F.W. Murnau's magnum opus chronicles the dilemma of The Man (George O'Brien) who falls for a woman from the city. The woman from the city (Margaret Livingston) convinces The Man to drown his Wife (Janet Gaynor) to run away with her to the city.
After taking his wife halfway out to the lake, The Man prepares to push her into the waters below, but is unable when he sees her cowering in fear. After running away from him, The Man tries winning her back, and realizes his mistake when they both attend a stranger's wedding in the City after exchanging vows.
After reconciling and having a laughter-filled date in the city, they row back to their home in the boat, but they are capsized before they reach shore. Losing his wife in the murky waters. Conducting a search involving the entire town, she is eventually found half alive in the waters, they rekindle their past love and live happier than ever before.
This film, the first time i saw it, blew me away. The emotional performances from O' Brien and Gaynor make this film a true masterpiece. It also boasts beautiful cinematography, masterful direction, a solid screenplay, and a great ending. This is one of the few silent films I've seen that truly got everything in it right. The suspense of when The Wife was lost at sea, the sheer happiness that overcame my face when they were dancing together surrounded by a giddy crowd in The City, and the powerful church scene were some of the standout moments in this silent classic.
It is also one of the first films to have a full soundtrack for the entire movie, which was beautifully composed by Hugo Riesenfeld, adds gravity and emotion to many of the more tense and important scenes. The camera angles and techniques used made all the more impressive given it was made in 1927.
All in all, it is one of the greatest achievements in film history, and my personal favorite silent film of all time. An essential addition to any movie buff's collection. A must-see.