhancing the silent film for audiences on the cutting edge.


            Sunrise utilized the groundbreaking Fox Movietone sound system to provide the audience with a soundtrack to match the magical visuals in F. W. Murnau’s melodrama masterpiece. This 1927 film was released only a month after The Jazz Singer, which contained cinema’s first spoken (and sung) words. Though Sunrise was a technical masterpiece with groundbreaking soundtrack work, it failed to impress audience because it had no spoken words.


            As cutting edge as the sound is, Sunrise also contains a number of impress visuals that call back to the fantasy world of Georges Méliès. This looks fantastic on high definition Blu-ray, providing as much clarity as possible from the best remaining print. It is available both in the original Movietone version as well as the European silent version. There is also standard definition version of both on DVD.


            The special features include a commentary track by ASC cinematographer John Bailey, who also provides optional commentary for the film’s outtakes. Also included in the features is the original scenario by Carl Mayer as well as Murnau’s notes. The Sunrise screenplay is also included, along with restoration notes and the original theatrical trailer.


    Entertainment Value: 6/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 9/10

    Historical Significance: 10/10

    Disc Features: 9/10


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