Maybe it is just that I have come to rely a lot on TV broadcast/VHS/DVDr copies of films lately in order to see some of those really old and rare films, but I was rather jubilant, when I looked at the disc. I think it looks better in motion than the caps suggest (but then that is a typical comment from me). The source material is definitely more visibly damaged than we have come to be used to by other high grade labels, but in this case I still felt it was more in the way of lending the film "patina," than in some films where the wear and tear results in missing frames and jump cuts.
Tryavna, the documentary is by Janes Bergstrom, and for me (having only cursory knowledge of Murnau, Borzage, Fox or the late silent period) it was very instructive. Janet charts the parallel careers of Murnau and Borzage at Fox during the late '20s, beginning with Sunrise and ending with Lucky Star. Credit is given to Murnau for being a huge influence on all of Hollywood; in fact, she suggests that this was a calculated move by William Fox in bringing him to Hollywood. Fox was dominating the industry in those years, and William Fox considered The Last Laugh
the greatest masterpiece of the cinema up to that point. Murnau was invited over to Hollywood on a carte blanche deal that sounds incredibly like the one offered to Orson Welles some years later.
Bergstrom shows how specific scenes and technical innovations on Sunrise
inspired similar scenes in Borzage's films. However, she also points out the strong differences in the way that the two directors portrayed people (especially couples): Murnau was the director of the mind, and Borzage the director of the heart. She also goes on to discuss, how the two directors literally shared the same technical crew and stars. Sometimes technicians and actors would even work on films for both directors simultaneously.
The documentary runs apx. 35 minutes, and is generally a narrative by Bergstrom set to stills and scenes from the various films. I have not seen the Ford at Fox doc. yet, so I cannot answer the extent to which the two pieces are similar.
A great release!