Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” is just incredible. What is amazing is that this 84-year old film has literally caught the attention of cinema fans from various generations throughout several decades.
With each restoration, there is always something new to find in this film and literally, within these last 80+ years, we get closer and closer to the complete “Metropolis” and if for some reason a negative exists of the film out there in complete format without nitrate degradation, I would be surprised but for now, Kino’s “The Complete Metropolis” is magnificent!
We may not have the Joh and Rotwang fight on video but the Argentina negative still provided the roadmap to where scenes go and how the storyline was presented back in 1927 versus to the re-edited versions that appeared in the US and other countries. This is as good as it gets and as a fan of “Metropolis”, I was quite pleased.
But this early sci-fi film was indeed ahead of its time. One of the final masterpieces of the Golden Period of German cinema, German Expressionism portrayed in magnificent fashion.
The cinematography as it captures humans grouped in unison, slaves being overworked but the way they are choreographed, the humans were used architecturally. Their movements, their expressions and how everything flows together quite seamlessly.
The film does have its religious overtones combined with German expressionism to create a scenery of dreamy, dark situations but also a film that provides hope. It’s easy to believe why this film cost way over budget in 1927. Could you imagine the vast miniature and large sets that were built to create the look and feel of this huge city where the management live and then this underground worker’s city that seems dark and dismal. With over 25,000 extras and such elaborate setups way before CGI and green screen, one can only be in awe of German Expressionism and Lang and Harbou at their very best.
And if you are a fan of Weimar Cinema, I highly recommend checking out Noah Isenberg’s book “Weimar Cinema”.
As for “Metropolis”, a must watch for those who truly appreciate cinema. Highly recommended!