Sunday, June 13, 2010

Metropolis (1927) is...

... many things.

I had the absolute pleasure seeing Kino's newly restored Metropolis (1927) with the 25 minutes of lost footage that was recovered from Buenos Aires, Argentina. What a delight! Carlos took me to the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, MA and we got to see the most complete version of the film on the big screen. This is not the complete version just the most complete. There are still a few missing scenes. However, a lot of missing footage clipped from existing scenes and entire whole scenes were recovered and woven into the film. In hopes of getting this longer version of the movie out to audiences quicker, the lost scenes that were added were not digitally remastered so it's very easy to tell what was missing. One lost scene I was happy to see was with Georgy worker 11811, who switches outfits and lives with Freder, goes off galavanting in the world of the upper class. A pivotal scene which I'm sure for political reasons was removed from various versions. Having it back in the movie helps the plot line and demonstrates the great contrast between the lives of the workers and the lives of the wealthy in Metropolis.

Kino is showcasing this new version in select cities across the US this summer and it will soon be on DVD. If you get an opportunity, please watch it. I had seen this film many times (including once before on the big screen) but watching this new version was like experiencing the film for the very first time.

After I left the theater, I thought about what Metropolis (1927) is, because let's face it, it's more than a movie. So I came up with a list. If you have seen the newest version of Metropolis, please share your thoughts. And if you have anything you'd like to add to this list, feel free to let me know and I will add it here and credit you.

Metropolis (1927) is...

  • an allegory
  • steampunk 
  • retrofuturism
  • Art Deco p-rn
  • one Hitler's favorite film
  • epic
  • the film that almost sent UFA into bankruptcy
  • fractured
  • influential
  • referenced in many films years after it came out
  • Biblical
  • science fiction
  • Marxist
  • visually stunning
  • German Expressionism
  • a dystopian tale
  • ahead of its time
  • misunderstood
  • an original screenplay written by Fritz Lang and wife Thea von Harbou
  • socially conscious
  • in the public domain
  • just begging for literary analysis and therefore...
  • an English major's dream
  • unlike any other film ever made
  • Raygun Gothic
  • the original Gotham
  • iconic
  • historically important


  1. Oooh I'm so jealous that you got to see the new version!! I hope it plays near me soon!

  2. I also had the chance to see this the other week. It's visually astonishing.

    - The Rant King

  3. Metropolis was really ahead of its time on so many levels, which is an even truer statement having seen it on the big screen with the lost footage included. Seeing this new release of the movie just made me appreciate this film and all those that came after it in homage even more!

  4. This is wonderful & exciting--love your list, & got a chuckle out of:

    * just begging for literary analysis and therefore...
    * an English major's dream

    I can't wait for this to come out on DVD! Would love to see it on the big screen, but given where we live that's unlikely.

  5. Really looking forward to seeing this at some time! Very interesting to hear about the scene of the worker visiting the world of the upper class... I've always found Metropolis visually spectacular, but thin on ideas (despite my being a huge Lang fan), but I have a strong suspicion now that opinion was only the result of the fact that 25 minutes was missing! It should be coming to the Bfi in London so will definitely see it then and may write up something about it...

    Loving your site as always. Enjoyed the piece on Vertigo, a favourite of mine!


Leave me a comment! If it is a long one, make sure you save a draft of it elsewhere just in case Google gobbles it up and spits it out.

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