In this melodrama a farmer is forced to choose between a seductive it girl from the big city and his simple and innocent country wife.
Sunrise was German filmmaker F.W. Murnau’s (“Nosferatu”; “The Last Laugh”) first of four American films before his tragic death in a car accident in 1931.
Producer William Fox (founder of Fox Film that became a part of nowadays 20th Century Fox which presently is owned by Rupert Murdoch) granted Murnau maximum artistic freedom for this film that brought his studio a lot of prestige, but poor revenues.
The film received three Oscars at the first ceremony of the Academy Awards in 1929. The categories at that time were a bit different, but would nowadays approximately equal for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Janet Gaynor as the farmer’s wife) and Best Cinematography (Charles Rosher and Karl Struss). The film furthermore received one Oscar nomination for Best Art Direction (Rochus Gliese).
Murnau: “I think films of the future will use more and more of these ‘camera angles’, or, as I prefer to call them, these ‘dramatic angles’. They help photograph thought.”
IMDb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018455/