METROPOLIS Send This Review to a Friend
I've seen Fritz Lang's silent masterpiece "Metropolis" many times, including in a reconstituted version with a symphony orchestra accompaniment on the very soundstage on which it was shot in Germany, but the newly digitally restored version with added tracked down scenes is by far the most definitive version. After its initial 1927 release, the film was cut and portions of the negative were lost and various versions have been in circulation. But, as released in its new state by Kino International and unveiled at the Film Forum in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the film's original release, "Metropolis" is more astonishing than ever. It is certainly a must discovery for those who haven't seen it, and a must re-discovery for those who have experienced the film in its hacked form.
Lang's futuristic drama, set in an imaginary city with skyscrapers and planes flying amidst them, projected the dehumanization that he and screenwriter Thea von Harbou forecast as a consequence of industrialization and the domination workers by the rich. It is a city in which the wealthy thrive above and the workers live and toil deep below. The imagery and special effects were amazing for their time and are still astounding in retrospect.
Inter-titles have been added to clarify aspects of the plot, also made clearer by dramatic footage that has been added. There is also the reconstituted original score instead of the various types of music applied to other prints. One aspect has a special relevance for today--the creation of a robot duplicate of Maria, the woman who leads the workers. The look-alike robot is meant to mislead them. The idea of duplicating an individual brings to mind, of course, contemporary work on cloning.
Apart from everything else, the film now looks terrific. A Kino International release.