City Girl (Masters of Cinema) Blu-ray
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Directed by F.W. Murnau
Produced in 1930
Main Language - Silent
Countries & Regions - American film
This is FW Murnau's beautiful study of love in the wheatfields of the Minnesota and James Oliver reckons it looks even better than Sunrise.
Having already made a masterpiece about the contrast between rural and urban lifestyles, F.W. Murnau was surely under no obligation to visit the subject again. Yet three years after Sunrise, he paid a return trip with City Girl – a vivid, painterly study of an impulsive and fragile marriage among the wheatfields of Minnesota.
As in Sunrise, a trip to the city brings consequences for a country boy. This is Lem, a farmer selling his crop. He falls for a city girl, the hard-bitten but lonely waitress Kate, and they marry. But back at the farm, under the pressure of his scornful father and the leering farmhands, their romance sours.
Murnau abandoned City Girl after disputes with the studio. Although what we have doesn’t fully reflect his vision, his signature is prominent. In particular, the use of light is remarkable: City Girl is the most beautiful film this great pictorialist ever shot.
Still comparatively obscure, it’s a treasure ripe for rediscovery, newly arriving – 80 years after its original release – in a glorious high-definition transfer.
James Oliver on 27th January 2010
Author of 171 reviews
After the visual fireworks of Sunrise and the now-lost splendour of 4 Devils, F.W. Murnau turned his attention to this vivid, painterly study of an impulsive and fragile marriage among the wheatfields of Minnesota.
During a brief stay in Chicago, innocent farmer’s son Lem falls for and weds Kate, a hard-bitten but lonely waitress. Upon bringing her home at the start of harvest time, the honeymoon soon turns into a claustrophobic struggle as they contend with the bitter scorn of his father and the invasive, leering jealousy of the farm’s labouring community.
Tenderly romantic and tough-minded in equal measure, City Girl is one of cinema’s great pastorals, featuring some of the most delicate performances Murnau ever directed and influencing filmmakers such as Terrence Malick and Jean Vigo.
Publisher: Eureka / Masters of Cinema
Length: 88 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.19:1
Format: Blu-ray B&W
Released: 22nd February 2010
Cat No: EKA70014
- Restored high-definition transfer of the silent version by 20th Century Fox
- A new score, composed and arranged in 2008 by Christopher Caliendo
- Exclusive full-length audio commentary by film scholar David Kalat
- 40-page illustrated booklet with new writing and reprints.