Apart from its sheer poignancy, the main achievement of Murnau's classic silent weepie is how it puts pep into pap. Its folksy fable is distinctly unusual: a love triangle dissolving into an attempted murder is only the start; two thirds of the movie is actually about a couple making up. The tension is allowed to drop in a glorious jazz-age city sequence, and then twisted into breaking-point as a journey of murderous rage is repeated. But its dreamlike realism is also to be enjoyed: when lovers appear to walk across a crowded city street, into (superimposed) fields, and back to kiss in a traffic jam, you have an example of True Love styled to cinema perfection. Simple, and intense images of unequalled beauty. DMacp.
Cast and crew
Janet Gaynor Margaret Livingston Bodil Rosing J Farrell MacDonald George O'Brien