Movie Review - Metropolis (1927 Germany)
The first time I saw this picture in the mid-1970’s, the 16 mm print was horribly scratched and murky, the scenes were out of order (this picture was re-cut several times by studio hacks instructed to "improve" Lang's masterpiece), and it was sans either title cards or score. The kindly film historian who screened it for me apologized and said that what we watched that night was as close as anyone would ever get to seeing this movie as Lang intended. Not so! The Metropolis you will get today is a true wonder, re-mastered, spliced together in the correct order (there are, however, bits missing that may never be found and restored), with Lang’s title cards and score back in place.
Watch the trailer:
If you are interested in German film classics, here are a few more:
- Movie Review - Nosferatu (1922 - Germany)
F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu is a classic horror film from the silent era based on Bram Stoker's Dracula, but it rises above mere 'classic' status to join the handful of films which are truly 'must see' for anyone who likes great movies!
- Movie Review - Spies (1928 - Germany)
Fritz Lang's 1928 silent classic has been restored and is a real treat for any film lover. One of the first takes on the Evil Mastermind genre, it foreshadows the Bond/spy genre and is a good story taken on its own merits.
- Movie Review - M (1931 - Germany)
Fritz Lang's classic psychological thriller,M, features Peter Lorre in one of his signature roles as the tormented, damaged Becker,the subject of a man hunt in panic stricken Berlin.
- Movie Review - Asphalt (1929 - Germany)
Asphalt is a little known German silent film from 1929 that features stellar performances from the stars and outstanding cinematography, set design and costumes. It's a visual feast and deserves to be watched much more often!
The picture itself is so ahead of its time that it astounds me. First of all, it is the first true full length Sci-Fi film (although the short French 1902 film Le Voyage dans la Lune and Danish 1918 short Himmelskibit predate it), and innovative in the use of special effects, as well. And the theme -- that we are doomed to be slaves to technology even as that same technology provides us with the basics of life -- is more apt today than ever, when our love/hate affair with The New has reached the fullness of its pathos.
Here's more from and about Fritz Lang:
- Movie Review - The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933 - Germany)
A classic psychological thriller and stunning example of early sound film, Fritz Lang's The Testament of Dr. Mabuse is a complex puzzle as well as a movie of great historical significance: banned by the Nazi's as subversive, it compelled Lang to flee
- German Cinema: What You Need to Know About the Silent Era
This is an overview of Germany's silent era from 1912-1929. It highlights some of the classic films of that era and provides some information about the two more popular film movements on the time. Don't think these movies are all outdated because the
Watch this great movie:
The visual elements in Metropolis are absolutely stunning; it is a rich kaleidoscope of Art Deco design and futuristic fantasy. It is a film that can be enjoyed just on the virtues of set design, costume and concept as a work of art even if you pay no attention whatsoever to plot and storytelling.
The usual caveats that apply to any silent era film are pertinent here: the acting had not as yet evolved from broad, gestural stage acting style and the pacing is much more stately than in any contemporary film. Personally, I feel that none of that significantly detracts from its ability to tell a complex story in a coherent and dramatically satisfying way. Besides all that, this is also quite simply a fun picture to watch, filled with surprises and in every way worthy of inclusion on any list of the best movies of all time.
Metropolis is a very cool picture, recommended for all, enjoy!
Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.
(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at RobertaLeeArt.com.)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Running Time: 2 hr.
In Theaters: Mar 13, 1927
On DVD: Feb 18, 2003
Directed By: Fritz Lang
Alfred Abel - Joh Fredersen
Gustav Froehlich - Freder
Rudolf Klein-Rogge - Rotwang
Theodor Loos - Josaphat/Joseph
Heinrich George - Grot (Foreman)
Brigitte Helm - Maria/Robot