The Complete Metropolis [Blu-ray]
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Metropolis takes place in the year 2026, when the populace is divided between workers, who must live in the dark underground, and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor. The tense balance of these two societies is realized through images that are among the most famous of the 20th century, many of which presage such sci-fi landmarks as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets, heart-pounding action and modern science fiction style, Metropolis stands today as the crowning achievement of classic science fiction cinema. Kino International is proud to announce this first time ever Blu-ray of the new restoration of Fritz Lang's 1927 science fiction masterpiece METROPOLIS, now with 25 minutes of lost footage and the original Gottfried Huppertz score. SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE: - Original 1927 score by Gottfried Huppertz, performed by the Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Berlin, conducted by Frank Strobel presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround - Limited Edition Collectible 3-D Lenticular Packaging - Voyage to Metropolis, a 50-minute documentary on the making and restoration of the film Interview with Paula Felix-Didier, curator of the Museo del Cine, Buenos Aires, where the missing footage was discovered - 2010 re-release trailer
Fritz Lang's Metropolis belongs to legend as much as to cinema. It's a milestone of sci-fi and German expressionism. Yet the story makes minimal sense, and the "theme" belongs in a fortune cookie; to experience the film's pagan power, you have to see the movie. But for decades we couldn't, not really--not with so many versions, all incomplete, often in public-domain prints like smudged photocopies. This Murnau Foundation restoration changes all that. Some shots, scenes, and subplots may be lost forever, but intertitles indicate how they fit into the original continuity and the characters' individual trajectories. Most crucially, the images are crisp, vibrant, and three-dimensional instead of murky and flattened. The composite sequences (the Tower of Babel, a sea of lusting eyes) have been restored to their hallucinatory ferocity. And there's one moment when you can see a bead of sweat roll down a man's cheek--in medium long-shot. --Richard T. Jameson
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Top customer reviews
The video: Is pretty bad... and in a lot of spots very bad. I think the laserdisc is actually a better transfer. They did absolutely nothing to the copy used. (Which is one of only a handful left in existence from what I understand.) There is dirt, scratches and all manor of crud just floating around on the copy. Also the contrast is WAY off. Even for an old print of this movie it's pretty bad, almost unwatchable in parts. I think they 'overcooked' it in the compression oven. But I was not really buying this for the print. I have both the Complete Metropolis Blu-Ray as well as the WONDERFUL Metropolis Redux that was done by a fan that took the restored footage and recreated the Moroder print with it.
The sound: ahhhh the sound. This is where the disk shines. Not to some mind blowing extent but to hear the wonderful 80's score in 5.1 is just great fun. It sounds great and is well worth the price of the disk. There is good range and the base booms (almost too much at times). No great track by track remastering but it plays much better then the VHS or LD ever did.
So now with the Metropolis Redux DVD and the Kino Blu Ray I can play the audio in 5.1 from the Blu-ray and watch the video in remastered clarity from the DVD and get to see this version in a presentation that is almost too good for what it really is.
I doubt that this version will be out for long so even if you are on the fence, pick it up now because its good to have to show people what we had before and why what we have now is sooooooooo precious .
Having said that, I was disappointed that little or no restoration work per-se was done to this release. It is a good HD transfer from a good quality print, nothing more or less, other than very good remastering of the score and a new 5.1 mix. I understand that, at the time he made it, Moroder was forced to print flaws in the then-available footage into his negative, but even the opening titles added by Moroder have a lot of visible scratches and jitter (the image shaking, primarily in the vertical direction, usually due to worn sprocket holes in the film). While I understand and respect that there was a conscious decision to present Moroder's restoration in it's original form, and it would extremely difficult to do much about earlier-generation damage printed onto the available copy, flaws due to wear in the Moroder print itself should have been corrected, and Kino has previously demonstrated masterful skill at doing so.
So far I have only addressed this release from a technical standpoint, ignoring the fact that there is an entire generation of people who have never seen and heard this version of Metropolis. I can't give you any objective guidance, as I am a fan of both versions of this film. I will at least point out that, while he did take some artistic liberties with tinting, titling, and scoring, Moroder's was an earnest and impressive effort to restore the film and it's story as much as possible with the resources available to him at the time. In fact, it was the most complete and coherent presentation of Lang's film available until a beautiful restoration made and screened in 2002, and released on DVD in 2003. For the 1980's audience, Moroder's version was more a entertaining and comprehensible presentation, and for many people, may remain so today.
If you are watching Metropolis for the first time, which restoration to choose primarily depends upon your sensibilities regarding the score. Choose the Moroder for an excellent 1980's pop and rock score, and a shorter run-time. Choose the first Kino restoration (2003) for the original orchestral score, consistently high visual quality, and a very helpful and interesting commentary track. Sadly, the more complete, if inconsistent, 2010 Kino restoration omits a commentary track. Ultimately, I recommend seeing all three, but I am far from objective about this film.
There is an arguably better fan restoration of the Moroder version for those who seek it out, but you will want to buy this one as well anyway.