City Girl. 1930. USA. Directed by F. W. Murnau. With Charles Farrell, Mary Duncan, David Torrence. 35mm. 89 min.
Sent to Chicago by his stern Minnesota father (David Torrence) to sell their annual wheat crop, a naïve young farmer (Charles Farrell) falls for a hard-boiled waitress (Mary Duncan) and brings her back home as his wife. Their troubles are only beginning, as they encounter intolerance, envy, and a fierce hailstorm that nearly destroys their harvest. Shot as a silent in 1928 and issued in 1930 in a heavily edited version with awkwardly imposed talking sequences, City Girl remained a bitter memory for everyone concerned until the complete silent version was discovered and restored by MoMA, revealing a mature, complex work with a theme that anticipates Murnau’s last masterpiece, Tabu, and lyrical imagery of the plains that clearly influenced Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven. Preservation funded by the Celeste Bartos Fund For Film Preservation. Accompanied by Donald Sosin, piano.