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"Metropolis" 1927 Movie


tinted still photo of Maria The Machine from Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" [1927] silent film masterpiece            

synopsis & history

the authors

the movie

other works

books

poster gallery

links


"There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator."
— character Maria, in "Metropolis" [1927]


Synopsis

           A work of genius, a wondrous & sensational experience, with special effects that still astound almost a century later. A hundred years in the future, the vast city-state of Metropolis is run by two distant groups: the managers, who live in luxury and have no idea how things work, and the workers, who live underground and have no vision or purpose. Beautiful Maria exhorts the workers not to revolt, but to hold off and wait for the 'Mediator' who will unite the two halves of society. Freder, son of the city's dictator, sees Maria and is infatuated; he follows her down into the underground and is astounded at what he discovers there; he joins her cause.
           The dictator conspires with an evil scientist to make their new robot look like Maria. They imprison the real Maria and send the robot out; the robot first excites the male gentry with an exotic dance at the Yoshiwara nightclub, then descends into the workers' realm and incites a full-scale rebellion. The workers destroy the city's main power generator, causing the city's reservoirs to overflow. The workers believe that all their children are drowned, not knowing that Freder and real Maria have saved them.
           In deep despair, the workers attack the upper city. They believe real Maria incited the rebellion, and chase her; she escapes and the mob captures robot Maria and burn her at the stake. Realizing that their victim is indeed a robot and not human, Freder locates real Maria on the rooftop of the cathedral and fights with the scientist to save her. The dictator is horrified to find his son in battle with the scientist, and when the scientist falls to his death, the dictator happily reunites with his son and welcomes Maria. Freder then unites the dictator and the leader of the workers, thus fulfilling his destiny as the prophesied Mediator.

History of The Film
           Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou (who were married at the time) wrote the screenplay for "Metropolis" in 1924; von Harbou wrote a novelization that was published in 1926. "Metropolis" was produced at the Babelsberg Studios in Germany by Universum Film A.G. (U.F.A., the national film studio of Weimar Germany); production took two years and was so costly that U.F.A. nearly went bankrupt (one estimate of the cost in today's dollars is $200 million). The Expressionist visuals are astounding even today, and actually influenced architectural styles thru the early XXth Century. The film premiered in Berlin on 10 January 1927 with a length of 210 minutes. The film was re-edited for wider distribution by Channing Pollock, who hated the film and tore out great chunks of the story; his version ran 159 minutes.
           Pathé released a much-shortened version on 9.5mm film {for home use?} in 1933. The U.S copyright lapsed in 1953, and many public domain versions were in circulation, on 16mm and later on VHS & DVD. But after the Golan v. Gonzales lawsuit was unsuccessful in blocking new copyrights for the restored versions, the U.S. copyright was restored in 1998. Music producer Giorgio Moroder made a restored version of the film in 1984; the modern musical track was not well-received; that version runs 87 minutes and is color-tinted (supposedly per Lang's original intention). After discovery of an original script and musical score, film historian Enno Patalas made a thorough attempt to restore the movie in 1986, using a print from the Museum of Modern Art's collection.
           The F.W. Murnau Foundation/Stiftung [est. 1966] now owns the film's worldwide copyright. In collaboration with Kino International, they released a digitally restored 123-minute version in 2002; it was undertaken by Martin Koerber, and includes a new recording of the original music score by Gottfried Huppertz. Other versions abound at various lengths and film speeds, but the Murnau-Kino release (or the Triad DVD of 2008) is the best then-available.
           A possible original copy of the movie was found in 2005 in the film archive of Universidad de Chile and sent to Germany. In June 2008, a 16mm print that runs 210 minutes was discovered in an archive in Buenos Aires, Argentina; it appears to contain twenty to twenty-five minutes of lost footage (badly in need of restoration); a new restoration print with these elements in place was released in 2009.
           Film composer Giorgio Moroder constructed a new rock music soundtrack for the extant "Metropolis" in 1984. After the 2010 restoration, the Murnau Foundation and Kino/Lorber combined the longer version with Moroder's score; that version is set for a 20-city theatrical release and then DVD & Blu-ray release in November 2011.


Metropolis novelization by Thea Von Harbou from Rock & Co.  Metropolis novelization by Thea Von Harbou from Wildside   "Metropolis" novelization [1926]
by Thea Von Harbou, Introduction by Forrest J. Ackerman

James A. Rock & Co. 11x8 75th Anniv pb [11/2001] for $18.68
Wildside Press 8¾x6 pb [9/2003] for $13.45
Edcon 11x8¼ YA graphic/comic pb [1/2008] for $9.31

Magic Lantern's Fritz Lang [1890-1976] Page
Fritz Lang entry at Wikipedia
Fritz Lang film credits [1916-74] at Internet Movie Database

Thea Von Harbou [1888-1954] entry at Wikipedia
Thea Von Harbou film credits [1920-62] at Internet Movie Database



"Metropolis"
[U.F.A./Paramount January 1927 silent]

official movie site after the 2010 restoration
film credits at Internet Movie Database
film entry at Wikipedia

Co-written & directed by Fritz Lang; co-written by Thea Von Harbou; cinematography & special effects by Karl Freund,
Günther Rittau, Walter Ruttmann, Eugen Schüfftan, Ernst Kunstmann, Konstantin Irmen-Tschet & Erich Kettelhut;
starring Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Alfred Abel, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Fritz Rasp, Theodor Loos, Erwin Biswanger
& Heinrich George; listed on Time Magazine's All-TIME 100 Movies (5/2005)

Kino Intl. 148-minute version on Blu-ray [11/2010] for $29.49
Extras on Blu-ray disk include a new 50-minute documentary, an interview with Paula Felix-Didier
(curator at the Museo del Cine, in Buenos Aires), and official trailer for the 2010 restoration

Triad Ent. 123-minute Enhanced Edition DVD [11/2008] for $19.95
Synergy b&w DVD [5/2007] for $9.99
Hollywood Classics 115-minute b&w DVD [10/98] out of prodn/used

Paramount Restored Authorized Edition 117-minute VHS [2/2003] out of prodn/used
Good Times Home Video 118-minute b&w VHS [1/2002] out of prodn/used
Paramount 126-minute b&w VHS [2/96] out of prodn/used

Metropolis 1927 film critical text book by Thomas Elsaesser  
"Metropolis" critical text [2008]
by Thomas Elsaesser

British Film Institute7¼x5¼ pb [1/2008] for $11.96

Giorgio Moroder Presents "Metropolis"  
[Murnau/Kino Lorber Nov 2011]
Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis on DVD & Blu-ray  Film composer Giorgio Moroder constructed a new rock music soundtrack for the extant "Metropolis" in 1984. After the 2010 restoration, the Murnau Foundation and Kino/Lorber combined the longer film with Moroder's score; that version is set for a 20-city theatrical release and then DVD & Blu-ray release in November 2011. Music written by Giorgio Moroder, Pete Bellotte, and others; performers include Jon Anderson, Adam Ant, Pat Benatar, Cycle V, Loverboy, Freddie Mercury, composer Moroder, Billy Squier & Bonnie Tyler
official movie site for the 2011 Moroder version
2011 version will be released on DVD & Blu-ray in November 2011
Paramount 153-minute b&w DVD [2/2003] for 19.99
Third Coast Ent. 153-minute b&w VHS [undated] for $13.25
Vestron Video 81-minute b&w VHS [2002] out of prodn/used
Columbia Records soundtrack CD [12/2009] 10 tracks for $11.98

·            ·

Other Works

Metropolis  "Metropolis" musical stageplay [1989]
Original music & lyrics by Joe Brooks & Dusty Hughes; performed in London, England in 1989 and in Cicero,
Illinois in 1990; revised by Joe Brooks & Randy Bowser, and performed in Salem, Oregon in 2002
entry at Wikipediaofficial play website
Superman's Metropolis graphic novel by Lofficier, Thomas & McKeever  
"Superman's Metropolis" [1997]
story by Randy Lofficier & Roy Thomas, illustrated by Ted McKeever

Clearly based on Lang's silent film, with Superman in the Freder role, and Lex Luthor as the evil scientist; the retro illustrations are in full color.
DC Comics/Elseworlds 10¼x7 pb [1/97] out of print/used
Metropolis 2001 anime film directed by Rintaro  "Metoroporisu" animé feature film [Toho Japan May 2001, USA Jan 2002]
Graphic artist Osamu Tezuka was inspired by a poster for the 1927 "Metropolis" movie to create his very popular manga comic books, first published in the late 1940s; he apparantly never saw the film, and Tezuka's manga tales have very little similarity with Lang's story. The animé film by Katsuhiro Ôtomo & Rintaro was somewhat modernized, though the graphics were intentionally kept close to Tezuka's style. The basic storyline in the animated film is that a detective and his young son arrive in the city of Metropolis seeking a mad scientist, whose talents have produced a female robot who thinks that she is human. Directed by Rintaro; script by Katsuhiro Ôtomo; Japanese voices by Yuka Imoto, Kei Kobayashi, Kouki Okada, Tarô Ishida & Kousei Tomita: English voices by Rebecca Forstadt, Brianne Siddall, Michael Reisz, Jamieson Price & Simon Prescott
Sony color DVD [4/2002] 2 disks for $21.99
Columbia TriStar UMD format for PSP [3/2006] for $17.99
Columbia TriStar color VHS [9/2002] out of prodn/used
full credits from IMDbBandai Visual official movie site

The ArchAndroid concept album by Janelle Monáe  "The ArchAndroid" [2010]
Co-written & performed by Janelle Monáe;
co-written & produced by Chuck Lightning & Nate Wonder

Atlantic Records music CD [5/2010] 18 tracks for $9.99



Books About 'Metropolis'

Fritz Lang's Metropolis Cinematic Visions book edited by Minden & Bachmann  "Fritz Lang's Metropolis: Cinematic Visions of
Technology & Fear" [2002]
Edited by Michael Minden & Holger Bachmann

Camden House 9½x6 pb [10/2002] for $29.95



'Metropolis' Poster Gallery

'Metropolis' posters category at AllPosters.com

Metropolis 1927 movie poster gold robot
retail source
not found
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - pink robot
retail source
not found
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - red columns on sides
retail source
not found
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - b&w tower
retail source
not found
Metropolis 1927 movie poster for the 2002 restoration
2002
restoration

27"x40" poster
from Amazon

27"x40" poster
from Amazon

11"x17" poster
from Amazon
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - color tower
27"x40" poster
from Amazon
Metropolis 1927 movie - photo of robot Maria walking
robot Maria
walking

11"x17" poster
from AllPosters.com

Metropolis 1927 movie poster - real Maria & apparatus
photo of
real Maria inside
apparatus

giclee print
{4 sizes}
from AllPosters.com

b&w photo poster
{4 sizes}
from Amazon
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - flames
giclee print
{3 sizes}
from AllPosters.com
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - robot in red circle
11"x17" poster
from AllPosters.com

11"x17" poster
from Amazon
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - green face & tower
27"x40" poster
from Amazon

11"x17" poster
from Amazon
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - greeen face
27"x40" poster
from Amazon

11"x17" poster
from Amazon
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - Majestic Theater
poster from
Majestic Theater

11"x17" poster
from Amazon
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - gold-color half-sheet on black background
half-sheet
(gold color)

11"x17" poster
from AllPosters.com

11"x17" poster
from Amazon
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - pale yellow half-sheet on black background
half-sheet
(pale yellow)

27"x40" poster
from Amazon

11"x17" poster
from Amazon
Metropolis 1927 movie poster - white half-sheet on black background
half-sheet
(white)

retail source
not found


L i n k s

official movie site for the 2002 restoration
film entry at Wikipedia
ACA's 'Metropolis' fansite
PL's French-language 'Metropolis' fansite


See also Magic Lantern Video & Book Store's
"A Christmas Story" 1983 Movie Page
"A Star Is Born" Movies Page
"The African Queen" 1951 Movie Page
"All The President's Men" 1976 Movie Page
"Apocalypse Now" 1979 Movie Page
"The Birth of A Nation" 1915 Movie Page
"Blade Runner" 1982 Movie Page
"Casablanca" 1942 Movie Page
"Citizen Kane" 1941 Movie Page
"Doctor Who" TV Series Page
"Easy Rider" 1969 Movie Page
"Walt Disney's Fantasia" 1940 & 2000 Movies Page
"Fellini's 8½" 1963 Movie Page
"The General" 1926 Movie Page
"Ghostbusters" Movies & TV Page
'The Godfather Saga' Page
"Gone With The Wind" 1939 Movie Page
"The Grapes of Wrath" 1940 Movie Page
von Stroheim's "Greed" 1924 Movie Page
'Harry Potter' Movies Page
'Lone Wolf & Cub' Samurai Film Series Page
'Lord of The Rings' & 'The Hobbit' Movies Page
Magic Lantern's "Metropolis" 1927 Movie Page  «« you are here
"Pandora's Box" 1929 Movie Page
'Pirates of The Caribbean' Movie Series Page
Godfrey Reggio's 'Qatsi' Trilogy Page
'Rocky' Movies Page
"Salt of The Earth" 1954 Movie Page
"Seven Samurai" & "Magnificent Seven" Movies Page
"Sunset Blvd." 1950 Movie Page
"Treasure Island" Movies [1912-2010] Page
Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" Movie Page
"The Wizard of Oz" 1939 Movie Page
and also BlackHat Mystery Bookstore's 'The Thin Man' Movies Page
and BlackHat Mystery Bookstore's "The Maltese Falcon" 1941 Movie Page
and Spirit of America Bookstore's "Alice In Wonderland" Books, Stageplays & Movies Page
and Spirit of America Bookstore's "Ben-Hur" Novel & Movies Page
and Spirit of America Bookstore's 'Tarzan' Movies Page

˜                   ˜

Online sales in association with  search for books about the movie 'Metropolis' at Amazon

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