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Metropolis: The Masters of Cinema series [DVD] [1927]


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Metropolis: The Masters of Cinema series [DVD] [1927] + Nosferatu (2013 Restoration) [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] + M [Masters of Cinema] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Alfred Abel, Brigitte Helm, Gustav Frolich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Fritz Rasp
  • Directors: Fritz Lang
  • Producers: Erich Pommer
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Eureka
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Jan. 2005
  • Run Time: 185 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006HIPQ8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,881 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Fritz Lang's Metropolis is perhaps the most famous German film of all time, and certainly one of the most influential of all silent films. In its lifetime it has been: drastically re-edited (shortly after release); unseen for decades; revisioned with a modern music score in the 1980s; and thanks to the work of the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung and a network of archives all over the world, restored in 2001. This restoration of Metropolis is almost certainly the most complete and authentic version possible of Lang's original 1927 vision.

From Amazon.co.uk

If you think you know Fritz Lang's Metropolis backwards, this special edition will come as a revelation. Shortly after its premiere, the expensive epic--originally well over two hours--was pulled from distribution and re-edited against Lang's wishes, and this truncated, simplified form is what we have known ever since 1926. Though not quite as fully restored as the strapline claims, this 118-minute version is the closest we are likely to get to Lang's original vision, complete with tactful linking titles to fill in the scenes that are irretrievably missing. Not only does this version add many scenes unseen for decades, but it restores their order in the original version.

Until now, Metropolis has usually been rated as a spectacular but simplistic science fiction film, but this version reveals that the futuristic setting is not so much prophetic as mythical, with elements of 1920s architecture, industry, design and politics mingled with the mediaeval and the Biblical to produce images of striking strangeness: a futuristic robot burned at the stake, a steel-handed mad scientist who is also a 15th Century alchemist, the trudging workers of a vast factory plodding into the jaws of a machine that is also the ancient God Moloch. Gustav Frohlich's performance as the hero who represents the heart is still wildly overdone, but Rudolf Klein-Rogge's engineer Rotwang, Alfred Abel's Master of Metropolis and, especially, Brigitte Helm in the dual role of saintly saviour and metal femme fatale are astonishing. By restoring a great deal of story delving into the mixed motivations of the characters, the wild plot now makes more sense, and we can see that it is as much a twisted family drama as epic of repression, revolution and reconciliation. A masterpiece, and an essential purchase.

On the DVD: Metropolis has been saddled with all manner of scores over the years, ranging from jazz through electronica to prog-rock, but here it is sensibly accompanied by the orchestral music Gottfried Huppertz wrote for it in the first place. An enormous amount of work has been done with damaged or incomplete elements to spruce the image up digitally, and so even the scenes that were in the film all along shine with a wealth of new detail and afford a far greater appreciation for the brilliance of art direction, special effects and Helm's clockwork sexbomb.

A commentary written but not delivered by historian Ennio Patalas covers the symbolism of the film and annotates its images, but the production information is left to a measured but unchallenging 45-minute documentary on the second disc (little is made of the astounding parallel between the screen story in which Klein-Rogge's character tries to destroy the city because the Master stole his wife and the fact that Lang married the actor's wife Thea von Harbou, authoress of the Metropolis novel and screenplay!). There are galleries of production photographs and sketches; biographies of all the principals; and an illustrated lecture on the restoration process which uses before and after clips to reveal just how huge a task has been accomplished in this important work. --Kim Newman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 121 people found the following review helpful By M on 11 Sept. 2010
Format: Blu-ray
I recently saw this newly restored version of Metropolis at Chichester Film Festival (in a Blue Ray presentation) and cannot recommend it highly enough - whether you know this film or not it should be seen. The inclusion of the previously missing 25 minutes (easily noticed due to the poor state of the source material) makes an enormous difference to the film, significantly changing the story line and the overall feel of the film. The poor quality of the inserted film does not diminish its importance and effect (ranging from a few seconds here and there, to whole scenes) but combines to effectively make a new film - or more accurately the resurrection of a lost one (the original 1927 premiered cut). Of course this version does not affect the obvious faults of the film but certainly makes for a more satisfying experience - it completes (apart from about 4 minutes apparently) and confirms the place this film has in the history of cinema. Whether you are interested in silent movies (then I'd highly recommend PiccadillyPiccadilly [1929] [DVD]), the development of cinema (then you should also see Fritz Lang's MM [Masters of Cinema] [Blu-ray] [1931]), special effects (and what incredible effects!) or the history of science fiction on film, this version must be seen.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 April 2000
Format: VHS Tape
An interesting and fascinating look at German silent cinema, and in particular, how sci-fi got started. This 1926 film is set in the year 2000, and takes the form of the fictional city of "Metropolis". Though often considered a pro-fascist film (a claim which Fritz Lang always vehemently denied), there is little to suggest that there is any intended Fascist agenda. The film once again draws on female contrast. For example, the contrast between the "pure woman" (Maria), and the "impure woman" (the robot Maria), further exemplifying the dichotomy between good and evil. Metropolis paints a negative image of mechanisation, with the machines running the city, yet mankind is worse off. The social critique is also there, with a 3 tier social structure, reflected in the habitats of the classes. The geometric mise-en-scène is seen as a representation of the rigidly ordered and structured society also. Scripted by Thea Von Harbou (Lang's wife), this film can truly be regarded as a landmark, and the first sci-film. Quoted as inspiration by many modern directors, and similarities can be seen in many areas (ie C3P0 was modelled on the Metropolis robot). My advice is to see this movie - its simply fantastic.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Becca on 2 Jan. 2013
Format: DVD
I first saw Metropolis when I was 14 years old, and was bought this version - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Metropolis-Two-Disc-Special-Edition/dp/B00007JGIW/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1357123432&sr=8-6 - which was the most complete version at the time, for my birthday. I absolutely loved every moment of it, and was always disappointed whenever inter-tiles appeared to explain what happened during the missing segments, presumed lost forever.

When I heard the announcement that most of the missing footage had been recovered in Buenos Aires, I couldn't be more excited - and impatiently checked the news almost every week to see if the restored version was available on DVD! And finally it was; and I couldn't be more happy with the result.

The restored footage is sadly in a bad state (although after watching the documentary they've worked miracles with it!) but it is entirely watchable and it adds so much that was missing to the film that I felt like I was watching it again for the first time. The characters of the Thin Man and Josaphat are more fully fleshed out, we find out what happened to 11811 when he went missing en route to Josaphat's apartment, and see a lot more interaction between Rotwang and Joh (the fact that the American censors cut this because it didn't make sense is staggeringly silly!).

Really, this version fleshes out so much of the story and characterisation that it renders past versions moot, BUT the past versions are still good within their own right and pay testament to what an impact this film left on film-lovers - they never gave up looking for the lost footage, and they found it!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 21 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Released in 1927, this legendary film has been re-edited many times, and much of the original material was thought lost. This superb presentation restores much of the previously missing material, and provides comprehensive descriptions of the still missing segments.

The story follows the doings of the inhabitants of the futuristic city, Metropolis. There is the over privileged upper class, who run everything and reap the reward, and the exploited workers, who actually do the work but live in poverty. There is revolution in the air, brewed by the beautiful Maria and Freder, the son of the city's sinister overlord Jon Frederson.

To help uncover the workers plans, Frederson turns to the inventor Rotwang, (played by a manic Rudolf Kleine-Rogge, who was pretty much designed for the role of the mad inventor) who has developed a robot. In a now famous scene, the robot is turned into a perfect replica of Maria and sent into the city to spy out the revolutionaries plans, and to stir up discord in the ranks.

This film stands alone in cinematic history for many reasons. The sheer ambition of the scale, the visionary futuristic nature, the amazing special effects and the amazing cinematography. It contains a series of now iconic images, instantly recognisable even today.

The shots are all carefully composed, the movements of the characters almost balletic, a feeling underlined by the superb orchestral score. Look, for example, at the wonderful scenes of worker 11811 having to move the hands on the clock machine, or the workers slaving at the machine Freder witnesses exploding as they frantically struggle to prevent the overload. It is simply breathtakingly choreographed and quite mesmerising.
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