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555 of 592 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last
Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS was very successful with both critics and audiences when it debuted in 1927 Berlin--but it was thereafter edited for distribution by Channing Pollock, who disliked it and removed great chunks of the film and substantially altered the storyline. The resulting film was admired for its visual style, but it proved a critical and box office...
Published on May 24, 2003 by Gary F. Taylor

294 of 354 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars this tinted version is NOT Moroder's version
This is the 139 minute, tinted version, with the disjointed music, distributed by "JEF films" and labeled "Aikman Archive" in yellow on the box. The sound is bad and the video quality is poor. For superior video quality, get the version produced by Kino Video instead. although the Kino version has a bad sound track, at least the video quality is...
Published on February 14, 1999 by S. Nelson

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66 of 78 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lang deserves better than this., January 7, 2001
This review is from: Metropolis (Full Screen) (DVD)
When I bought this DVD, I was actually expecting less-than-perfect picture quality. After all, $10 for a DVD is cheap. I reasoned it would at least have some version of the movie on it, and thus it's worth the money. But now, having watched it, I'm not convinced.
There are no issues with tinting/no tinting, new score/old score. Here it's just that the transfer is downright painful to watch -- grainy, scratchy, at times out of focus, at times so dark you can barely see the action. The gorgeous production design and innovative filmmaking is buried under layers of artifacts from a bad transfer. It looks like someone videotaped it off of a TV (using a camcorder through a dirty window), then watched the tape about twenty times, then put it on the DVD.
I know, the film's 80 years old, we can't expect a pristine presentation. But I know that better transfers exist, I've seen them on VHS. Not to mention the fact that The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu have beautiful Criterion DVDs -- why haven't they done Metropolis yet? Surely a film that influenced everyone from Ridley Scott to George Lucas deserves preferential treatment.
The sound is good, a full orchestra instead of just a piano, but that's about all this sad little disc has going for it. If you want to see Metropolis (and everyone should see it at least once), you're better of getting it on VHS for now.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the version we were always SUPPOSED to see..., December 15, 2002
This is the KINO VIDEO version of the movie METROPOLIS. Currently there are a number of prints of this DVD out, but most of them utilize 16mm prints that are often grainy and blurry... which is NOT a good tribute to what is considered one of the greatest sci fi movies ever. The Kino video offers a beautiful soundtrack as well as a clear, near pristine 35mm print in its version.
The Kino version also contains a very thorough movie, which, once again, is absent in most prints. Weeks after METROPOLIS was shown, it was cut drastically. Kino has released the most- complete version to date, using footage that was from some of the cut to enhance and explain the story. Parts of the movie that have been lost, presumably forever, are explained through intertitles. The story makes much more sense and offers a great deal more depth now.
I cannot recommend this movie enough to anyone who loves silent film or science fiction.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Swooping Epic of a Film killed by an unsympathetic modernity, December 4, 1999
This review is from: Metropolis [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Metropolis the movie and Metropolis the video are two entirely different entities. The former represents a genesis in science fiction film-making and should be respected universally as being the fruit of a team of visionary geniuses (principally in terms of art-direction). In 1926, this two hour-plus release was a swooshing epic of light, machinery and action, taking audiences who had been only used to watching films in the cinema with tinny piano accompaniment into the far future world of robotics, mass-transit, etc. The actors were good but they didn't have a chance of flourishing in the shadow of the sheer excellence of set design and production. This was the world of the year 2,000 (so far off back then that the comma means something in the writing of the figure). Lang's direction brought out a sci-fi exposition fused with parable fused with philosophy. Grandiose by the standards of any time, the film cost over 2 million USD (in 'then' money) and nearly bankrupted UFA, the backing company. That alone proves that this was a work of intense sacrifice and conviction: a mind-blowing excursion into the far-future (then a lifetime away) which, despite its explicit critique of both Marxism and Capitalism, revealed the likely development of a mammoth pleasure era to come. The spoilt offspring of the Commercialist dictator sights the beauty of the People's girl and is smitten to the point that he will try to change his side of the machine. At the same time, the girl becomes known to the dictator who, in turn, commissions Rotwang the inventor (analagous as being the amoral scientific community) to construct a mechanical replica of the girl to undo the damage and keep the rumblings low. The girl is abducted, duplicated and retained for the pleasure of the scientist. Her robotic alter-ego malfunctions and becomes a Lenin-Hitler, inciting the workers to rise up and destroy the metropolis of their enslaver......and their own. That is the meaning of 'Metropolis' the film. Sadly, not many people have been able to afford the same respect to 'Metropolis'. In terms of its versions on video, only 2 are worth seeing at this time. This tape and its brethren listed here are not amongst them. What you should search for is either the 1984 Giorgio Moroder film (85 mins including a hard rock soundtrack-score, tinting, visual additions and a brilliant general score which I recorded onto a 90-min audio tape it was so good) or the 1992 release by the British Eureka corporation (on PAL, sadly). The latter claims to have all 139 minutes and although I haven't yet bought it (after buying 3 'Metropolis' VHS tapes, I'm becoming a little weary of waste), I can see from the thickness of the reel that there really could be all 139 minutes on there. All others are a waste of money and should be avoided like the plague. This tape has an unsuitable soundtrack which kills the aesthetics of the film and the print itself lacks high resolution and is grained in areas. For the 1920's, an orchestral or piano soundtrack had to do but 'Metropolis' should not be classified as being a silent film per se. It is a generic 'Metropolis-film' and demands better academic appreciation. It is sad to see that the minds behind doing the re-releasing of 'Metropolis' just lack that respect. Either that, or......or perhaps it's a conspiracy to assassinate the film's image.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kino or Moroder? I like both apples and oranges., November 22, 2003
Leslie A. Lovesee "74s181" (Houston Lake, MO United States) - See all my reviews
I won't repeat what others have already said about the historical significance of this film or its contents. I do want to share my opinions about the Kino restoration vs the Moroder version.
I already owned the Moroder version when I purchased the Kino restoration on DVD. Like many others, I was amazed at the incredible visual clarity of the Kino restoration when compared to the Moroder version, as others have said it looks like it was shot yesterday, not 70+ years ago. Also, seeing it with a performance of the original score provided a different experience.
Some of the other differences are:
1. The Kino version contains some footage missing from the Moroder version, but not a lot more. The scene that stands out most for me is the first scene in Frederson's office - we gain a better understanding of how hard he works and how much he expects from those below him, so the firing of Josephat and Josaphat's reaction makes more sense than it does in the Moroder version. Another scene that is significantly different is the first meeting between Frederson and Rotwang - their rivalry is portrayed in greater depth in the Kino restoration, although it is also perfectly clear in the Moroder version.
2. Many `purists' have complained about the music in the Moroder version. I disagree, I think that the music and the lyrics greatly enhance the emotional impact of the Moroder version. Don't misunderstand, I think the original orchestral score as presented in the Kino version is great, but words and music together are far more powerful than either alone.
3. The story is a bit different. Personally, I think that the story as presented in the Moroder version makes more sense, why would Frederson want his workers to revolt? But this is his motivation for having Rotwang create the machine-man in the Kino restoration.
4. Many `purists' complain about the colorization in the Moroder version. I admit, there were places where I found it a bit jarring, but overall I think it adds to the emotional tone of the film. Still, I think the Kino restoration is valuable for what it is, a restoration.
The point I am trying to make is this. The Kino restoration is an incredible piece of work that will be of great value to all who wish to experience as much of the original film as is possible today. But, in my opinion the Moroder version, with its modern lyrical score is also of great value, maybe not as much in a historical context but as a separate film experience. Think of the Moroder version as a new work based on an old work, not as a restoration.
My recommendation? See them both, but see the Moroder version first, the Kino version second. Otherwise, you'll be distracted by the degraded video quality in the Moroder version and you'll miss the incredible soundtrack. Someday when home computers become more powerful and video production software is cheaper and easier to use I'll probably dub the Moroder soundtrack to the Kino video and have the best of both worlds. Until then, the Moroder video isn't that bad, it is about what you would expect from a 70+ year old silent film, but the Kino video, in comparison, is incredible.
And, by the way, the Japanese animated film produced a couple of years ago bears only the most superficial resemblance to the original, I was seriously disappointed.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars finally..., December 3, 2010
A few years back, Kino released a DVD of a restored version of "Metropolis", taken mostly from camera negatives. The image quality was outstanding -- sometimes even superlative, as if the film had been shot yesterday. Unfortunately, large chunks remained in limbo, and the plot -- such as it was -- still didn't make much sense. Nevertheless, that version was warmly welcomed, as most public domain editions looked as if they'd been buried in a manure pile before being run over by a dozen Panzer divisions.

Since then, a 16mm reduction of the complete film was found in Argentina. Though horribly scratched (the transfer from 35mm was botched), we now have the complete film (except for two brief and unimportant scenes that had deteriorated beyond recovery). Even more important, a "censor's copy" of the complete intertitles was found. The latter (along with the manuscript of the film score) allowed the scenes to be correctly ordered, /and/ with the proper titles. The characters' motivations are now clear, and the story finally makes sense.

Up to a point, of course. If one can accept sentient androids, one might accept Rotwang putting synthetic skin on the False Maria. And then there's the problem of the Heart Machine stopping and the subsequent inundation of the underground city. True, such a city would need continual pumping to keep out the water. But it doesn't just /leak/ back in -- it positively explodes.

Regardless, "Metropolis" is now a genuinely entertaining film that holds one's attention from beginning to end. It has a number of iconic scenes -- most notably the "machine as Moloch" devouring its human "children", and Rotwang bringing the robot Maria "to life". Whether "Metropolis" is a "good" movie (in the absolute artistic sense) is beside the point. It's an influential classic, and anyone who loves movies should see "Metropolis" at least once.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kino DVD is perfect!, February 19, 2003
E. Dolnack (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
I don't know what anyone else may claim, but personally, this is hands-down the cleanest, most brilliant transfer of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" that I have ever seen - indeed, it's the nicest 'print' of a silent film I have ever seen. This should set a new precedent in the industry of film restoration and the folks at Kino deserve my sincerest thanks. I never thought I'd ever see Metropolis look so good - (or sound so good).
The score is great! I love the soundtrack. In 5.1 Digital, you simply can't beat it. It's a wonderful piece of music too - goes with the immagery better than anything I've seen before. I've always liked the piano score by Robert E. Lee, but I think this "new" orchestral score works even better.
If you like Metropolis, you MUST get this DVD from Kino! If you like sci-fi, then you also MUST get this DVD.
Make sure you buy the version from Kino, and don't complain that it costs considerably more than the other versions on the market - it is WELL worth it, believe me! This 2002 restoration of Metropolis is a landmark in film history, and I am happy to be a part of it!
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Metropolis DVD version to get!, December 9, 2002
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Forget about all of the other Metropolis DVDs out there, this is the Kino restoration that ran in the theaters in 2002. While it is still not in the original 1927 edit, this is the most complete version known to exist. Title cards are used to describe the still-missing scenes, but many scenes have been added by Kino for this edition.
This is also much longer than the much sought after Laserdisc.
A highly recomended Silent Classic Science Fiction story of a two class world. The underground workers who keep the city running, and the above groung businessmen who live off of the undergrounders work. Trouble errupts when litigation between the two breaks down and a mediator is suspected of being a spy.
This 1927 movie seems like todays current headlines.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Metropolis is like an amazing brand new film, August 31, 2011
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This review is from: The Complete Metropolis (DVD)
I first watched Metropolis about a year ago on a VHS version. I thought it was a very good movie, but it was certainly no masterpiece. The visual effects and backgrounds were striking and unique, but the picture was not particularly clear. The story was interesting but didn't make a lot of logical sense. The editing was all over the place in a way that made it difficult to follow what was going on. And most annoyingly the music had absolutely no relationship to what was happening on screen. Recently I attempted to rewatch this film in the version contained in a public domain boxed set. Unfortunately the picture quality was so bad that I gave up after only five minutes.

Then I purchased Kino's Complete Metropolis, and it is almost like watching a whole new film. A reasonably good historical oddity of interest only to cineastes and sci-fi fans is now a masterpiece which can be fully appreciated by the general viewing public. Essentially four things were done to this edition: restoring nearly a half hour of lost footage, cleaning up the picture quality to pristine, re-editing the film for a more logical flow, and including the musical score which was originally composed for the theatrical premiere.

SCORE: The orchestral score is amazing. Never in my life have I seen a silent film where the music matched the picture so well. It changes with the mood of the story, and it even matches rhythmic action. When the workers operate the machines by moving their bodies in jerky, German rhythm, the orchestra keeps a perfect beat.

PICTURE: I cannot praise the picture quality of this DVD enough. It is obvious that some of the best digital restoration experts in the world worked on this project. You can see a tear run down a man's face. You can see a woman's nipples through her sheer dress. You can see automobiles and airplaines commuting around Upper Metropolis with perfect clarity. You can even read signs on buildings. Special effects from the 1920s stand up extremely well today. Flashes of electricity look every bit as good as Emperor Palpatine's lightning fingers in Return of the Jedi. The Isaac Asimov-esque robot, the massive flood, the large-scale destruction of the undercity, the masses of vehicles travelling outside, the huge interactive set-pieces - every visual element of this movie is absolutely stunning. Not a single thing looks cheesy or dated.

RESTORED FOOTAGE AND RE-EDITING: 25 minutes of lost footage has been restored throughout the film. It's source is an extremely damaged film reel that has a different aspect ratio than the rest of the film. You can tell the restored footage from the rest of the movie because there is a small black bar at the top of the screen to compensate for the aspect ratio differences, but it is done so well that you don't notice it unless you are looking for it. Also the restored footage, since it is so damaged, appears slightly faded and has numerous vertical bars running down the screen. Although the restored footage is not nearly as clean and pretty as the rest of the film is, it is still much better than the uncleaned public domain versions of this movie I had seen previously. These added scenes and shots taken from highly damaged film still look better than your average unrestored public domain schlock.

The cleaned up old footage was combined with the newly discovered footage, given new subtitles, and edited to be as close to the original as possible using a variety of sources. When a scene known to have originally existed is now lost the editors added title cards to explain what happens in the missing footage. I only remember this happening two times during the movie, and both times the explanation was not intrusive. Much of the restored footage consists of transitions, face shots, and various other short shots that help the editing to flow better. I'll give you an example. When young Fredersen is in his father's office, his father fires on of his employees. The man leaves the office sadly knowing that he will now have to work in the undercity. The two Fresersen's remain in the office and talk, and then the son leaves. In the unrestored version we then see the back of a man walking down a stairwell but cannot see his face. One may wonder who this man is, where he is going, and what is the relevence of this scene. In the restored version a face shot is inserted, and we can see that it is the man who has just been fired, dejectedly resigned to his fate and heading below. It's a little thing, but those little things add up. Those little additions contribute to plot understanding, character development, and narrative flow.

There are also entire subplots that have been restored. The elder Fredersen orders a character known as the Thin Man to spy on his son. In unrestored versions we don't see the Thin Man again until much later when he is back in Fredersen's office. In this newly restored version we see all of the previously excised scenes of the Thin Man spying, and he is quite creepy sitting behind a newspaper and wearing heavy eyeliner. The Thin Man also commits a murder, something that happens to be important to the plot but we never got to see before. Another subplot that has been newly restored involves young Freder becoming aware of his destiny when a pastor reads him a passage from the book of Revelation.

One of the biggest missing plot pieces of all has also been restored: why Rotwang the inventor makes his robot invention rebel against Joh Fredersen and incite complete chaos. It turns out that Rotwang is in love with Joh's dead wife. He believes that Joh has disrespected the memory of his wife. Also Rotwang is angry because he originally intended to create the robot in the likeness of the dead woman, but Joh ordered him to make it look like Maria. Now Rotwang is not just some mad scientist but actually has some motivation.

There are a few things about the plot that still don't make perfect sense. Why would Fredersen fan the fires of discontent to start an uprising against himself? Why would the mob destroy the machines that keep their own neighborhood above water? Although the plot is much much clearer, there are a few things that don't make perfect sense. But these are no fault of the movie but can rather be attributed to the illogical state of human nature. Sure Metropolis has plot holes, but they are no where near as big as the paradoxes in modern sci-fi classics like the Matrix and the Terminator.

I want to add one final thing about the actress who plays Maria (I don't have her name in front of me at the moment). She was an incredible actress. Yes her acting style was melodramatic (perhaps even vaudevillian), but it was necessary for this kind of film. She could communicate a character just through a facial expression and tell an entire story with her body language. You could tell just by one look whether she was playing Maria or the robot who looked like Maria. Had she been around a few decades later (at that age) she could have been a James Bond girl. There is one scene where Maria is running from Rotwang through the catecombs and she is frightened by seeing human skeletons in every corner. That scene is pure Indiana Jones. Great adventure stuff there.

I've done enough talking and have no good way to close this review. GO SEE THIS MOVIE AS SOON AS YOU CAN.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fans, wait just a little longer!, May 19, 2009
Will (California) - See all my reviews
It took a while, but I finally received word from a representative from the Murnau Foundation, who owns distribution and restoration rights to the recently discovered print of "Metropolis" in Buenos Aires, that work on a restored (and almost whole!) version will be completed (hopefully) sometime in early 2010. No specific day given as DVD and TV rights have to be finalized as well. This should prove worth the wait. They do other great work in film restoration, and we should all take a minute sometime to thank them for their efforts.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Close to the Original as Possible, December 26, 2002
I saw a preview of this restored version at a screening in Santa Fe, when the titles were still in German and the last reel was still being worked on. This really is a labor of love. Placeholders describe the scenes that are probably forever lost (nearly a quarter of the original). Everything is finally in the correct sequence, and the film's never looked better. I'm looking forward to the DVD so I can re-experience this taste of what is almost a lost film.
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