on October 12, 2010
All comments and reviews on this film are about other versions of the movie. this includes the write-ups for the previous Kino Video release of this film, which is also for other crappy versions of this film. Epic fail, Amazon! The Kino versions are the only ones worth owning. As proof that the reviews on this particular item are crap, it has not even been released yet, as of this writing. This version include approx 20 minutes of recently recovered footage that was found in Argentina. Combined with the original orchestration of the movie, it is the must have version for TRUE fans of cinematic masterpieces, silent or otherwise. Check out company website for correct info. [...].
on February 24, 2005
As other reviewers have noted, this KINO release is the most complete and restored version of the movie that exists. The storylines make a lot more sense, and the video quality is excellent. I have to confess that I miss the wailing rock soundtrack from the earlier, less complete version of the film. Overall though, the musical score fit the film quite well, and like everything else in this film, it was reconstructed to be as close as possible to the original.
The Complete Metropolis is astounding on blu-ray. The film's well-remembered portions are visually gorgeous, and while the more recently added 'found' scenes are noticeably lower in quality (due to long-term deterioration), it's all still very watchable. Also, the original score has been re-recorded in its entirety, completing this masterpiece to the best possible authentic restoration. Bonus features on the blu-ray include a documentary on the history of finding the lost footage, as well as an interview on the process, and trailer. Highly recommended for film historians and enthusiasts.
on March 10, 2004
Fritz Lang's 1927 cinematic masterpiece METROPOLIS is arguably one of the best and most influential films EVER made...or at least the best and most influential SILENT film ever made. As a work of cinematic art or literature, it actually functions on two levels. First, it is an expressionistic cautionary comment on the dehumanizing effects of a mechanized high-tech society, as well as a not-so-subtle jab at the imbalanced social stratification that results from unfettered capitalism. And secondly, it is one of the first speculative science-fiction movies, offering interesting--and in some cases, prophetic--glimpses into a potential future that offers technological advances such as common commercial flight, video-telephones, mechanical prosthetics, electronic computers, robotics, and much more.
The groundbreaking special FX and film techniques created for and used in METROPOLIS have left an indelible imprint on the SF and horror genres, influencing filmmakers from James Whale to George Lucas and beyond. Indeed, the special FX seen in the robot-creation scene in METROPOLIS are obviously updated and reinterpreted in the creation scene in Whale's 1931 classic FRANKENSTEIN, and George Lucas has publicly admitted that he was inspired to create his STAR WARS character C3P0 after being awed by the robot character in Lang's film.
As for the plot of METROPOLIS, it is set in the year 2026 and revolves around a slice from the life of young and handsome Freder Fredersen. Freder is the only offspring of the wealthy politician and businessman who governs the city-state of Metropolis, and as such, he lives a fairly privileged and carefree existence. But after a happenstance encounter with the beautiful peasant Maria--she a messiah of sorts who preaches a message of peace and hope to the lower classes--Freder follows her into the bowels of Metropolis and quickly learns firsthand the true plight of his city's enslaved working class. With this newfound social awareness, he is ashamed of the selfish excesses his class obtains on the backs of others, and he resolves to help Maria free her people from a life of perpetual toil and make Metropolis a place where all can share in both the labor AND the fruits therefrom.
Some contemporary audiences eschew METROPOLIS with claims that it is dated and too naive in its worldview. While the decades since the film's creation have certainly revealed its simple socialist philosophy be both naive AND impractical, it actually isn't all that different from the feel-good subtext of many of today's films. And there is no cogent grounds for regarding METROPOLIS to be dated or passé, as the narrative is strong, the acting is good (relative to the silent cinema), and most--if not all--of the special FX remain aesthetically powerful and stand strong against even some of Hollywood's modern and lavish CGI FX.
The definitive version of METROPOLIS--at least for the English-speaking audience--is the Restored Authorized Edition from Kino International. Not only is the image clear, sharp, and relatively clean, but at the points in the film where long-lost segments belong, intertitles are inserted that summarize those missing pieces. So even though the full visual beauty of the work isn't restored, the logicality of the narrative is. This is as close to the original as audiences are likely to get, and it is breathtakingly wonderful. There are some bonus extras on the disc, too, but just having the "complete" masterpiece is worth the cost.
A must-see, nay, a MUST-OWN for both science-fiction fans and serious students of the cinema.
on February 26, 2004
Have you ever just wanted to quit your job, due to it's monotony, misery, or drudgery? Well, come to METROPOLIS and see what it's all about! See the fun-loving upper class, frolicking their days away, running through eternal gardens, complete with peacocks and babes in funny clothes! Then, travel deep below ground to where the workers toil their days away, slaving over titanic machines that suck the life right out of their bodies and putrify their souls! Sound like your job? Thankfully, Maria is there to comfort the workers and give them hope of future deliverance at the hands of a great "mediator". Freder, the son of METROPOLIS' top dog and despotic ruler, is mesmerized by Maria and falls in love with her. This leads to problems since she's such a trouble-maker! Frader's dad goes to his mad scientist, Rotwang to check on his latest creation, a robot with very feminine curves. The two evil minds decide to turn the robot into a Maria-double, a wicked doppelgangar, which will destroy her image in the minds of the workers. Unfortunately for dad, Rotwang has ideas of his own and sends his mecha-Maria on a mission to incite the working class to bring down the machines upon which their very lives depend. This will bring METROPOLIS to the ground and ruin Freder sr. (dad) in the process. METROPOLIS is amazing for 1927. The robot scenes are almost supernatural in their effect. The portrayal of the workers as plodding, hopeless drones is unforgettable. Brigitte Helm pulls off her dual role as good Maria / evil Maria with ease and believability. She is modest and virginal one minute, then wanton and sly the next! The city scape and lower levels of the workers' world are surreal. Fritz Lang made a true masterpiece. This is one of a handful of movies that everyone should see at least once before they die...
on November 7, 2012
This is the review that [...] gave to The Complete Metropolis:
"This updated DVD edition of Metropolis features the 2010 restoration version licensed by Transit Films of Germany, comprised of all of the known surviving footage from this crippled masterpiece. With the addition of 25 minutes of footage found in a worn 16mm reduction negative by the curator of the Buenos Aires Museo del Cine in Brazil in 2008, this home video edition now contains the most complete version of the film since its Berlin premiere in January 1927.
The film is presented with the original Gottfried Huppertz music score, performed by the Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Berlin, as conducted by Frank Strobel.
Among the supplementary material is “Voyage to Metropolis,” a 50-minute documentary on the production of the film and its modern restoration, and an interview with Museo del Cine curator Paula Felix-Didier.
For those who have not made the jump to Blu-ray Disc, this will be the finest edition of Metropolis available on home video for many years to come. We highly recommend this revised Kino International DVD edition for your collection."
on February 9, 2004
I was lucky enough to see this film in its 2003 restoration - with the full original soundtrack - in a boutique cinema. The only other version I have seen is the Moroder version.
Watching this film as it was originally shown is silent movie bliss. The soundtrack, which I expected to be rather weak and "old fashioned", turned out to be every bit as exciting and dramatically orchestrated as any modern film - and of course it is newly recorded in Dolby Surround!
Of course, this is the film that was butchered by studios just like Abel Gance's "Napoleon". Unlike Abel Gance's "Napoleon" we will probably never, ever see this film completely restored. The company that restored this film in 2003 must have been through a great deal, finding as many of the remaining fragments as possible, to reconstruct this film to the best level of completeness possible.
Alas, many scenes were still missing. Alas, they will probably remain missing. This version provides text summaries for the (now much fewer) remaining gaps in the story. It is much more comprehensible than any previous version; the storyline may still suck, but at least it's much more coherent!
The restorers also redid many of the special effects using original elements - my favourite is the infinite streams of slaves making the Tower of Babel! - and also restored the image so that it literally looks like a new film.
Overall, this film was quite an experience in the theatre. If only more silent classics were shown in such painstaking restorations!
on April 11, 2003
Fritz Lang's spectacular, gargantuan and visionary METROPOLIS has been seen for over 75 years but only in edited editions.
Now, digitally restored under the supervision of the Murnau Foundation, here is the most complete version ever. With the addition of the sometimes Wagneresque 1927 orchestral score by Gottfried Huppertz, Metropolis can finally be enjoyed in its full eye-popping glory. The story takes place in 2026 (hey, not so far off), when the class differences of the human race are dramatically divided between poor laborers who live underground in dark warrens and labyrinths and the rich who live above in the light of towering, futuristic splendor.
The truly iconic images in this movie -- as famous as any in the 20th century -- have profoundly influenced the sets, ideas, props and themes in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner and even Star Wars. A. O. Scott of the New York Times rightly called Metropolis "A fever dream of the future." This version is over one third longer than any previous release and is by far the most complete since its Berlin premier
Worthwhile extras include a fine commentary by film historian Enno Patalas, great 5.1 surround sound of the newly recorded orchestral score, "The Metropolis Case": a wonderful 43-minute documentary, Photo Galleries of production stills, fascinating missing scenes, striking architectural sketches, posters and more. Highly recommended.
on April 9, 2003
Because others have already done so, I won't elaborate on the film's visual enhancements (I agree it was an excellent tranfer to DVD with the same caveats used by other reviewers). However, I'm baffled by the fact no one apparently wants to go out on a limb and call this what it is - union propaganda. Could "Management" be portrayed in a more sinister light? Could the workers have been portrayed in a more drudgelike, hang-dog fashion (or did they seem like the Israelites were portrayed while enslaved in Egypt)? Essentially the workers were awaiting their Messiah - in this case the "Mediator" (make that union boss Freder) and finally got their Mediator after the boss's son was smitten by the "Union Organizer" Maria (or Mary much like Mary the Virgin gives birth to Jesus, so Maria essentially gives birth to the Messiah (i.e., union boss Freder). And the fact that technology (i.e., the "Evil Maria" that is the robot changed physically by the mad scientist Rotwang to resemble Maria) leads/incites the union people to commit horrible and stupid acts (much like the character in the Ten Commandments movie that incites the Israelites that followed Moses to behave poorly while Moses was away getting the Ten Commandments) was equally appalling. I could go on but you get the drift.
on February 23, 2003
At last, the "Metropolis" film restoration project is complete, and the results are brilliant. One of the greatest and most influential science fiction films in history has been rescued from oblivion, and now it can survive in digital glory to amaze and capture the imaginations of future generations.
The first time I purchased a DVD of this film, it was the "Hollywood Classics" version, and I was so terribly disappointed by the scratchy print that I could hardly get past the first 20 minutes, and ultimately I donated the disc to my local public library. Sure, I knew that surviving prints of "Metropolis" had deteriorated badly, but I had assumed in the age of the DVD that something watchable would be available. The "Hollywood Classics" version is NOT watchable.
But now the definitive version is out, and it's FANTASTIC. I suspect most people who purchase this disc are already familiar with the film and venerate it like I do. But there's much more to recommend this DVD than just the fact that the film has been digitally restored as closely to the version that originally premiered in Berlin in 1927. The extras on this disc are amazing. You'll want to pore over the extensive photo galleries. You'll also enjoy the "Metropolis Case" documentary about Fritz Lang and the place of the film in German Expressionist film history. The short feature about how the film was digitally cleaned up is also interesting, though a bit academic.
But when you finally decide to settle in and watch the film itself, I would highly suggest watching it with the excellent commentary by Enno Patalas ON. It's very well-scripted and provides the film with a great deal of extra meaning and resonance. You've already seen the film a number of times, right? You'll enjoy the commentary, trust me. It doesn't distract from the viewing experience, nor is it like commentary tracks today in which cast and crew watch the film and just throw in offhand observations and an occasional chuckle. Enno Patalas' commentary in contrast is well-paced and highly respectful of both the film and the viewer.