There’s a magic in Frank Borzage’s “Moonrise”


Sometimes we don’t expect or even deserve a happy ending, and get one anyway. Frank Borzage was one of the most talented filmmakers working in Hollywood’s silent and early sound period, churning out an astonishing number of movies in the ‘20s and ‘30s.

But by 1948, when he made “Moonrise,” he was all but forgotten, dutifully churning out pictures for studios like B-movie house Republic Pictures for little acclaim. But “Moonrise,” now out in a new Blu-ray edition from the Criterion Collection, was an unexpected masterpiece, melding the romantic expressionism of Borzage’s silent films while setting film noir tropes on their head. Instead of following an innocent man trapped in a web of intrigue, we follow a guilty man, redeemed when he least expects it.

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