Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

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dad1153
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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#276 Post by dad1153 » Mon May 10, 2010 4:13 pm

OK, I meant until the new DVD/BD versions are available but really not. Rid yourself of what's available now (kill it with fire!) so that when you finally get to see the most complete version to date your mind is blown away. :o

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#277 Post by marknyc5 » Mon May 10, 2010 4:38 pm

Well, actually everyone should wait for my camera-speed version! =)

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#278 Post by knives » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:59 pm

Just got back from this. The old scenes are phenomenal is quality. It all looks like a new movie in the positive sense. Even without the black bars the inserts are obvious, but not to the point of distraction. The characters, especially Joh, are so much more complex in behavior and motivation.
Also sign me up for the Rasp fanclub. He owns what is now my favorite scene. The character on the whole is basically identical in performance to Carradine in Man Hunt. Some very entertaining looks.
My last thought though is that it would be less distracting if instead of a title card for the missing scenes, they just did a Dr. Who and put a flash animation there. It's not perfect, but its better than what they're using.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#279 Post by nsps » Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:55 pm

marknyc5 wrote:Well, actually everyone should wait for my camera-speed version! =)
Camera speed is for sound films and chumps.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#280 Post by marknyc5 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:26 pm

Camera speed is for people who want to see the actors' performance as they were actually performed.

If you want to watch sped up motion, fine - many people prefer to watch the performances at the actual speed. And I mean many people:

"I watched your version of Metropolis this weekend, and wanted to offer my thoughts. Movement was much more natural at this speed. Overall, I preferred your version to the faster one. Yours will likely be the one I watch from now on."

"I think your version is going to spoil me so that I'll never want to watch another silent movie at 24 fps ever again!"

"I would be quite interested in seeing a Metropolis at a slower speed where people aren't flying about at high pace."

"Wow! it's fantastic the difference in viewing it slowed down. Great job on this project. I know which version will get viewed the most."

"You should be proud of what you've done. You've finally made this film watchable!"

"It looked fantastic, and it really involved me in the story more, since it is more realistic. You mentioned how the actors' performances are so much better in the camera speed version; I agree wholeheartedly. The other thing I noticed was how much better the editing is in very brief shots. Now there is enough time to appreciate the shot, whereas in the Kino version it flashes by too quickly. I must congratulate you on what a fantastic job you did."

"I am so impressed by the work you have accomplished in "Metropolis." This is truly the way the film was meant to be seen, as all the movement appears more fluid, human and believeable, instead of robotic and cold. Thank you for giving the world a truer form of the creators art."

"As soon as it arrived in my mailbox I did get a chance to throw it in and watch the first 20 minutes or so and immediately saw a marked improvement over what I'm used to seeing - for example the march of the workers really felt dreary and downtrodden."

"It's just very clear that an abundant amount of talent, tenacity and passion went into this re-edit that I wouldn't have believed possible outside of a studio proper, and now the original Kino DVD comes off as such a disappointment in comparison. Thanks for taking the time to show us the METROPOLIS we all deserve."

"I did manage to get to watch it tonight, and you're right, it's like watching another movie entirely. The entire mood feels different, far less manic and nervous. And it's obvious you put a lot of work into it. Very well done! I'll definitely be showing this to some of my cinefile friends."

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#281 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:31 pm

"You should be proud of what you've done. You've finally made this film watchable!"

I've seen some nasty-ass degraded prints of Metropolis with no sound or horrible tinny little scores and I have never found that movie to be unwatchable.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#282 Post by caminoreal » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:42 am

I saw this at the Music Box theater in Chicago on my recent vacation over there. Metroplolis is an extraordinary experience on a big screen and shouldn't be missed. I found myself tearing up on more than one occasion (a frequent habit for me since I reached my 40th year) just at the visuals or a paticular performance.

I shall buy the DVD but nothing will replace that first viewing in that splended, slightly faded, Chicago movie house.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#283 Post by Henry B » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:12 pm

The Kino catalog says that the new Metropolis with the additional 25 minutes will be released Nov 2010.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#284 Post by Roger Ryan » Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:43 pm

I saw it this afternoon at the Detroit Film Theatre. I wasn't prepared for how magnificent this looks on a large screen. I'd say about half of the "new" footage alters the pacing (for the best) without providing much in the way of new content. The other half, however, seems indispensable to understanding what Lang was trying to do with this film. Perhaps it was due to my own inattention the first two times I watched METROPOLIS (in '83 and '07), but I never understood why the Seven Deadly Sins dissolved away in the cathedral. Well, this new version of the film clears that up in a brilliant little dynamic moment. I absolutely adore this sequence when Freder is having his fever dream; the inclusion of the Thin Man in the image of the monk is perfect.

I'll only add that the theatre was full and the audience was very attentive and appreciative - something I was a little worried about when I heard others complain about unwanted laughter during screenings.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#285 Post by dad1153 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:34 am

My father and his wife (my second stepmother; we get along well) are on the East Coast to visit me and to meet dad's first grandkid (my sister's first). Last Thursday they were in NYC visiting me and it was the last day the Film Forum was showing "The Complete Metropolis." Since last year I've introduced them through DVD to outside-mainstream-to-them cinema (Ozu's "Late Spring" and "Tokyo Story," Kurosawa's "Ikiru" and "Ran," Kubrick's "2001" and "Full Metal Jacket," Neil Marhsall's "The Descent," etc.) but I'd never shown them a silent movie, and they say they'd never seen one (both are in their early 60's). So I took a gamble and convinced them to go to the last theatrical showing of 'the great-great-great grandaddy of Avatar' (the easiest way I could come up to sell this flick to 'civilians'). To my surprise it was a packed house (I fully expected the theater to be almost empty) and the three of us got separated but I stayed with my father. A few times during the movie's first hour my father was falling asleep and I'd nudge him to wake him up. At one point, when the sleep really was getting the best of him (and before the reveal that there were two Maria's), I actually bit his arm so hard he screamed in pain but he stayed awake through the rest of the movie. I don't even want to think what those around us in the theater thought we were doing. :roll: Stepmom saw the whole thing and claims to have enjoyed it but not the rude women her seat was sandwiched in-between that took over her seat's arm rests to place their own food and clothes. In the days after seeing "Metropolis" my folks haven't stopped telling everybody else in the family about the 'two-and-a-half hour B&W German silent movie' I imposed on them (BS, they could have said no) but they're also using scenes/phrases from the movie ('Evil Maria,' 'Mediator-Heart-Brain' metaphors, how the workers' struggle resembles their own back home, etc.) in everyday conversation so the movie made an impression. I figured if they're only going to see one silent movie in their entire lives it might as well be "Metropolis" on the big screen. :P

As for me, I'd seen "The Complete Metropolis" in early May and it was still fun to see a month later. With the restored footage Josaphat and The Thin Man make excellent second-banana sidekick/henchman to Freder and Joh (respectively). I'd never picked in my previous half-a-dozen viewings of the movie (going back to the early 2000's Kino release) that (a) you can see-through some boobs in the Garden scene on one of the girls, (b) the whole 'Babel' sequence was meant to convey the first worker uprising in recorded history (it always struck me as Lang just showing off with a cool 'look at my style' sequence) and (c) there are way too many impossible coincidences (Freder walking by the lab right at the moment Maria screams for help, the human Maria running just as the mechanical one was passing by, etc.) on which the entire narrative hangs. No biggie though, November cannot come soon enough! ](*,)

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#286 Post by CrazedCollector » Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:41 pm

dad1153 wrote:(c) there are way too many impossible coincidences (Freder walking by the lab right at the moment Maria screams for help, the human Maria running just as the mechanical one was passing by, etc.) on which the entire narrative hangs.
Oh, the bygone world of Dickens stories and very early cinema - just about the opposite of today's near-random mainstream junk.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#287 Post by HarryLong » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:23 am

CrazedCollector wrote:
dad1153 wrote:(c) there are way too many impossible coincidences (Freder walking by the lab right at the moment Maria screams for help, the human Maria running just as the mechanical one was passing by, etc.) on which the entire narrative hangs.
Oh, the bygone world of Dickens stories and very early cinema - just about the opposite of today's near-random mainstream junk.
This really is an excellent observation. A lot of what have been noted as deficiencies in the METROPOLIS script (and I'll include the sugary heart-hand ending) really have to be seen in light of the literature that was prevalent at the time. Dickens may have been gone, but his influence was till much in force. Freder strolling by at just the right moment isn't anywhere near as convenient as a character being removed from the scene by spontaneous combustion...

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#288 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:24 pm

HarryLong wrote:
CrazedCollector wrote:
dad1153 wrote:(c) there are way too many impossible coincidences (Freder walking by the lab right at the moment Maria screams for help, the human Maria running just as the mechanical one was passing by, etc.) on which the entire narrative hangs.
Oh, the bygone world of Dickens stories and very early cinema - just about the opposite of today's near-random mainstream junk.
This really is an excellent observation. A lot of what have been noted as deficiencies in the METROPOLIS script (and I'll include the sugary heart-hand ending) really have to be seen in light of the literature that was prevalent at the time. Dickens may have been gone, but his influence was till much in force. Freder strolling by at just the right moment isn't anywhere near as convenient as a character being removed from the scene by spontaneous combustion...
True - I feel that METROPOLIS establishes itself as a fable or parable early on and, therefore, the coincidences are not particularly troublesome. Apart from the futuristic setting, the style in which the story is presented is not a modern one. Certain elements break this pattern, such as the handling of the Yoshiwara scenes and the more humorous approach of the Thin Man's pursuit of Freder, but those are the exceptions that add a distinctiveness to an old story told in a modern guise.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#289 Post by HarryLong » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:52 pm

Roger Ryan wrote:
HarryLong wrote:
CrazedCollector wrote: Oh, the bygone world of Dickens stories and very early cinema - just about the opposite of today's near-random mainstream junk.
This really is an excellent observation. A lot of what have been noted as deficiencies in the METROPOLIS script (and I'll include the sugary heart-hand ending) really have to be seen in light of the literature that was prevalent at the time. Dickens may have been gone, but his influence was till much in force. Freder strolling by at just the right moment isn't anywhere near as convenient as a character being removed from the scene by spontaneous combustion...
True - I feel that METROPOLIS establishes itself as a fable or parable early on and, therefore, the coincidences are not particularly troublesome. Apart from the futuristic setting, the style in which the story is presented is not a modern one. Certain elements break this pattern, such as the handling of the Yoshiwara scenes and the more humorous approach of the Thin Man's pursuit of Freder, but those are the exceptions that add a distinctiveness to an old story told in a modern guise.
You're coming perilously close to a theory I advanced some years ago on the Scarlet Street message boards (and may have touched on in my Filmfax pice on the film) that Metropolis is in many ways part three of Die Nibelungen...

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#290 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:29 pm

This kind of coincidence--where a character wanders by at just the right moment to overhear essential secret information (this shit still goes on in Harry Potter), or to overhear the one part of the conversation easiest to misconstrue (Heathcliffe in Wuthering Heights), or to meet the exact person they need to find at the exact moment they most need to find them--has been a convention of the novel since the eighteenth century, and one picked up from the even older genre out of which the novel came, prose Romance. So I wouldn't blame it on Dickens, he is hardly the most notable practitioner.

Those who've pointed out that Metropolis resembles a fable (it may actually be closer to a parable), or is the third part of Die Nibelungen, have picked up on the origin of this particular contrivence in older, non-naturalistic prose narratives. Die Nibelungen is an adaptation of an old German verse Romance called Die Nibelungenlied (The Nibelung's Song) and thus has a spiritual affinity with Metropolis, the latter looking back to old Romance conventions such as a hero descending from an Eden-like upper world into a twisted lower world (to rescue a female incarnation of virtue), a female figure of evil who cloaks herself in a deceptive image of purity, a scientist/alchemist who works to trick the hero using his dark powers, and allegorical representations of religious ideas (sins or virtues, usually personified).

The movie's script is rather old fashioned and the coincidences, as has been pointed out, should be understood in the context of the conventions out of which the thing was written.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#291 Post by HarryLong » Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:54 pm

Bravo on picking up on even more than I think I noted at the time:
Die Nibelungenlied (The Nibelung's Song) and has a spiritual affinity with Metropolis' throw-back appeal to Romance conventions, with a hero descending from an Eden-like upper world into a twisted lower world (to rescue a female incarnation of virtue), a female figure of evil who cloaks herself in a deceptive image of purity, a scientist/alchemist who works to trick the hero using his dark powers, allegorical representations of religious ideas
If I recall (hell, it's been ten years since I wrote the piece) I was primarily reacting to being sent the Kino NIBELUNGEN DVDs and the one for METROPOLIS at about the same time and writing the review of the former at about the same at the METROPOLIS essay/interview with Martin Korber. Hence I viewed all 3 films within a week & was struck more by stylistic similarities, primarily that we have a simplistic (though filled with plots & counter-plots) tale told on an epic scale in the two projects. There are also scenes that echo from one to another - the treasure that is supported by the dwarves in NIBELUNGEN is echoed in the dais that the false Maria dances on in METROPOLIS and where the dwarves are transformed into statues in NIBELUNGEN we have statues coming to life in METROPLIS' cathedral.
It was interesting to read descriptions here of the scenes that have now been restored (the first weekend I had free to travel to NYC was just after METROPOLIS closed at the Film Forum, dammit!) and how much Lang plays with doubles of characters and visuals. NIBELUNGEN also deals in this to a great extent. Siegfried and Brunhilde are strikingly similar of face and even sport much the same hairstyle (though one is blond and the other brunette); Siegfried receives his bath of invulnerability (save for that damned pesky leaf!) in a lake and then falls dead by (in? I'm blanking) a body of water when speared. The second film functions as an inverse reflection of the first in terms of its setting. The first begins in a rusticated or pagan setting before moving on to the "civilized" setting of the Burgundian Court and formal, symmetrical compositions. The second moves from that setting to the more primitive kingdom of Atilla and more chaotic visuals. Then there's the doubling of actors...

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#292 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:00 pm

Mr_sausage wrote:Die Nibelungenlied (The Nibelung's Song) and has a spiritual affinity with Metropolis' throw-back appeal to Romance conventions, with a hero descending from an Eden-like upper world into a twisted lower world (to rescue a female incarnation of virtue), a female figure of evil who cloaks herself in a deceptive image of purity, a scientist/alchemist who works to trick the hero using his dark powers, allegorical representations of religious ideas
Er, I realized my wording above is ambiguous. That list of Romance elements refers solely to Metropolis, not the Nibelungenlied, which doesn't necessarily share these exact features, tho' it has plenty of similar aspects. I've changed my original post to reflect that.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#293 Post by HarryLong » Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:58 pm

There are, however variations, which can be expected given NIBELUNGEN's older origin. We do have Siegfried descending into a twisted lower world (Auberich's realm) where the dwarf king tries to trick him. We have Siegfried using his invisibility cloak to trick Brunhilde (neither a hero or heroine, but I did say variations) and Krimheld pretends to remain a figure of purity while she lures those who killed her husband to their deaths.
But, as I previously noted, my observations of the resemblances between the productions is really based more on stylistic matters.
And to clarify something in my earlier post, I should have written that METROPLIS "plays like" a third part of NIBELUNGEN rather than "is" the third part.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#294 Post by dad1153 » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:35 pm

Guys, it took me seven viewings (and only two with the restored Argentinian footage) for me to notice the plot coincidences. I just mentioned it because it stood out this time (along with the Garden boobs and meaning of the 'Babel' sequence) but on six previous viewings it didn't bother me at all. [-o<

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#295 Post by CrazedCollector » Tue Jun 15, 2010 6:53 pm

HarryLong wrote:...my observations of the resemblances between the productions is really based more on stylistic matters.
HL, have you read Thomas Elsaesser's excellent monograph on Metropolis published by BFI? I purchased a copy after seeing the "Complete" Metropolis last month at New York's Film Forum, and Elsaesser makes a similar stylistic case - especially striking to me was his comparison of Siegfried's wound and the city's "wound" as it began to flood (the book prints respective images which prove a too-close-for-coincidence conclusion). Short, but a worthwhile read if you're interested!

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#296 Post by dad1153 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:13 am

The restored version of "Metropolis" (1927) has its American US TV premiere on TCM (USA) Sunday Nov. 7th at 8PM ET (5PM PT). It's also playing for the next two weeks at the Ziegfield theater in NYC and coming out on DVD/Blu-ray soon after.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#297 Post by Robert Wheeler » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:46 am

This may be bad form declaring it on an open forum, but I have just received my promo of the new Eureka release of Metropolis on DVD and Blu-ray! I will be writing a review that will either appear on my website or somewhere in the press in the next couple of days!

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#298 Post by HarryLong » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:06 am

CrazedCollector wrote:
HarryLong wrote:...my observations of the resemblances between the productions is really based more on stylistic matters.
HL, have you read Thomas Elsaesser's excellent monograph on Metropolis published by BFI? I purchased a copy after seeing the "Complete" Metropolis last month at New York's Film Forum, and Elsaesser makes a similar stylistic case - especially striking to me was his comparison of Siegfried's wound and the city's "wound" as it began to flood (the book prints respective images which prove a too-close-for-coincidence conclusion). Short, but a worthwhile read if you're interested!
Just spotted this post of yours...
I did pick up a copy of that book back in August as I'm on the verge of writing an article for the next issue of VAN HELSING'S JOURNAL on the film & wanted to track down as much resource material as possible.
And, yes, I was fascinated to see those comparisons that Elsaesser made. (I'm glad that I intially made comments to that effect several years ago in FILMFAX so that I won't be accused of simply parroting his viewpoint.) I admit the similarity in "wounds" was one I hadn't spotted (nor the stalactites), but he also noted the gnomes made into statues supporting the treasure in NIBELUNGEN and the humanoid statues under the robot's dias and other repeated or mirrored images that I pointed out in my article.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#299 Post by Antares » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:46 pm

dad1153 wrote:The restored version of "Metropolis" (1927) has its American US TV premiere on TCM (USA) Sunday Nov. 7th at 8PM ET (5PM PT).
I had been holding off for years watching this film, hoping that somehow they'd find the lost footage. After finally getting to see it last night, I was completely blown away by it. Lang is a freakin' genius!

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#300 Post by dx23 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:33 pm

The documentary "Metropolis Refound", which aired after the film on TMC was also pretty good. Interesting to see how that film was re-discovered in Argentina of all places with the missing scenes.

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