I saw two tonight (on a nightshift), both by F.W. Murnau.
The first one was Der Brennende Acker (1922) aka Burning Soil. It was made just before Nosferatu. I bought my copy at ebay (from bill2001). The picture quality was like something from a bad, old VHS tape, and it really made it difficult to watch the film (it is also only 78 min. long so it looks like some of the scenes are missing).
I loved the film, even in this bad condition. It is really the story of the prodigal son, mostly with out the father. The interpretation is actually quite interesting, but I can’t explain why with out giving away the end. So you just have to trust me on that one.
The film is quite dramatic and dark, even surprisingly dark at times. An superb film from one of the best directors of all time 8/10 (might even get a higher score with better transfer and in full length). Here’s hoping that this film will get the treatment it deserves.
The other Murnau film I saw was City Girl (1930). This film came as a complete surprise. What a masterpiece!!! It may very well be Murnau’s second best film (after Sunrise). It is extremely well made and the acting is superb. I can’t for the life of me understand why this film is not better known. And why it has not got the DVD treatment it deserves.
I bought my copy at ebay (from emoviez). The transfer is actually quite good, considering that this is a private seller. The music was how ever quite tiring and repetitive, most likely just put there to have something playing, for the ones that can’t stand the silence.
Murnau plays with some of the same motives as in Sunrise, but with a totally different approach. It is especially interesting to compare the City girl in Sunrise and the one in this film. I also wonder if he was not also dealing with his own past, but the father in the film really resembles what we know about Murnau’s own father.
A must see!!! 10/10