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Perhaps the most famous and influential of all silent films, Metropolis had for 75 years been seen only in shortened or truncated versions. Now, restored in Germany with state of the art digital technology, under the supervision of the Murnau Foundation, and with the original 1927 orchestral score by Gottfried Huppertz added, Metropolis can be appreciated in its full glory. It is, as A.O. Scott of the New York Times declared, "A fever dream of the future. At last we have the movie every would be cinematic visionary has been trying to make since 1927." Metropolis takes place in 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 sci-fi landmarks as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets and modern science fiction style, Metropolis stands today as the crowning achievement of the authorized version of this towering classic, at a length over one third longer than any previous release, for the first time on DVD.
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. JamesonSee all Editorial Reviews
- Commentary subtitles in English, French, and Spanish
- 5.1 surround sound of newly recorded orchestral score
- "The Metropolis Case": a 43-minute documentary by Enno Patalas (with English, French, and Spanish subtitles)
- Restoration featurette (with English, French, and Spanish subtitles)
- Photo galleries featuring production stills, missing scenes, architectural sketches, and poster artwork
- 13 cast and crew biographies
- Facts and dates
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Top customer reviews
As it stands, film rounds out the st5roy that was sonly seen in sketch and shadow with previous versions,. including Giorgio Moroder's "colorful" 1984 adaptation. This version expands upon the rivalry between Rotwang and Joh Fredersen, which was obliterated during the American Editing phase of the film. "Slim" is given a bigger role. We are also introduced to a previously unknown (and still unseen) Cathedral monk who warned Freder about the coming Apocalypse. In fact, the entire movie takes on a greater religious and biblical tone, especially as we see Futura sit upon the beast with seven heads during her Yoshiwara's dance scene. The greatest surprises were with Worker #11811 and Josaphat. These men get more screen time and they actually become people and are not longer part of the scenery. But this is the point of the film-to see it as Lang envisioned it.
This has a good transfer, especially if all you have seen were the "Bargain Barrel" versions that look like they were done by monkeys. The picture is mostly clean, but there are scratches, hairs, and blurs here and there. I have seen better restorations, such as Disney's Snow White, or Orson Welles's Othello. I realize that budgets are always limited, and so I would choose to see bad missing film over good film I already have seen. There is no reason why we cannot have anther version that is an improvement over this one, and if we buy A LOT of copies of this film, they studios would be more inclined to spend the money to perfect the transfer and quality.
I was surprised to see how the dealt with the missing scenes. They had summaries written and flashed on the screen like inter-titles or address cards. I approve of this choice where there are no stills, but if there are stills or even sketches, I would have preferred seeing these, since you are looking at something. This is a movie, and we want to SEE things, not read about them.
For example, in this film, we just read about Worker #11811 going to Yoshiwara's, but in Giorgio Moroder's version, we saw a still of the scene pan across the scnee, then another still of the entrance to Yoshiwara's
Similarly, the sequence with the bust of Hel could have been improved The film is forever gone, so they used stills and cards to fill in the sequence. In Giorgio Moroder's version, they used a different picture which looked better than the one used in this restored version. Later in the film, when Rotwang recovers from fighting with Maria and wanders out in a trance, he makes a stop before the bust of Hel, then thinks Maria is Hel. They have this still of someone with outstretched arms in front of the bust (praying?), and this could have been integrated in the film. Once again, this film is visual, so I would prefer to look at something-even if it is not moving-rather than reading about something. Always use an image over words!
By the way, why hasn't Moroder's "colorful" version been released to DVD? This is the version of Metropolis that I grew up on, and you cannot argue with the soundtrack. Hopefully, this new version of the film will spur the rights-holders to release Moroder's version to compete with this version. I'd own both.
I love this film. I think is is the most important sci-fi film ever made. It was the first big-budget sci-fi film made. It had a mythic core that does not let you go. It has incredible story telling. Even the editorial butcher job could not destroy this film. After 75 years we are still watching this film, and it's no surprise why.
The complete version incorporates the recently discovered 30 minutes of film found in Argentina! So you can see this movie sooner, let me be brief.
If you like the original version - you will love this new complete version ten times more. But if, like me, you were disappointed and/or confused by the disjointed scenes and experienced head-scratching moments when you said to yourself things like: "Why the hell does the Maria/Maschinenmensch become a burlesque dancer at Yoshiwara's?" Well, this version finally explains it! Also, I was never quite sure who was the biggest bad guy in the film: Rotwang? Fredersen? Der Maschinenmensch? Or someone else, like Fredersen's spy? Who is to blame for the final destruction of Metropolis? With this release, its now clear. Even the minor characters are complete three dimensional characters, not silly caricatures as in edited versions. Fully explored and realized is the recurring theme of the Maschinenmensch as the "Whore of Babylon", and how this is interwoven with the Seven Deadly Sins dream sequence. These are things I totally missed in early versions.
My rating for the edited versions, 2 or 3 stars, maybe; the "Complete Metropolis" version... 5 stars - EASY! Often called the greatest film of the era, now I can finally see why!
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