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on 11 September 2010
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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on 18 April 2000
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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Metropolis as originally conceived by Fritz Lang only survived a short premiere run at one Berlin cinema after which it was withdrawn and the negative sent for re-editing to Paramount the Holly wood associates of the German UFA company.

Paramount considered Metropolis incomprehensible and created a new simplified plot line discarding twenty five percent of the film, and for over fifty years this was the only version available. The vast majority of the missing material is now considered lost forever.

However as a result of research in the 1990s it was possible to definitively reconstruct the plot and the current restoration incorporating all the available material was undertaken. The missing sections of the film are narrated by means of the original captions for the missing sections and additional notes. In addition there is an excellent commentary filling in the gaps.

So at last we can see Lang's original 1927 vision of a horrific future with a favoured elite living on the surface of the earth enjoying a life of luxury, and a vast army of nameless workers living in a grim underground city toiling ten hour shifts.

Freder (Gustav Frolich) son of the ruler of Metropolis and one of the favoured elite investigates the plight of the workers and is so horrified decides to do something about it, and falls in love with Maria (Brigitte Helm) who gives a stunning performance in her first film role. Maria is a leader of the workers seeking justice for them by mediation and sees Freder as the mediator. A major sub plot is the enmity between the ruler (Alfred Abel) and Rotwang (Rudolph Klein-Rogge) who is attempting to create a mechanical version of the dead woman they both loved.

The 1927 sets and special effects are spectacular, reflecting in many ways the art of the period.The acting is good throughout except for Frolich who in my opinion is over the top, the original score (making wide use of leitmotivs) in a modern recording is a major contribution to the success of the restoration, and the digital restoration provides us with a near pristine copy.

This is not a film for a relaxed evenings viewing, but more than repays the effort needed to fully appreciate it.
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on 4 November 2010
How do you get a balanced review of a new release when Amazon bundle old reviews of the DVD version (as old as 2001 !!!) with the new ones. CHUMPS. Get your act together Amazon this is a frequent fault.
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on 28 February 2015
I have been a fan of This iconic slice of silent cinema for many years and own multiple version of it, so when I heard about this latest edition I knew I had to own it.

This edition of Metropolis contains the (almost) fully restored version from 2010 and the often derided 1984 version presented by Giorgio Moroder. This was the first version I ever saw and as such holds a special place in my heart and I am very happy to see it released alongside the more authentic version of Metropolis

Also on this collection are a number of documentaries. "Die Reise nach Metropolis" (Journey to Metropolis) which, in it's own words, charts the lineage of the film, "Metropolis Refound", which is about the discovery of the uncut print in Argentina and "The Fading Image", a short documentary by Moroder about the need to preserve film history. all of these documentaries I found fascinating and informative, especially for those with an interest in film history.

the collection also includes an audio commentary on the 2010 version and a trailer for the same. My only negative comment has to be I would have liked the full Argentine print to be included as it has many scenes shot from a different angle, or re shot entirely.

This has to be an essential purchase to any fan of science fiction, silent film or film history in general
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on 10 August 2009
"Metropolis" is one of the most famous and influential films ever made. Directed by Fritz Lang in 1927, Metropolis is a silent movie that tells the science fiction story of a city divided by a small ruling elite living above ground and a vast workforce living underground as slaves of massive machines. Over the years, "Metropolis" has grown to almost mythical proportions in more than one way.

A lot has been said and written about this film and I am sure the debates and interpretations will continue, because it contains so many timeless topics ranging from the organization of society, the relationship between man and machine, class revolution and religion. The script was mainly written by Lang's wife von Thurbau who transpired to be a staunch Nazi-supporter. Goebbels liked the film so much that he referred to it in several of his speeches. "Metropolis" is therefore a political film. One could even argue that there are parallels between "Metropolis" and the current state of the European Union.

Another element of "Metropolis" that makes it special is the film itself. The style of the whole film is Art Deco. The buildings, interiors and even the machines are amazing and instantaneously recognizable; they even create something of a nostalgic atmosphere to me. The inventions in the film of "der Maschinenmensch" and the "M-Machine" are timeless concepts that have been copied ever since. The techniques used in the film were revolutionary for its day and for some eighty years thereafter, the results still look astonishing and impressive. A number of scenes have probably been seen by most people, especially the transformation of "der Maschinenmensch" and the traffic scene in the city, where double-decker aeroplanes fly amongst the skyscrapers. The BBC uses it currently in one of its leaders.

Finally, the history of the reels of the film is as fascinating as everything else about this film. Over the years, it has been edited in different versions for different countries and sadly large parts have been damaged or lost altogether. Slowly but surely the pieces are being put back together and repaired. One of the extras on Eureka!'s "Metropolis"-DVD is a documentary about this enormous task and worth wile viewing. Still, the original version is not fully recovered or restored to this day. The Eureka!-DVD has the most complete version available today.

All in all, "Metropolis" is compulsory viewing for any film lover especially for fans of science fiction, silent and early German movies. Although the story is sometimes a bit strange, the themes, decors and scenes are as mesmerizing now as they were more than eighty years ago. A timeless classic.
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on 2 January 2013
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!

I haven't listened to the commentary yet, but I found the one-hour documentary on the story of Metropolis (from creating it, to losing the footage, to finding it again) a brilliant production. Not fully fleshed out, but enough to act as a springboard if you want to go away to find out more about the film and Fritz Lang.

A definite purchase for lovers of silent cinema, lovers of sci-fi, and lovers of great acting.
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on 15 February 2015
Always wanted to see this film, and as this is the nearest to complete version available I thought I would try it.

The film has newly found sections of the film that were originally thought lost. You can spot these sections quite easily as they are not as goo quality as the rest of the film, but they make it more interesting and easier to follow the story.

I enjoyed the film, I haven't watched the extras yet, but there are lots and lots of extras to watch. I'm pleased I bought this film, it is the granddaddy of sci-fi and has pretty amazing speci effects considering it was made in 1929.
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Some films have a cultural impact evident by their influence on cinema for generations after their release. This is most obvious in the Science Fiction genre, and you immediately think of 1950s classics such as 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' and '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' (without which there'd be no Godzilla!). But this silent film from the 1920s had a vision which seemed beyond the boundaries of cinema at the time, and yet it managed to capture an epic sci-fi dystopia with a quality of special effects which films even 60 or 70 years later failed to reproduce.

The film opens to a grim scene of workers walking in depressing unison to begin their shift deep underground. Expressionless, fatigued, and with no display of individuality, the drones look more like prisoners than citizens - and perhaps they are. The slow music captures the sense of their despair but the tempo quickly changes when we see the upper levels of the city. There, fit young men laugh as they play sports in the Eternal Gardens while the ladies dance in their finest wears and volunteer to 'entertain' Master Freder, the son of the city founder.

Fountainside frolics are briefly interrupted when an undergrounder flings open the doors to show the less privileged children their more affluent 'brothers'. It's a scene which manages to portray the unfairness of the two-tiered society and highlights the growing disquiet which exists among those less fortunate. The gate-crashing Maria makes an impression on the young Master Freder, whether it's her spirit or understated beauty, he finds her occupying his thoughts and he goes in search of her. Travels beneath paradise open his eyes to the horrors which face the lower caste each day, he soon witnesses an industrial accident and the distraught Freder goes to tell his father who is more concerned about the internal reporting procedure and the fact his son was near the machines than the tragic loss of life.

Metropolis explores a society fractured by an asymmetric division of labour and power, there are rumblings of revolution in the air but the many voices struggle to find a leader who can organise them into any sort of regime. Hope surprisingly seems to lie with the son of their 'ruler' and his epiphany after experiencing first hand the brutality of the system he has long benefited from. The futuristic city is shown using impressive sets, and models which maybe don't look too slick now - but they are still far more believable than comparable scenes in Logan's Run filmed 50 years later. Even more futuristic is the android (or "Machine Man") created by mad scientist Rotwang, the robot isn't the clunky sort typical of `50s Sci-Fi but is instead a slender figure. It is female in appearance and accentuates the female form in an almost erotic way, it looks like a cyberman's sexy mistress and again it's hard to imagine that it's the product of a film only just outside of the first quarter of the 20th century.

This release is well presented in a metal case and contains an informative booklet of information. More impressive however is the blu-ray transfer which looks superb. viewers of previous restored versions will appreciate the recently found footage which increases the runtime to 2 and a half hours and means we don't need many of the black storyboards which filled in the plot in previous releases. The previously lost footage isn't as clean and the drop in quality stands out, but it doesn't spoil the viewing experience. This sounds incredible too, the newly recorded orchestral score is full of life and gives the film an epic quality - and of course there's no need to worry about it drowning out any speech!

If you're new to silent film then the overacting may take a little getting used to, everything is overly dramatic but that was the style of the time and necessary as a way to express what the characters are trying to communicate without speech. It's effective and probably best appreciated during an erotic dance scene where the close ups of the male audience reveal exactly what they are thinking without the need for any words. This is a story grand in both scope and execution and though the style has dated the plot is still just as gripping and serves as a chilling warning of what was to come - this German film was a favourite among senior Nazis who could no doubt relate with oppressive rulers.

In a nutshell: Spectacular science fiction blends with the story of an imminent uprising from the bowels of a city created to keep a few living in paradise. The darkest of attitudes is summoned up perfectly when Freder confronts his father about the hands that built his city and questions where they are kept, his father's reply is cold and laced with casual despotism - "where they belong".
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on 3 February 2015
This is a review of the 2015 Ultimate Collector's Edtion steelbook. It contains two Blu Ray discs - one with the resotred 2 hour and 30 minute version of the film, commentary and documentary. The second disc has the Morodor coloured version with a pop music soundtrack and a documentary about how the original version of the film was uncovered. The film looks and sounds terrific in Blu Ray. The visual quality of the films varries as the recently uncovered missing sections of the film were of poor quality and in discovered in different aspect ratios - however - the film is so compelling that this does not detract from the experience. Quite simply this is an amazing film presented in the best possible way. This Ultimate Collector's Edition therefore does exactly what it says on the tin. Highly recommended!
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