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Drama, Thriller, Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance
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Fritz Lang
Alfred Abel as Joh Fredersen
Gustav Fröhlich as Kenichi
Rudolf Klein-Rogge as Duke Red
Fritz Rasp as The Thin Man
Theodor Loos as Josaphat
Heinrich George as Grot, the guardian of the Heart Machine
Storyline: Sometime in the future, the city of Metropolis is home to a Utopian society where its wealthy residents live a carefree life. One of those is Freder Fredersen. One day, he spots a beautiful woman with a group of children, she and the children who quickly disappear. Trying to follow her, he, oblivious to such, is horrified to find an underground world of workers, apparently who run the machinery which keeps the above ground Utopian world functioning. One of the few people above ground who knows about the world below is Freder's father, Joh Fredersen, who is the founder and master of Metropolis. Freder learns that the woman is Maria, who espouses the need to join the "hands" - the workers - to the "head" - those in power above - by a mediator or the "heart". Freder wants to help the plight of the workers in the want for a better life. But when Joh learns of what Maria is espousing and that Freder is joining their cause...
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Speed Review Metropolis
Title: Metropolis Year: 1927

Plot: Excellent - makes you want to keep watching

Characters: Amazing for silent characters with deep emotions and quirks that make you like them. Bonus points for Rotwang and his epic hair.

Acting: Appropriate for a silent film and rather enjoyable to watch. Again, Rotwang adds bonus points because the actor playing him, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, had amazing facial expressions.

Set/special effects: Mind blowing for 1927 - Metropolis didn't use any computers, just smoke, mirrors and miniatures!

Verdict: Watch this movie if you are a bit of a Nerd, like classic sci-fi or just appreciate good acting and excellent films.
Not really sci-fi at all, but a masterpiece nonetheless.
"Metropolis" is, if nothing else, one of the most spectacular visual movies I've ever seen. Reportedly the most expensive German movie up to that time, Fritz Lang created an awesome city, totally memorable. I was lucky enough to see the restored version of the film -- listed as being 124 minutes, seeming like less -- in the theater with a group of about 70 people. Everyone seemed to enjoy the 75 year-old beast. (There was some clapping at the end -- a tradition that has always perplexed me. I mean, it's not like Fritz and his crew, or even those responsible for the wonderful restoration, are around to bask in the applause. Although, I guess, the applause was meant more for the theater that opted to bring the film here.)

This is definitely one for the big screen.

The story is heavy-handed by today's standards, but putting myself in the shoes of what I imagine the average audience of the time would have been like made me appreciate the ideas of the film more. (By no means, however, am I suggesting that a 1927 audience was less educated than we. They just didn't have the extra 75 years of movies we do.)

The subterranean workers of the great city threaten to overthrow its rulers, led by Joh Fredersen. Now, Joh's son, Freder, sees an angel of a girl, Maria, who shows him his "brothers" and the terrible conditions of his father's workers. Maria captivates Freder, and she preaches the message of love and peace. The film's message, stated through her, is that the mediator of the hand (workers) and the mind (leader) is the heart (Maria and Freder).

Freder goes below, to the "depths," where he poses as a worker. He discovers plans for a revolt (more like a strike) where the workers will leave their machines in the hopes of being granted better conditions.

But things get more complicated when Joh Fredersen has his scientist, Rotwang, who lives in an old barn-like house that the technical revolutions of the future have forgotten, design something for him. Rotwang has already created a machine man, modeled after Joh Fredersen's dead wife Hel (a sort of "replacement"), but Joh Fredersen has him affix Maria's face to the machine. Joh plans to use this machine to incite the workers to violence, by having her first get the workers' attention by doing a (not so) sexy gyspy dance. Of course they do, and the city is flooded. The moral at the end of the film is silly, but because the whole film is so unrealistic, so much like a fable, it didn't bother me. (I did, however, lean over to my friend and say in a Fred Rogers voice, "Won't you be my mediator?")

There really isn't much else you can say about "Metropolis." Those images are why you'd see this movie. The way it reflects (or maybe warns against) Nazi totalitarianism is interesting. (One image, in particular, where a machine explodes and turns into a giant devourer, has an unsettling similarity to gas chamber.) I like that Lang was interested both in the ideals of Freder and Maria, but also in a sense of order. With the uprising that does occur, of course, there are repercussions. The dialogues (or title cards) in the film express a protest of the sort of dictating aristocracy of Metropolis, but Lang's own spectacular sets and monumental vision seem to argue with that.

The sets and the images (including two memorable camera moves) just can't be overemphasized. Sometimes they look like models or Styrofoam or just plain goofy, but they're incredible and original and influential. Many a homage has been paid to this film, from "Dr. Strangelove" to more of a blatant rip-off in "The Fifth Element."

This is a vastly entertaining movie, made no less enjoyable by its sometimes silly premise. (It's not as if the acting in silent movies isn't wildly exaggerated -- and isn't that the appeal in the first place?) I'm completely ignorant when it comes to Lang -- this is the first movie of his I've seen. Nevertheless, this is a masterwork.

Movie-making milestone, but boring
OK, first of all. I'm not some kind of action-junkie who thinks that the Rambo-trilogy is the best movies of all time. I am a person who think that other silents like Nosferatu and The Battleship Potemkin are entertaining.

Although I loved the previous movies referred to, I thought this was one of the most dull movies ever. As entertainment this movie can't go very far. On a scale rating it's abilities to entertain, it gets a 2/10 from me.

As a milestone in the history of movies, it goes all the way to the top. The special effects were great to have been made almost 80 years ago. The editing was great. It must have been one of the most expensive movie made to that date. On the scale of how important a chapter in the cinematic history this is, I will rate it a 10/10.

That means a total 6/10. This also means that you should rather check out really good silents like Chaplin's Modern Times, Eisenstein's The Battleship Potemkin and Murnau's Nosferatu.
Stunning imagery, pity about the plot
One definitely can't fault the breadth and ambition of Fritz Lang's vision, even if, as always with depictions of the future, there are a few forgivable blind spots. (The cars that swarm up and down the multiple levels of Metropolis are unmistakably the standard models of the 1920s, as are the flying-machines that buzz about them; while the business dress of tomorrow's rulers, unlike their exotic leisure wear, doesn't appear to have advanced one iota!)

H.G.Wells criticised the film for its adherence to arty image over scientific rigour, and as a piece of coherent science fiction it's certainly as lacking as he claimed. The machines exist to appear awesome and to torment their workers rather than to perform any apparent task, and there is no explanation of how this society functions, how it evolved or how it is sustained, let alone of the incongruities that must surely lie behind such anomalous locations as the catacombs and the cathedral. But Wells' own futuristic film, "Things to Come", conceived in direct riposte to Lang's 'unscientific' approach, is tedious and talky as a result, didactic in its heavy-footed philosophy and explanations, and lacking in artistic vision: "Metropolis" may be 'soft' SF, but its approach undoubtedly makes for better cinema.

I am not, however, impressed by it as a film. Masterpiece of Modernism it may be -- but great design and special effects can't save today's big-budget clunkers from deficiencies of character and plot, and they don't save this one. Ironically, I suspect that its reputation has benefited greatly from its being the only silent film many of its viewers have ever encountered: reading through the IMDb pages, I see well-meaning comments like "Great -- when you consider how primitive cinema was in 1927" and "once you get used to the fact that it takes about ten gestures to convey one sentence..." It wasn't -- and it doesn't!

As silent films go, this is in many places agonizingly slow and repetitious, marred by clumsy acting, tendentious titles and overwrought gestures. By the late 1920s, cinema had progressed far beyond this laboured pantomime: in Lang's case the heavy stylisation may have been a deliberate choice, but compared to the fluidity of contemporaries such as Sjostrom's "The Wind" or "The Scarlet Letter", Asquith's "Underground" or "Shooting Stars", and Murnau's "Sunrise", the film comes across as ten years behind the times. The problem is not necessarily with the actors -- Brigitte Helm, as has been observed, does an excellent job in differentiating her two characters -- but with the direction and pacing.

We saw the restored version with the original Gottfried Huppertz score; the latter didn't always seem to fit too well, with pops, jumps and awkward silences, but this was I assume due either to the difficulty of fitting it to allow for the missing material, or to problems in the projection booth when running a newly-arrived print for the first time. However, the painstaking summary of the various 'missing scenes' only ended up increasing my appreciation of what a good job had been done in the editing-down in the first place! To take a single example: where the edited version conveys Freder's sudden recollection that he is supposed to be the workers' long-awaited 'mediator' via the simple juxtaposition of three shots -- the shift-change whistle announcing the meeting, the catacombs and Freder suddenly struck by an idea and rushing off -- the restoration betrays the fact that a couple of scenes of mimed dialogue were originally provided to spell out the message at painstaking length...

It is interesting to see how it was done, but most of the cuts are either an improvement or a very clever abridgement, and by and large I didn't feel that what was omitted had been any great loss. In fact, frankly I felt that the film was in need of further editing at certain points, such as Rotwang's pursuit of Maria through the catacombs. She screams, and runs, and screams, and runs, and is pursued by a searchlight effect; it's clever, self-consciously clever, the first couple of times, but the repetition becomes tedious to the point of caricature. Plot infelicities abound in increasing numbers, culminating in the infamous 'Hunchback of Notre Dame'-style ending where the mad scientist carries off the girl across the roof of the cathedral hotly pursued by Our Hero, which raised giggles, in a hitherto serious and respectful audience, with which I couldn't help but sympathise.

This is a film to see once in a lifetime so that you can say that you have seen it -- not least because most of the impact lies in the visuals. But it's all surface and no substance: the characters act arbitrarily, the plot is subservient to the Message, the pacing is like treacle, the story-telling technique is primitive, and really all it has going for it is the visual flair and the special effects. I quite honestly believe that this work would be better appreciated as a set of stills in a glossy brochure; an exhibit in a design exhibition. This is not cinema as I love it -- it's innovative, it may be Art, but as an actual film it's only a poor shadow.
Disturbing how it seems like they actually predicted the future!
I love silent films and remember seeing a clip of Metropolis in my film appreciation class, I was so excited to pick a five dollar copy of this film from Best Buy and I was just amazed at how disturbing this movie was for not only it's time, but today. Today, 2006, times are just like this movie's plot, everyone is getting so lazy due to technology's quick advancements, that they'll do anything just so they have to work less.

This movie is about a boss who is upset with the way his workers are always tired and have to go home. When he brings up to another worker that he has created the perfect worker, a robot who will never get tired, hungry, or have to go home to a family. But soon the worker has a fantasy, or as I'd say a very horrific nightmare, that the robots will turn against these humans and take over the world!

Yeah, silent films have always been overacted and very cheesy to look at, but it's amazing to me to see what the times were like and what the mood was. The reason why Metropolis is so well loved and respected is not only because of the mood it captured, but how amazingly psychic it was, I think since the time that electricity was discovered, we've all feared how far we could go with technology, and Metropolis is a haunting picture that captures it so well.

A Beautiful Classic
Nearing 90 years since its initial release back in 1927, there probably isn't much left to say about Metropolis that hasn't already been repeated in countless other reviews and articles. Nevertheless, I am compelled to chip in with the roar and recommend the film to anyone who somehow hasn't gotten around to giving it a shot. Having recently viewed the latest Masters of Cinema BluRay, I cannot overstate the importance of watching the movie from a reputable source. My original viewing was somewhere close to a decade ago on a cheap public domain DVD that left me somewhat bewildered to the film's adornment. Ten years on however and I'm a convert thanks to the great efforts of those involved with restoring the film as close to its former glory as possible. Finally, I will conclude by echoing the praises of many others. Between the glorious photography, hugely elaborate sets, bombastic original score and epic storyline there lies a madman, Fritz Lang. Perfectionist to a fault, he somewhat unknowingly created one of the great silent epics of all time and the rest is history.
The "Blade Runner" of the '20's.
This truly is a classic masterpiece and honestly one of the best movies ever made. The story is brilliant and the visuals amazing.

I have seen the German 147 minutes version of the movie, without subtitles. Yes it's a long watch but it's worth every second of it. Basically only reason why the movie is so long is because they need about ten hand gestures to speak one sentence. It's kind of dreadful to look at first but once you're used to it, it shouldn't trouble you anymore.

In many ways this movie can be regarded as the "Blade Runner" of the '20's. "Metropolis" is set in a futuristic world that has a same kind of atmosphere as in "Blade Runner". The mix of '20's cars and propeller-planes with futuristic machines, highways, buildings and androids is very unusual but an absolutely awesome thing to look at. The movie was ahead of its time and in some ways also prophetic.

The story is absolutely the best thing of the movie. Also the way the story is told and directed by Fritz Lang deserves credit. The story is tense and has quite some symbolism, layers and storyline's but remains always easy to follow. The ending is truly spectacular and tense. The way how spectacular and tense the ending and the entire movie in general was, really surprised me in a positive way.

The sets are obviously fake and miniatures at times but they still manage to convince and impress. Further more the movie is filled with some fantastic and very convincing early special effects.

Man who also deserves credit is Alfred Abel. Wow, what a great actor he was in this movie.

An absolute must see and one of the best movies of all time.

man machine
A masterpiece that's all I can say. Go figure out how they did all the effects back then. Editing wasn't what we see nowadays and CGI wasn't done of course so it had to be done all in-camera or layer on layer for special effects.

German expressionism on it's best. Finally since a few years full uncut after finding the reel in Buenos Aires in really bad conditions. It shows in the full uncut but it doesn't bother. just seen it finally on Blu Ray it's worth picking up. Not only for the restoration but for the flick itself of course. Just see the settings how wonderful they were. What even surprised me was that in the beginning one dancer is showing her breasts and that for 1927! Even the main lead Brigitte Helm transformed into the robot goes dirty dancing. One of the last silent movies made, it was in the same year that The Jazz Singer came out with sound.

Even clocking in way over 2 hours not one minute did it bore me. Cult classic that did stand the time and is still actual.

Gore 0/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 5/5 Story 5/5 Comedy 0/5
BBC Metropolis
There is no mention in the various versions of the BBC Metropolis which was issued on TV 1975-78 on PBS in USA. I was fortunate to own a vcr at that time to record it. 126 min. - it is superior to the kino versions in many ways - for one they used a German original 35mm print. BBC added synchronized sound effects and by use of videotape were able to slow the film down to a normal speed. Making it a much different and better movie. The Complete version is way too fast and makes it look ridiculous in some scenes. BTW the Murnau folks censored their version which is borne out by a comparison with the BBC version. The German version uses the best takes.

Australian Metropolis - this tinted print was the basis of the Moroder version. It is special in that it uses the writing of Channing Pollock who was hired by Paraufamet to create a profitable English language version - All Pollock ended up doing was to make a complicated movie incomprehensible by dumb editing choices. Left alone Metropolis by Fritz Lang was a 3 hour movie and if projected properly the complete version would be 3 hours. For some unknown reason they need to cram this epic picture into 150 min. there is much more info than I could write here.
Not a review really, or perhaps - who knows?
Hi there!

I consider myself to be a true admirer of movies, in general and I kind of stumbled over this one. If Mr Lang was in his flesh right now Id tell this to his face; - Id like to thank you Lang. How to do that? Im already rude just talking to you right now without proper introduction.

Whatever: The movie is about workers and managers so to say, and no sound. The "soundthing" is kind of the point. That kind of movie... You don't have to be a stupid watcher or the kvasi-guy about it. Lets all stumble and be humbled.

Hopefully Im kindly, Joel Kullberg
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