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.
Fritz Lang's Expressionistic masterwork continues to exert its influence today, from Chaplin's Modern Times
(1936) to Dr Strangelove
(1963), and into the late 1990s with Dark City
(1998). In the stratified society of the future (Y2K no less), the son of a capitalist discovers the atrocious conditions of the factory slaves, falling in love with the charismatic Maria in the bargain, who preaches nonviolence to the workers. But even the benevolent leadership of Maria is a challenge to the privileged class, so they have the mad-scientist Rotwang concoct a robot double to take her place and incite the workers to riot. The story is melodrama, but it's the powerful imagery that is so memorable. One of the most arresting images has legions of cowed workers filing listlessly into the great maw of the all-consuming machine-god Moloch. Unfortunately, the print used for this DVD is unfocused, scratchy, and five minutes short, altogether unworthy of a visionary masterpiece. It may be too much to hope for the complete film to be restored (only two hours of the original three-hour film are extant), but a clean transfer from a fine-grain negative ought to be possible. And why, when there are other possible future Metropolises
to be had, should we downtrodden masses accept this junk? --Jim Gay
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.