Winner of three awards at the very first Academy Awards – Best Photography (Cinematography), Best Actress, and Best Unique and Artistic Picture – director F.W. Murnau’s 1927 silent classic Sunrise (aka Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans) comes to The Frida Cinema on Saturday, February 9th with a Live Score by composer, musician, author, and educator Jack Curtis Dubowsky and his Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble (JCDE)!
Debuting a brand new score to the classic love story in a live concert performed as the film plays overhead, JCDE has arranged haunting sounds that perfectly complement Murnau’s masterpiece, shot in his trademark Expressionist style. The score is only the latest in a series of acclaimed original scores that Dubowsky has written for classic films, including Murnau’s Nosferatu, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, The Mark of Zorro, and The Phantom Carriage.
Considered by countless film historians to be the finest silent film ever made by a Hollywood studio, F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise represents the art of the wordless cinema at its zenith. Based on the Hermann Sudermann novel “A Trip to Tilsit,” Sunrise stars George O’Brien as a farmer who is happily married to his loving wife (Oscar winner Janet Gaynor), only to find himself falling under the seductive spell of Margaret Livingston, a temptress from The City. Callously ignoring his wife and child and stripping his farm of its wealth on behalf of Livingston, the farmer finds himself enchanted by the bewitching vamp’s stories of city life — and all the jazz, bright lights, and erotic excitement that goes with it — and finds himself seriously considering a diabolical scheme she suggests to rid himself of his wife once and for all. Will the farmer lose his soul to the sordid temptations of the flesh — or will true love prevail?
Tickets to this special event are $13.50, and include both the film and the performance, which will be presented simultaneously as a live-score event! The Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble is composed of founder/conductor/composer Dubowsky; Jeff L. Schwartz on double bass; Charles Sharp on woodwinds and electronics; R. Scott Dibble on keyboards; Henry Webster on violin and viola; Sean Stackpoole on flute; and Slam Nobles on percussion.
“Dubowsky’s score perfectly matched the German Expressionist cinematography and Gothic horror of Nosferatu. This is not the heavy Hammer Films romanticism of the 1997 James Bernard orchestration, or even the German post-Wagner romanticism of the original Hans Erdmann score (lost for many years), but a mixture of light romantic lyricism (each character has a memorable musically recurring theme), mixed with sparse 20th century experimental music and musical sound effects.” – KPFK’s review of Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble’s performance of Nosferatu
“F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise conquered time and gravity with a freedom that was startling to its first audiences. To see it today is to be astonished by the boldness of its visual experimentation. 4/4“ – Roger Ebert Chicago, Sun-Times