December 19, 2013

Movie Night: Metropolis.

Review #500: Metropolis.

Brigitte Helm (Maria and Robot), Alfred Abel (Joh Fredersen), Rudolf Klein-Rogge (Rotwang), Heinrich George (Grot), Fritz Rasp (The Thin Man), Theodor Loos (Josaphat), and Erwin Biswanger (Georgy) Directed by Fritz Lang (#333 - M)

What can I say Metropolis is an science fiction epic, probably one of the first of its kind. It's a film from Germany with a storied history, as it originally ran for 153 minutes when first shown, but it was cut down in later showings due to censorship. The film had lost scenes for over 80 years, with a negative of the original cut later found in Argentina just a few years ago, and that was the version of the film I watched, which lasted almost (but not exactly) 2 and a half hours long. And it is tremendous. Tremendous in scope, tremendous in the effects and tremendous in itself. You could argue its one of the best films ever made because of its story, the tremendous effects and its lasting memorability that is the Maschinenmensch. It's a silent film that transcends just being a silent film, if that even makes sense. The actors may be odd in their movements, but they do at least work well with the film. What I found amusing is the contemporary reviews of this, with statements like "The pity of it is that this unimaginative, incoherent, sentimentalizing, and make-believe film, wastes some very fine possibilities." You know who said that? H. G. Wells himself, who was responsible for many novels...and Things to Come, which itself felt like Metropolis. Another criticism came from Lang himself, who said "Anyway, I didn't like the picture – thought it was silly and stupid – then, when I saw the astronauts: what else are they but part of a machine? It's very hard to talk about pictures—should I say now that I like Metropolis because something I have seen in my imagination comes true, when I detested it after it was finished?" It was a misunderstood film that rose up decades after its release, with enough care to restore this, and I applaud them. This is an outstanding achievement for the science fiction genre and film itself. Thank you to all who read these reviews, the old timers and the new comers, thanks.

Overall, I give it 10 out of 10 stars.

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