Sunrise – 1927 (A Review)

I love silent film. I’m not a huge fan of movies per se, but I do love film.  I have seen one several times which I would like tSunrise - A Song of Two Humanso recommend for you. It is F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans.

This is a silent film from 1927 with a great score.  It’s the only film I know in which an entire category was invented so it could win an Oscar that year. It’s an Expressionist film, but it’s not Cabinet of Dr. Caligari Expressionism, even though the characters are named The Man, The Wife, The Woman from the City, and they hail from places like The Farm and City.  Very fundamental. But the use of light and shadow, and Murnau’s interest in light as a character in the film, is fantastic. Murnau also directed the original Nosferatu, another silent film you should definitely watch should you get the chance.

But back to Sunrise.  Of course, the woman from the city is a typical man-eating Vamp who smokes cigarettes and likes showing the outline of her legs through her black dress.  She has mesmerized The Man and while they are making love on the shore of the water by moonlight she talks him into drowning his wife and making it look like an accident.  He is tormented. We see scenes of him wrestling with his conscience as ghostly images of The Woman from the City embraces and kisses him.  He decides to go through with the murder.

Everything in this film works, even, I suspect, quite by accident. In one scene, as The Man and The Wife are in a boat headed across the water and come to tie up at a pier, we see a black swirl of water behind her. It’s a spooky metaphor for the danger she’s in, and I’m quite certain it’s real and not a special effect.

Janet Gaynor plays The Wife. Rarely have I ever seen anyone as fragile and innately vulnerable as she appears on screen. She is perfect for the role, as is Margaret Livingston who plays the Vamp.
Torment and love in Murnau's Sunrise
I don’t want to say much else about the plot. I don’t want to spoil it for you. But the search on the water by lamplight (an incredible achievement considering the technology back then) has been copied in a ton of films since.  And for good reason: it’s freaking AWESOME. The play of light on water, the light and shadow on the faces…Wow.

I highly recommend this film. As a writer this film also fascinates me because the story is simple, but Murnau brings layers of complexity to it.

If you ever get the chance I urge you to see it.  You may find your outlook on life changes a little.

It’s that good, and that powerful.



Planning another camping trip…with writing a novel on the side!

Thinking about going camping this weekend. A couple of reasons. It’s getting late in the year and if I wait much longer it’s going to get cold. I don’t like the cold. I can deal with the heat much better. Just me. 😛

There are also the buffalo. I’d like to follow them around for a day and watch ’em interact with one another and the environment and see what makes them tick. I also like the solitude and quiet, of course.

But I think the major reason is I am very close to pulling the trigger on this new Haxan prequel novel. The story is coming into shape in my mind and I am getting close to the “start making notes and doing research” phase. Since that is the case I’d like to tie that in with some other act, like going camping.

Right now the changes are 50/50 I will go. I don’t need to go camping, either, to start preliminary work on a new novel. I just thought it would make a nice start with a camping trip. I’m going to start the notes and stuff next week whether I’m at Caprock Canyon or not. Maybe I can meet my writing buddy if I’m not going camping; that would be nice.

As you can see I have a lot to think about, haha. But I am looking forward to writing/working on a new project. Oh, and I have some more news on the “publishing my backlog of stories” thing going on in the background. I found someone who can do covers for me via barter, so that works out. He can’t do all my stuff, but it should give me a lead in while I try and learn how to use PhotoShop with my limited brain.

Other than that everything is fine here. I’m starting to get excited about Halloween and it’s not even October yet! 😀

Dreams of a Young Writer: A Personal Post

When I was little, oh, I guess about ten or eleven, I had a big poster thumbtacked to the wall above my bed. If I’m not mistaken I got it from a local library, but I can’t remember. It was a poster I bet a lot of kids didn’t have in their rooms, now or then.

It was a poster featuring the pictures and biographies of famous writers. People like George Orwell, Mark Twain, Margaret Mitchell, James Joyce, H.G. Wells, Virginia Woolfe, and about ten or fifteen others I can’t remember. I think it had Poe and Kafka.

Anyway, it was a great poster. I wish I had it today. I can’t remember exact details, only vague impressions of what it looked like. It was big with a black background and most of the photographs of the famous writers were in black and white. Beside each photograph was a short biography and there may have been a quote included, as well, either from the writer or one of their most famous works. I can’t remember. Those details are too tiny and have slipped through the cracks of my memory.

But here is my main point. I was a little boy, and I had a poster featuring writers hanging above my bed. I mean, come on.

I think about that sometimes. I think about the little roads and threads that came into my life through all those little disparate moments. All I had were dreams back then. Hell, all I have are dreams today. I don’t care how famous you get, I think all writers are spurred on by more and more dreams that keep them awake at night and keep them thinking, planning, working.

I can’t help but think about stuff like that sometimes, given my past. I sometimes wonder what I would tell myself if I could walk through that doorway and see that little boy lying in bed, and what I would tell him. I guess I would tell him, “Hey, don’t worry. Believe it or not you get through this, and you do become a writer. So just keep going.”

Then again, that little boy has never left me. He’s still there, lying in bed, looking up at that poster and wondering what it will take to be a real writer. What you have to sacrifice, what you have to work at, who you have to know, and what you have to learn.  He’s still there, with me.

He will always be with me.

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