Film review: Metropolis

Posted on: 27 July 2010 by Mark O'haire

One of the greatest films of all time – Fritz Lang’s prophetic 1927 silent sci-fi epic Metropolis – can finally be seen as it was first intended, 83 years after it’s original release.

This newly minted revival is released on 10 September 2010 in UK cinemas nationwide and features 25 minutes of “lost” footage restored.

Drawing on – and – defining classic sci-fi themes, the film depicts a dystopian future in which society is divided into two: while anonymous workers conduct their endless drudgery below ground their rulers enjoy a decadent life of leisure and luxury.

When Freder (Gustav Frolich) ventures into the depths in search of the beautiful Maria (Brigitte Helm in her debut role), plans of rebellion are revealed and a Maria-replica robot is programmed by mad inventor Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) and master of Metropolis Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel) to incite the workers into a self-destructive riot.

Lang here presents a dizzying depiction of a futuristic, technologically advanced cityscape  where trains run high above the ground on tracks linking the tall buildings and an alluring female cyborg takes on a human form to deceive the workers.

Indeed the film has many stunning scenes, most notably the riotous, downtrodden workers destroying the Heart machine which helps keep the wheels of the industrial nightmare in perpetual motion, followed by the ensuing flood with the masses of workers rushing to escape, that put to shame many modern sci-fi epics with their computer generated effects.

This reconstructed version in 2K digital projection features a new 2010 symphony orchestra studio recording of the original 1927 Gottfried Huppertz score as well as newly translated English subtitles as well as the original German intertitles.

The mother of all sci-fi films, this powerful, iconic work was a big hit at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, and is one movie no serious filmgoer can afford to miss!

The film is released by Eureka Entertainment (020 8459 8054).

By Laurence Green

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