The Iconic Careers of Directors F.W. Murnau And Frank Borzage At Fox Studios Are Captured In A 12 Film DVD Collection

At the very first Academy Awards® in May, 1929, two directors cemented their place in cinematic history as F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise took home the prize for Unique and Artistic Picture and Frank Borzage garnered Best Director for 7th Heaven. At the time, both men were under contract with William Fox, owner of Fox Film Corporation, who had invested heavily on making sure that movie directors were the stars of his films, gambling that audiences would gravitate to strong stories told by brilliant filmmakers. These awards validated Fox’s vision for movies as an art form and these two director’s craft.

Now, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment presents a collection saluting F. W. Murnau and Frank Borzage whose daring camera movements and visually extravagant styles were integral in the development of modern movies and the studio that allowed them to flourish with MURNAU, BORZAGE AND FOX, available December 9, 2008. Celebrating their collected works, their influence on directorÂ’s to follow and their collaborations with William Fox in the late 1920s and early 1930s, MURNAU, BORZAGE AND FOX features 12 films from the Hollywood legends including newly remastered versions of MurnauÂ’s Sunrise and BorzageÂ’s 7th Heaven, as well as an all-new feature length documentary from filmmaker John Cork looking at William FoxÂ’s patronage and Murnau and BorzageÂ’s effect on the film industry. Additionally, the set features two exclusive hard-cover books showcasing rare, unpublished photos from the careers of both filmmakers, one of which focuses solely on MurnauÂ’s 4 Devils, the lost film considered by those that saw it to be the greatest movie ever made, pushing the boundaries of what Hollywood movies were at the time.

While his career was cut short due to a fatal auto accident in 1931 at the age of 42, the impact of F.W. Murnau on the film community can still be felt to this day. Heralded by his contemporaries such as John Ford, Allan Dwan, William Wellman, Howard Hawks and Raoul Walsh during his time at the studio, William Fox brought the expressionist director from Germany to Hollywood after he saw his 1924 film The Last Laugh. This premiere collection includes two surviving works that Murnau made with Fox from 1927-1930 including the beautifully filmed, three-time Oscar® winner Sunrise (1927) starring Janet Gaynor and George O’Brien and the country set, marital crisis City Girl (1930). Murnau’s lost, and perhaps most famous work 4 Devils (1928) is also paid tribute with a featurette and all-new book focused on the film as well as a look at the screenplay and more. Also included is the rarely seen European silent alternate version of Sunrise, restored by the Nardoni Filmovy Archiv.

Frank Borzage’s career at Fox lasted only seven years, but it would be the silent films he helmed at the studio that would come to define his career as he won the first Best Director Oscar® for 7th Heaven and again in 1931 for Bad Girl. Ten of Borzage’s surviving films are featured in the collection including the melodramatic love story 7th Heaven (1927), another triple-Oscar® winner at the inaugural ceremony also starring Janet Gaynor. Borzage would go on to collaborate with Gaynor two more times at Fox; as a spirited young woman who joins a traveling carnival in Street Angel (1928) and as a young farm girl who falls in love with a soldier during World War I in Lucky Star (1929). Other featured Borzage works include Lazybones (1925), They Had To See Paris (1929), two versions of Song O’ My Heart (1930), Liliom (1930), Bad Girl (1931), After Tomorrow (1932), Young America (1932) and a reconstruction of the lost film The River (1929).

Lastly, Murnau, Borzage & Fox (2008) is a feature length documentary by filmmaker John Cork examining the early history of Fox films and studio head William Fox and his patronage of German expressionist F.W. Murnau. In turn, MurnauÂ’s cinematic styles would influence FoxÂ’s stable of directors including Frank Borzage, John Ford and Raoul Walsh.

A rich collection of true historical significance, MURNAU, BORZAGE & FOX will be available for a suggested retail price of $239.98 U.S. / $269.98 Canada. Prebook is October 29.

Murnau, Borzage And Fox DVD Collection Special Features & Disc Specifics

Lazybones (1925) – Frank Borzage

§ Feature film (1.20:1 aspect ratio)

§ Newly created score composed by Tim Curran

§ Still gallery

Street Angel (1928) – Frank Borzage

· Feature film (1.20:1 aspect ratio)

· Still gallery

7th Heaven (1927) – Frank Borzage

· Feature film (1.20:1 aspect ratio)

· Commentary by film historians Robert Birchard and Anthony Slide

· Still gallery

· The River reconstruction featurette

· The River Still gallery

Sunrise (1927) – F.W. Murnau

· Movietone version of feature film (1.20:1 aspect ratio)

· European silent version of feature film (1.33:1 aspect ratio)

· Original Movietone score

· Olympia Chamber Orchestra score composed and conducted by Timothy Brock

· Commentary by ASC Cinematographer John Bailey

· Outtakes with commentary by John Bailey

· Outtakes with text cards

· Original scenario by Carl Meyer with annotations by F. W. Murnau

· Theatrical trailer

· Still gallery

· Sunrise screenplay

· Restoration notes

Lucky Star (1929) – Frank Borzage

§ Feature film (1.20:1 aspect ratio)

§ Newly created score composed and conducted by Christopher Caliendo

§ Still gallery

The Had To See Paris (1929) – Frank Borzage

§ Feature film (1.20:1 aspect ratio)

§ Still gallery

City Girl (1930) – F.W. Murnau

§ Feature film (1.19:1 aspect ratio)

§ Newly created score composed and conducted by Christopher Caliendo

§ Still gallery

§ Murnau’s 4 Devils: Traces of a Lost Film – a film by Janet Bergstrom

§ 4 Devils screenplay

§ 4 Devils treatment

§ 4 Devils Still gallery

Liliom (1930) – Frank Borzage

§ Feature film (1.20:1 aspect ratio)

§ Still gallery

After Tomorrow (1932) – Frank Borzage

§ Feature film (1.33:1 aspect ratio)

§ Still gallery

Young America (1932) – Frank Borzage

§ Feature film (1.33:1 aspect ratio)

§ Still gallery

Song O’ My Heart (1930) – Frank Borzage

§ Full sound version of film (1.20:1 aspect ratio)

§ Music and Effects version of film (1.20:1 aspect ratio)

§ Still gallery

Bad Girl (1931) – Frank Borzage

§ Feature film (1.20:1 aspect ratio)

Murnau, Borzage And Fox (2008)

§ Feature length documentary (1.66:1 aspect ratio)

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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