Copyright 10 January 1930 by Fox Film Corporation. U.S. release: 16 February 1930. 8,217 feet. 91 minutes.
SYNOPSIS: A farm boy arrives in Chicago to sell his father's wheat crop, falls for a waitress, marries her and takes her home to Minnesota. His father does not approve and tries to come between the boy and his bride.
NOTES: Filmed as a silent-fortunately Murnau's original cut of the movie survives-City Girl was then considerably tinkered with by studio management in order to turn it into a part-talkie, with disastrous results. The stage play opened on Broadway at the Bijou on 20 August 1925 and ran a modestly successful 52 performances. Helen MacKellar and Buford Armitage starred; Willard Mack directed.
COMMENT: Beautifully filmed, superbly acted (particularly by Charles Farrell and Mary Duncan) romance of the wheatfields, the silent version is available on an excellent DVD from Grapevine Video. The city scenes are so startling in their impressionistic (but nonetheless hectic) pace, which all comes to a charming coda when the lovers meet, we wonder what Murnau is holding in reserve to beguile us back on the farm. We're not kept long in suspense. After a lyrical introduction as the lovers run through the wheat fields, we are brought down to earth when miserly in words, deeds and manner David Torrence comes back on the scene.
How these three clashing personalities resolve their differences is worked out forcefully, if a little melodramatically, but nonetheless in a satisfyingly picturesque manner, thanks equally to the consummate skill of F.W. Murnau in staging, the engrossing acting of the principals, and the superbly lit camerawork of Ernest Palmer.
Action / Drama / Romance
Action / Drama / Romance
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.
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