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7th Heaven

One of the silent era’s greatest love stories, starring perfect screen couple Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, finds Frank Borzage creating a cinematic heaven.

Dir Frank Borzage
Prod William Fox
With Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Albert Gran
USA
1927
117min
UK Distribution Park Circus Limited

7th Heaven was completed after but released before FW Murnau’s Sunrise (1927). Both starred new talent Janet Gaynor, and the hint of German expressionism and style that both display suggest that Borzage’s film may have been informed by Murnau’s. (Watch out for the clever tracking shot as they ascend the stairs.) The first of 12 features to star Gaynor and the impossibly handsome Charles Farrell – in an interesting role reversal, she was the actor who won Oscars and he was the decorative one – this tells the tale of a Parisian couple, lost souls living amongst society’s lower echelons. Love takes them to a seventh heaven, represented here by a seventh-floor Paris attic where they attempt to escape the grim realities of life and war.

Bryony Dixon

Additional information

Live musical accompaniment by Costas Fotopoulos.

Preserved and restored by the Museum of Modern Art, with funding from 20th Century Fox.

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