Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

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Robert Wheeler
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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#326 Post by Robert Wheeler » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:40 pm

I do not see why that can not be an aspiration. One of the reasons the Metropolis trail went dead was because pessimism started to unfairly dominate the search when the possibilities had not been exhausted. Don't forget, several of the new scenes and a few seconds of extra footage were already found in the New Zealand print in 2005, and the researcher did not even get in contact with Prof Koerber until the Argentinian find was announced. Earlier this year it was announced that 75 previously considered missing complete and fragmentary films and were found in that archive including a film by John Ford, and one starring Clara Bow. If nobody has looked in the archives around Argentina properly, who is to say that '4 Devils' is not in there? Nobody would have thought that Metropolis was in there until they found it. None of the prior research supported the idea that it could be there. There was obviously a big hole in the research. We won't find it until we go looking.

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MichaelB
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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#327 Post by MichaelB » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:01 am

Robert, can I hazard a guess that you've never worked in a large film archive?

I can't begin to imagine how long it would take to search such a place "properly" - which I assume would involve physically examining every print (not least because many key discoveries were found under different titles, such as Robert Bresson's long-thought-lost Affaires publiques, found masquerading as an apparently inconsequential comedy short named Béby Inaugure). We're certainly talking years, possibly decades, so who would underwrite such a massive project with no guaranteed outcome, given that most film archives are desperately underfunded?

Believe me, as someone who does work in a film archive (albeit one admittedly much larger than the one in Buenos Aires), I find it all too easy to understand why films sit untouched for decades before being discovered. Not least because even if a print is known about, its true rarity may not be immediately apparent, as was the case in Argentina.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#328 Post by Robert Wheeler » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:17 am

But I was not saying that it would not take effort to find, I was saying that it most likely existed. Many people had openly declared that from their learned position, there was no way there would be any more substantial finds for Metropolis. It even says words to this effect in the opening title cards of the 2001 cut. The message went out loud and clear "there is no more Metropolis footage". Taking that stance, no one is ever going to attract any funding for searches. Frankly, I think there is some snobbery going on in the established film circles. The places where finds are most likely to be made are the poorly catalogued and neglected archives, and these are where the attention should go. If you go looking for Metropolis there, then you are likely to find plenty of other thigns along the way.

However, my gut feeling is that we are not looking for misfiled or mislabeled reels. I think these things are probably sitting perfectly well filed, I just do not think they have been checked. I mean, it stands to reason, if the material found in Argentina is known to descend from a print which itself came from two separate sources with different title card styles, then it suggests there has been some considerable distribution of this version of the film, and at some point someone compiled two separate prints to complete their version of the film. As far as I am concerned, any print originating from Argentina has to be a candidate to contain new or better quality material. It is obvious there was a gigantic hole in the research that took place up until the point of the 2005 and 2008 discoveries. Onward to South America!

BTW, I do have some idea of what a film archive looks like.

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MichaelB
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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#329 Post by MichaelB » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:13 pm

Robert Wheeler wrote:BTW, I do have some idea of what a film archive looks like.
I have some idea of what a courtroom and stock exchange look like too, but I suspect that were I to make similarly glib and presumptuous statements about how they operated in the presence of people who worked there as their day job, they'd react in much the same way that I'm doing now.

Believe me, every archive is trying to catalogue its holdings as fully as resources permit - which usually isn't anywhere close to "fully", given far greater priorities such as physical preservation. Nobody in Germany seemed to know after the event that a full print of Metropolis had even been sent to Argentina in the first place - so how and why, from the perspective of what we knew in 2001, would you have proposed initiating such a search? You said earlier that Argentina was "crawling with Nazis", but I don't see how that's relevant - the print of Metropolis was shipped there many years before Hitler came to power, and I don't imagine too many exiled Nazis took the trouble to ship many 35mm film cans with them when they fled to South America after the war.

The fact is that systematic searches for materials that probably aren't there in the first place (the statistical likelihood being pretty overwhelming) inevitably suck up scarce resources that can be far more usefully, if much less glamorously, deployed elsewhere. And "gut feeling" is not generally accepted as a valid motive when filling out funding applications, unless you're able to fund what will inevitably be an expensive and time-consuming project via private means.

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ola t
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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#330 Post by ola t » Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:22 am

Robert Wheeler wrote:Any Tom, Dick or Harry could have strolled into that film archive at any point in the last thirty years and discovered that print.
This may be beside the point but I find your wording amusing since that's exactly what Fernando Peña first tried to do in 1988.
I asked if I could see the canisters containing Metropolis, but Martorelli briefly informed me that it was not possible. I replied that I only needed a couple of minutes, but Cimenti's response was final: "Those in charge do not know how difficult it is to run this place."
And again in 1989. (same article)
I tried to take a look at the materials for the last time, but Cimenti and Martorelli did not allow me to get in the room where they were stored. [...] The curtain falls, while Cimenti and Martorelli dance the dance of the triumphant bureaucrat.
He wanted to have another go in 1998, but the collection was packed because it was about to be moved. He tried again in 2004, but the collection was packed because it was about to be moved. (Still? Or again? Not sure.)

To get access, he had to travel back in time and marry the future head of the archive. New York Times:
Over the years, Mr. Peña had shared his frustrations at not being given access to the film with Paula Félix-Didier, another film archivist and, during the 1990s, his wife. When she became head of the Museo del Cine in 2008, she said, “I called Fernando and said, ‘Just come, let’s do it.’ So he came, we looked for the cans, and there they were, cataloged and up on a shelf.”

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#331 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:24 pm

Metropolis apparently one of the most realistic sci fi movies, according to NASA. Which I assume means they can make an evil clone of my girlfriend using magic.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#332 Post by karmajuice » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:08 pm

Is anyone else unnerved by the fact that many of the plausible films involve alien contact?

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#333 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:08 pm

I'm just glad that they avoided mentioning Apollo 13 (I've always had my issues with the way that film tries to characterise Kevin Bacon's Jack Swigert as the 'villain' of the piece, complete with regular shots of complicit eye-rolling looks between Hanks and Paxton throughout at his behaviour, which seems a far too lazy, not to mention unnecessary, attempt at creating drama. As well as a little cruel for a story based on real people). Though presumably they're only talking about 'fictional sci-fi films' here, otherwise The Right Stuff might also have been a contender.
karmajuice wrote:Is anyone else unnerved by the fact that many of the plausible films involve alien contact?
A little, but I am resting easier knowing that NASA agrees that world apocalypse is not going to involve Bruce Willis fighting with his daughter's boyfriend on an asteroid, Hilary Swank driving a spacecraft through Los Angeles sewer tunnels or John Cusack somehow managing to smuggle himself and his family on board an ark.

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Der Müde Tod
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Pixar Remake of Metropolis

#334 Post by Der Müde Tod » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:49 am

Pixar has just announced that they will produce a remake of Metropolis.

They will use the recently released almost-complete print of the film and cutting edge 3D technology to
reverse engineer the movie frame by frame, thus automatically creating photo realistic 3D models of the sets.
They will also reverse engineer camera positions and movements of all takes, and then render the movie
in full HD quality. They expect the film to look extremely close to the original, but in unsurpassed optical quality.

In addition to a black and white version, there will also be a 3D version in color and a mezzotint version.

The expected release date will be one year from today.

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zedz
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Re: Pixar Remake of Metropolis

#335 Post by zedz » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:08 pm

Der Müde Tod wrote:Pixar has just announced that they will produce a remake of Metropolis.

They will use the recently released almost-complete print of the film and cutting edge 3D technology to
reverse engineer the movie frame by frame, thus automatically creating photo realistic 3D models of the sets.
They will also reverse engineer camera positions and movements of all takes, and then render the movie
in full HD quality. They expect the film to look extremely close to the original, but in unsurpassed optical quality.

In addition to a black and white version, there will also be a 3D version in color and a mezzotint version.

The expected release date will be one year from today.
But surely yesterday's discovery of the original negative perfectly preserved in a pickle house in Bremen renders this entire initiative redundant?

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swo17
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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#336 Post by swo17 » Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:39 pm

I find this bit of April Fools news the most impressive of all (most impressive part in bold):
Fake News Source wrote:Fritz Lang has risen from the grave and, finally able to end all conjecture as to what the director of Metropolis intended, will be inserting a heretofore unknown-of 2-minute scene into the film's third act, in which it is reiterated that the heart is the mediator between the head and hands. This important scene will be inserted somewhere between the 15th and 16th time that this happens in the movie as we currently know it.

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Tommaso
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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#337 Post by Tommaso » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:25 am

Did anyone already ask Lang about the correct fps?

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swo17
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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#338 Post by swo17 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:56 am

Reanimated Fritz Lang wrote:Bah, I don't really care about that technical stuff. Just watch it however your arm feels comfortable cranking the projector. It's just a movie after all. More importantly, why don't cheeseburgers taste good anymore? How can you people live like this? Ach du lieber, I just want to be dead again. ](*,)
Smiley added for emphasis.

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marknyc5
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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#339 Post by marknyc5 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:39 pm

Almost finished with my camera-speed version of the complete Metropolis, and I thought I'd post some examples of the great restoration work done on the Argentine print.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03K0E_BgEKg

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#340 Post by Mattiomattio » Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:06 pm

So anyway, I will concede, the film may have been shot at 16fps for projection at 20 fps, but I have serious reservations that it was every intended to be shown at 20fps or above. For me, it was shot with the score being played at 16 or at most 18fps and this is the way the film should be reproduced. They certainly need to re-record the score.
Just been reading some of the old posts on this thread - to go back to this issue of projection speed, I have to say I am tempted to agree on the slower frame rate possibility. Die Nibelungen was apparently projected at around 20 frames per second so it would certainly make sense. The absolute original music recorded on shellac records in 1927 only seems to fit a number of the scenes when the film itself is slowed down to imbetween 20.5 - 21 frames per second as in this video (particuarly the 'Moloch' and Freder/ Maria scenes)
Last edited by Mattiomattio on Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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marknyc5
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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#341 Post by marknyc5 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:22 pm

Thank you! Wow - the music is SO much slower than the speed needed when the film is played at 24 fps.

Is there more of this recording available? Where?

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#342 Post by Mattiomattio » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:19 am

marknyc5 wrote:Thank you! Wow - the music is SO much slower than the speed needed when the film is played at 24 fps.

Is there more of this recording available? Where?
Hi yes, at least in two of the scenes on the video (moloch and the freder/maria scene) although strangley the other two are more or less the same speed as the 2010 version.This ofcourse assuming that the audio is being played at the correct speed....

There is some more of the recording, one side is just Fritz Lang talking, the other record I can only find small portions of it - those being the music for eternal gardens and dance of death scenes.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#343 Post by Mattiomattio » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:52 pm

For anyone who is interested..... have edited together with my previous video two other sections of the film with its original 1927 recording. These being the Eternal gardens scene along with the Yoshiwara dance. Both of the scenes have been edited to match what is present from the music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csf2wLpp3O8

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#344 Post by Lowry_Sam » Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:29 am

Has anyone seen Metropolis with a new soundtrack (Portishead, Massive Attack, Brian Eno & New Order). I'm in Copenhagen & it's playing here & was curious if it's worth seeking out.

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Re: Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)

#345 Post by Lowry_Sam » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:37 am

Just saw Metropolis w/ the new soundtrack & I'm glad I did. I was disappointed that I missed out on the recent UK Steelbook (was again waiting for a price drop & thought that it wouldn't go so fast as it's a rerelease), but now that I saw this version, I'm glad I didn't. I definitely want the new version on blu-ray, don't care so much about which others are also included in a future edition, for me the new soundtrack blows all others out of the water. The new soundtrack does contain familiar songs (Massive Attack's "Teardrops" & "Angel", New Order's "Truth"....), but all vocals have been removed and the mix flows very well from beginning to end. Unlike the Moroder soundtrack this one will hold up quite well for years to come. Not sure if Brian Eno's contribution is new or not, but it wasn't his most known work if it's not a new contribution. The credits state that it was the Murnau Foundation print & one scene in the beginning looked a bit pixelated to me (perhaps a bandwidth issue?) but the remainder of the film the DP projection was not an issue for me.

I'd definitely recommend catching it while you can in case it doesn't end up on disc, as I'm sure music rights issues would probably make its inclusion on disc an uncertainty.

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