Moonrise. 1948. USA. Directed by Frank Borzage. With Dane Clark, Gail Russell, Ethel Barrymore. 35mm. 90 min.
In the late 1940s, several veterans of the Fox Film Corporation—including John Ford, Allan Dwan, and Frank Borzage—reassembled at Republic, where former Fox executive James Grainger had become head of sales. None of their films captured the old Fox spirit more elegantly and expressively than Moonrise, in which Borzage pays tribute to the art of his Fox colleague F. W. Murnau (Sunrise), while creating one final masterpiece to cap his own distinguished career. Dane Clark (Pride of the Marines) is a young Appalachian who has grown up fearing that he’ll relive the fate of his father, who was hanged for murder—and then, one dark night at the edge of the swamp, he picks up a rock in anger, and a man falls dead. 35mm preservation print courtesy UCLA Film and Television Archives.