* CITY GIRL *
"Our daily bread" - 1930"
Freidrich Wilhem MURNAU
Mary Duncan as Kate
Charles Farrell as Lem Tutsine
David Torrence as Mr Tutsine
Edith Yorke as Me Tutsine
Anne Shirley as Marie Tutsine
Richard Alexander as Mac
(incrustation: click on blue right button)
|* LOVEBIRDS *|
1930 is the penultimate movie of FW Murnau, now more American than German. These are especially the last moments of the silent cinema and a sinister period of recession with the crisis of 1929.
Despite the relative failure of "Sunrise", the Fox support Murnau but will nevertheless reduce his ambitions, he wanted to make a lyrical epic around wheat, he settled for this sentimental drama.
Terrence Mallick will probably take up this challenge with "the harvest of heaven" whose filiation is obvious.
We find a little the situation of "Sunrise" with the opposition town-country, Murnau is undoubtedly nostalgic of his German campaign. But if in 1927 he took us from the countryside to the city, here he does the opposite, the "city girl" being this time much more in the spotlight.
Once again we find a superb photograph, portraits are amazing, but that's the unequaled effect of the B&W, and once again really great actors. Sometimes I wonder if speaking is really an artistic progress ?
There is something poetic in this B&W, perhaps the absence of colors, this visual austerity, rests our eyes and avoids to disperse them to better concentrate on the essential, and ditto for the director who cannot count on that to dazzle the viewer, he only has the story and the acting.
Again, a lot of humor, as in the train, and especially good moments of emotions, it's really the most American Murnau's movie, forgotten German expressionism and place to feelings. The best moments being at the restaurant with the birth of Love.
The core of the film is finally the harshness of the prejudices:
A waitress is a bitch !
Generalization and prejudices aren't they a calamity ?
So there is a strong opposition between the city and the countryside, the city emancipate, especially women, it is the time of the suffragettes and the vote given to the women whereas the campaign is stuck in its patriarchal and religious traditions.Finally it is quite the same everywhere. These films reflects the society of the time with the submissive woman and the father, tyrannical head of the family.
Unlike "Sunrise" this time the city girl has the best role, she is the victim, she's the only one with virtue. Men are toughly mocked, in the city as in the countryside they are described rude, vicious and clumsy, and the contrast with the beauty of elegant women in outfits and deeds suggests that Murnau loved them and lamented the predominantly dominant macho behavior. Lem is finally the only "handsome" man in the movie, but times were very rough and the men had not enough time for "good" manners and no time to woo.
This movie seems to be a small classical romance, no, no ,no, it's a delicious Love story, and the only flaw of the film is its short duration, but that's probably due to the FOX, not at all visionary and seeing the cinema as financial results in short terms, like most producers. So the end is far too quickly shipped, and we would have loved to see the new life of Kate, after the evolution of Mr Tustine.