Metropolis (1927) (Theatrical/DVD-2002)
Reviewed by Dennis Kwiatkowski
silent film classic Metropolis has been definitively restored to near perfection
in a new set of film prints slowly making their way across the United States.
If you have
never seen Metropolis before, or, even if you have seen it many times, this is
a presentation which is not to be missed.
super production of Metropolis took an unheard-of seventeen months to shoot in
mid- 1920’s Germany, and it featured incredible sets, bravura art direction and highly
advanced special effects. Set one-hundred years in the future, it depicted a
super city filled with class struggle, corruption, runaway technology, decadence, passion, and modern science vs. occultism.
failure when it premiered in Berlin in 1927 due to its enormous cost (Lang had set out to make the
costliest and most ambitious picture ever) it generated both acclaim and controversy.
For its U.S. premiere, American distributors cut its length by nearly an hour. Once other countries picked up this garbled version of the film, Lang would remark
that his film no longer existed.
various incomplete versions of varying lengths have surfaced including the controversial and commercially successful Georgio
Moroder recutting which included a rock music score.
influenced many great filmmakers including Spielberg, Lucas and Kubrick, yet no coherent version of the film has existed before
has compiled the ultimate Metropolis—struck from the original nitrate camera
negative and nitrate prints from around the world. Each frame of the film has
received state of the art digital restoration. Thirty minutes of unseen footage
have been added. And the discoveries of the shooting script and archival intertitles
have resulted in the resolution of story section conflicts.
film is incredible and stunning—it has to be seen to be believed—unparalleled clarity, detail and stability. The addition of Gottfried Huppertz’s original 1927 orchestral score, newly recorded,
which is playing even as I speak, adds dynamism not heard since the film’s original premiere!
version of Fritz Lang’s masterpiece reveals a film undiminished by the passage of seventy-five years and transports
to viewer back to its premiere. It is rapidly becoming the cinematic event of
2002. To see Metropolis is to experience
just how powerful the cinematic experience can be.