The 1927 Metropolis is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest treasures in cinematic history.
Classic and provocative, Metropolis is a grand visual wonder - addressing the power of social inequality and human compassion through epic cinematography that was well ahead of its time. The film made it into UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2001.
The Mediator between Head and Hands must be the Heart!
As it inches ever closer to its 90th anniversary, Fritz Lang’s sci-fi epic Metropolis (1927, Germany) is still one of the most influential films of its kind and may perhaps be one of the gold standards in the genre it helped elevate. Shot in the style of German Expressionism, the behemoth sets, over 37,000 extras, spellbinding visual effects, and possessing one of the most humanistic narratives in science fiction, this silent film is unmissable. Like the Tower of Babel in the center of the eponymous Metropolis, the film - the most expensive ever made when it was released - towers above so many of its peers past and present.
Its sociopolitical commentary on the working class who live below the ground and the capitalistic owners who live above it reflects a desire for reconciliation and understanding between the two. It is an optimism not reflected in the likes of the film most shaped in its mold, Blade Runner.
For those interested in Metropolis, check out the recent Kino release which is 148 minutes long (the original was 153 minutes… the Kino is available via Netflix streaming) and the glorious, sweeping original Gottfried Huppertz score. Do yourself a favor and don’t seek out the 80-minute print with the Giorgio Moroder/Freddie Mercury score. Just don’t.
Metropolis is for the ages. And even with five minutes still missing, it is still a glorious sight to behold.
“Following World War I, after a long imprisonment, two German prisoner-of-war soldiers escape from a Siberian lead-mine. Karl manages to reach Germany before Richard, and is sheltered by Anna, wife of Richard. While Richard is still on his homeward trek, Karl and Anna fall in love. And then Richard comes home.” –IMDb