Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dvd/150: CITY GIRL (F.W. Murnau, 1930)

Three years after his masterpiece SUNRISE, Murnau returned to the town vs. country clash in CITY GIRL.  As it was 1930 a sound-incorporated version was released but it is the silent version that survives.

Young farmer Lem comes to Chicago to sell his father's wheat.  Lonely Lem falls for Mary Duncan's city-smart waitress Kate although her cynical nature hides a girl equally lonely in the city.

Yearning for peace, Kate happily agrees to marry Lem when he has to return home.  Their happiness is shattered when his domineering father repremands Lem for selling the stock short and for marrying a tart, even striking Kate when alone with her.

Kate loses respect for Lem bowing to his father's dominance while also facing the father's hatred and the lustful attentions of the farm's hired reapers.  Then one dark and stormy night...

Moments of lyrical beauty offset the plot's later melodramatic turns.

Shelf or charity shop?  Shelf!

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