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Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
Lem goes to Chicago to sell the wheat his family has grown on their farm in Minnesota. There he meets the waitress Kate. They fall in love and get married before going back to the farm. Kate is accepted by Lem's mother and kid sister but is rejected by his father, who believes she married for the money. (And the fact that Lem didn't get a fair price for the wheat is her fault too). The reapers arrive and quickly they make things even more complicated by making their move on Kate. Lem misunderstands the situation and believes Kate is actually interested. In despair Kate leaves the farm and Lem goes looking for her. Written by
Frank Dabelstein <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Was Murnau the greatest director ever? His life was cut short by a car accident in 1931, when he was 42 years old. What magical films he would have made had he lived.
"City Girl" is a fairly conventional story of a young man from the country who falls in love with a waitress on his first trip to the city. He marries her and brings her home to a hostile father. But Murnau takes this material and turns it into an expressionist exploration of sexuality, powering it with a theme of "it's not where we live but how we live". Within a world of hostile shadows and menacing crowds real people live and breathe in brilliant naturalistic performances. Farrell and Duncan are amazingly good. And even the smallest part is played with vivid life.
But the real star is Murnau's startling direction. Tracking shots years ahead of their time - watch the scene where the couple run through a field of wheat - extraordinary point of view shots, and remarkable shots of and in fast moving wagons. The frightening city seen in "Sunrise" is here again - with trains and crowds obscuring vision and soot on the pot plants. And then there is the beauty of the countryside and the harvesting of wheat.
Murnau made what I believe to be the best silent film ever with "Sunrise" in 1927. With "City Girl" he comes close to matching it. A must. I saw the original silent version which runs at 90 minutes. Apparently a shorter talkie version also exists.
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