December 28: F. W. Murnau

MurnauOn this day in 1888, one of history’s first great film directors was born. F. W. Murnau was a leader of the German Expressionist film movement and the creator of many silent masterpieces. Murnau was a versatile film director, and nothing quite exemplifies this like two of his out and out masterpieces: The horror film Nosferatu and the romantic drama Sunrise.

Murnau’s 1922 film Nosferatu is an all time horror classic. It’s an unofficial adaptation of Dracula that despite the technical limitations of its day, it features some of the creepiest imagery ever committed to film. If you’re like me, the shadowy sequence of Count Orlok creeping up a flight of stairs is enough to make your skin crawl.

On the flipside, Sunrise is a beautiful humanistic fairy tale about a married couple rediscovering their love for each other. Of course, this all happens after the husband considers murdering his wife so he can be with his mistress. As strange as that plot might sound, it’s a beautiful film that again features striking imagery. In fact, at the first Academy Awards, Sunrise won the Oscar for Best Unique and Artistic Production, an award that is the equivalent of the modern Best Picture Oscar.

Tonight, why not enjoy one of these two silent pictures with a nice cocktail? For Nosferatu, the obvious choice is the Vampire Kiss, which we talked about two months ago and for Sunrise, why not mix a Tequila Sunrise? This basic cocktail was created by Gene Sulit, a bartender at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel sometime during the 1930s or 1940s.

Tequila Sunrise

  • 1 1/2 ounces Tequila
  • 3 ounces orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce grenadine

Pour the tequila and orange juice into a highball glass over ice. Then add grenadine and do not stir,  let it sink to the bottom. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

Tomorrow: A motorcycle pioneer.

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One response

  1. […] award for Best Unique Artistic Production. This award was only awarded that first year and went to F. W. Murnau‘s beautiful film Sunrise. While Wings has subsequently been reduced to the answer to the […]

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