60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars all reviews etc here are BS
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,...
Published on Oct. 12 2010 by Rondini
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the Kino DVD
If you're reading this, you doubtlessly know already that Metropolis is a magnificent classic of the silent era. No definitive version is available yet, they're all incomplete, but this DVD is especially atrocious. The picture quality is an insult to DVD technology. I just saw the theatrical release of Kino International's new restoration, and it's a beautiful,...
Published on Sept. 22 2002
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3.0 out of 5 stars the pitfalls of restoration,
The rating above applies to the version I own, the Excelsior Collector's Edition from Madacy Entertainment. It's only 115m long, and there are portions of the film that are in bad need of restoration. I looked around at the initial description and some of the reviews, but I can't find any mention of the length of this newly restored version offered for sale here, though it seems to be about 2 1/2 hours (the original was 17 reels, or 182m, and for a long time the longest version available was 12 reels, or 128m). That, and some reviewers' concerns about the projection speed (too fast), omitted shots, and omitted title cards make me hesitant about acquiring this "upgrade."
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad that I finally saw this "must-see.",
When I saw 'Metropolis' at the rental store and its boasting of being newly restored, I couldn't resist finally taking the film home. I'd read about it dozens of times and knew vaguely what to expect, and I had even seen the anime film 'Metropolis' which was obviously inspired in no small part by this wondrous achievement in filmmaking.
I'm not knowledgeable enough in cinema history and technique to give this film a just review, but I will mention a few things that touched me on a very personal, mental level.
The theme of mediation between hand and heart is genuinely touching, and it reminded me of Hegel's notion of synthesis as well as his master/slave dialectic. Not literally, of course, since in the film, the workers don't actually come to the conclusion that the results of their labor belong to them, and mediation is touted as being more desireable than conflict, but overall, I couldn't ignore the Hegelian implications the film depicted.
While reading 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand, though she described (at length, I must lament) what her fictional world consisted of, I could never really visualize it in any meaningful way. Well, 'Metropolis' has certainly shown me what Rand's ideal universe would be--a grand construct borne of a reigning ubermensch who lives on the backs, flesh, blood, and sweat of human cogs who are expected to gratefully "contribute" to the comfort and luxury of those more "rational" than they. Fortunately, 'Metropolis' does not force us to choose sides in this tale, and it decidedly refrains from proselytizing to its audience. We can completely sympathize with the workers and their plight, and their horrendous working conditions, their hapless melding with machine, is intolerable. But at the same time we witness the efficiency and splendor of Metropolis, and Frederson doesn't seem to be an evil man. It's obvious that he loves his son, and he can almost be seen as more of a workaholic and overachiever than anything else.
As others have mentioned, the film speed seems distorted in certain scenes, and I was unfortunately reminded of those humorous old "cops and robbers" chase scenes where everything is comically jerky and spastic. Not the most dignified cinematic imagery to say the least, but I tried my best to overlook it.
The special effects, sets, costuming and score are wonderful, and I haven't seen many silent films, so I can't compare the acting in 'Metropolis' to the acting in other silents, but I thoroughly enjoyed the work of every actor in this film, especially that of the woman who played Maria. Her Machine-Man was brilliantly creepy and diabolical, and I loved her facial expressions and body-language. And in regards to the sets and art, I couldn't believe the complexity and vitality of Metropolis. Countless incredible images can be found in this city, and even its macabre destruction was more the death of an organic entity than the mere crumbling of wire, steel, and asphalt.
There's no question in my mind why 'Metropolis' is considered one of the greatest films of all time, and it is such works of art as this that can so successfully evoke the tragedy of the human condition and then redeem it in one fell, glorious swoop. There's no reason not to see this movie, period.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Film Restored,
It is sad that so many great works of art have been lost or butchered for various reasons over the centuries. And even though it is often impossible to restore them to their original glory, it is a worthy effort to try to do so. Recut and reworked after its original presentation in 1927, Metropolis will likely never again be seen in its original form due to lost footage; however, the creators of the cut shown on this DVD have given us a good sense of what that film was like.
Though my experience with silent films is minimal, a youth spent as a science fiction buff introduced me to this film. I had seen bits and pieces of it growing up but had never sat down to watch the entire thing until I obtained this DVD. What an amazing experience! I am sorry I waited so long to see it. This film intertwines a love story, revenge story and social commentary with amazing special effects to create a powerful movie experience. Few movies today can achieve the kind of success that Lang was able to create over 70 years ago.
It is a bit sad to come across those moments in the film where text has to break in and explain what happens in footage that has been lost. (The intriguing character of "the thin man" has been almost entirely lost.) Still, the creators of this cut have done Lang yeoman's service. You have not seen Metropolis until you have seen this cut.
This DVD also contains an excellent documentary that details not only the making of Metropolis but the trends in the German arts that led to its creation. We also get information on Lang's career after Metropolis and the work done to restore the film. I highly recommend this DVD.
4.0 out of 5 stars The City Of Metropolis is alive again!,
Here it is! The restored Authorized Version with the original 1927 orchestral score. I have only seen bits and pieces of "Metropolis" on many film montages and documentaries. Some of the clips have been used to define "heaven" or a "futuristic city". Now for the first time you can see the film in all that was found and able to restore. For this generation, you might recall seeing some scenes in the intro for the Fred Savage tv series "Working" (1997-1999). I am not able to give this film a fair review because I do not favor silent films, especially of German origin. But I can respect how they can restore and preserve film these days. Would you believe this 1927 film actually has a scene where a person talks on the phone and can see the other person on screen? (a video phone?) There is Audio Commentary by Film Historian Enno Patalas, an 8-minute featurette on the restoration of badly needed scenes and film. The Metropolis case is a 43-minute documentary behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, including special effects. Oh, by the way, there is no Superman in this Metropolis. (Ha-Ha)
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth collecting,
The original "Metropolis" as conceived by Fritz Lang in 1926 is, regrettably, lost. The wholesale gutting by Channing Pollock of the original in the US and the UFA (in Germany) hatchet job of 1927 have ensured that the most ambitious German film of the 1920s (and the most expensive) is lost. The Kino version is the most comprehensive reconstruction possible with existing resources, without resort to the use of stills as Giorgio Moroder did in his mid 1980s iteration. Kino is to be congratulated in reviving the original score and including a feature of rare stills and explanatory notes to the DVD.
A couple of observations first, the quality of the film is excellent thanks to an assiduous remastering. Sound is good for the score (it is a silent movie after all), titles are the originals as printed, and the whole effort has been to recreate authentically a truncated masterpiece. I've seen a number of different prints of the film over the last twenty years, but the quality of this presentation is unbeaten. The only negatives are the scanty biographies of the principals, which any devotee would dismiss as insubstantial, and the failure to use some of the stills Moroder used back in 1986. There is at least one tracking shot in the Moroder colourised version, of the Hel sculpture (and that is spelt "Hel"), which has been left out of the Kino disk.It can be argued that using stills would only detract from the objective of re-creating as fully as possible the "moving picture" of Metropolis. A more fulsome extract of the original plot at the end would have been appreciated. There are a number of out of print books (by Ace SF and Lorrimer Classic Film Scripts) including the screenplay and the novelisation which could have been used for an explanatory synopsis.
These are minor misgivings, the disk recaptures the wonder of the original as much as possible. It is unlikely that any devotee could acquire a better record of this relic of the silent era. I can heartily recommend it, and hope all viewers experience the enjoyment I felt as a teenager going to a midnight showing in a seedy part of town of the renowned "Metropolis"...
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Accomplishment!,
Having read the book as a boy, I have tried in vain to view the various Metropolis's out there and make some connection to the book I had read.
Finally, I understand. I have never seen the movie the way it was intended!
The best part of this version is all the restored scenes! Granted, not all are even available any more, but I can finally follow the book.
The second best part is the score! What a great piece of music which was actually written for the film. In fact, much of the success of the restoration is due to the score, since the detailed cues and scene descriptions in the score gave the restorers a perfect, original overview upon which to base their work.
Last, but not least, the picture quality is miraculous. Watching the featurette concerning the restoration showed what meticulous care went into it. And it shows! Crisp Clear better- than-your-average-'50s movie with great care to retain the depth of the animated portions - while maintaining consistency throughout.
Kudos and Thank You for finally making the film come back to life!
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Restoration,
The Murnau Foundation should be commended for its landmark restoration of director Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (1927). Even though 30 minutes of footage remains lost, this silent classic now can be seen in the most complete and pristine version to date -- abetted by the original orchestral score. Hopefully, more silent films will be preserved in the same fashion. Kino's DVD release is highly recommended, but try to see Lang's masterwork on the big screen.
5.0 out of 5 stars This re-release made me very happy...,
I've been a sort of fan of Metropolis since the 80s, when I first saw the re-soundtracked version of the movie. I was overjoyed to be able to see a clean, as-complete-as-possible version with the original, moving soundtrack. It made me feel like I was missing less than I had with other versions. Additionally, I appreciated the fact that title card interstitials stood alone, and weren't superimposed over the action.
As for my feelings about Metropolis itself, I love this film. The heart mediation theme is touching and hopeful, and the characters of Freder and Maria are adorable. Additionally, the visuals are stunningly relevant to our postmodern sensibilities - the robot is chillingly beautiful...Yoshiwara is mysteriously exquisite...and the new Tower of Babel is simply gorgeous in an overdone, overbuilt urban way. The city visuals are very compelling, influencing our future-notions even today (remember Horizons at Walt Disney World? The future home of the 1920s? VERY Metropolis-looking!).
Particular scenes I love include Maria's flight throught the catacombs, with Rotwang's flashlight of evil (tm). The darkness, the shadows, the movement...everything conspired to make the scene undeniably frightening.
3.0 out of 5 stars "Restored" Yes, "Original" No,
If key scenes from the only extant copy of "Citizen Kane" were destroyed, would the restorers have the presence of mind and the personal integrity to re-create the original without diluting it by adding their own personal "stamp" on the restored version?
This is basically the dilemma that presents itself to anyone who attempts to re-create METROPOLIS.
The "Restored Authorized Edition" is the umteenth release of a "version" of Thea von Harbou's and Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS. And, again it's a not the "original" release. It's someone else's idea (in this case Enno Patalas's) of what METROPOLIS was supposed to look and sound like in 1926/7. Still, the Patalas' version-- in stark contrast to other famous re-releases such as the Giorgio Moroder version released in the 1980's-- actually shows a more faithful adherence to the von Harbou/Lang vision and offers the viewer a closer approximation to what they intended. In comparison to the Patalas release, Moroder's version is nothing more than historically anecdotal. The color tinting and the grotesque, "modern" soundtrack Moroder added were totally inappropriate. Thankfully, the Patalas release avoids such self-aggrandizing vanities. On the very big plus side, the Patalas version uses the original Huppertz soundtrack.
Did these restorers have the presence of mind and the personal integrity to re-create METROPOLIS without diluting it, adding their own personal "stamp" on the restored version? Sadly no. Perhaps, someday someone will. Until then this is an enjoyable alternative. The process of "restoration" and transfer to DVD are not without their flaws, but given the fact that the orginial is nearly 80 years old, the copy is clean, crisp, and worthy of kudos.
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last,
Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS was very successful with both critics and audiences when it debuted in 1927 Berlin--but it was thereafter edited for distribution by Channing Pollock, who disliked it and removed great chunks of the film and substantially altered the storyline. The resulting film was admired for its visual style, but it proved a critical and box office disappointment. Neglected in the wake of sound, surviving prints of the film were left to corrode and decay--and when it began to reach the home market via VHS and DVD the results were very hit or miss; Blackhawk released a fairly credible version of the truncated film to home video, but for the most part the quality of these releases varied from barely mediocre to downright unwatchable.
A great chunk of METROPOLIS--perhaps as much a quarter of more--has been forever lost, but this Kino Video DVD release offers the single best version of the film available. The previously cut footage that still exists has been restored; gaps in the film have been bridged by the occasional use of stills and explanatory title cards; the film itself has been painstakingly and digitally restored; and the soundtrack is the Gottfried Huppertz original created for the film's 1927 Berlin debut. In seeing this version of METROPOLIS, I was struck by how very differently it reads from the previously available truncated version. The visual style and the story itself are much more exciting and cohesive, and in the wake of this restoration it becomes impossible to deny the film status as landmark of international cinema.
Freder Fredersen (Gustav Frohlich) is the son of Joh Fredersen (Alfred Able), who reigns over the great city of Metropolis. Freder is surprised to discover his lifestyle has been built on the unseen but backbreaking labor of an entire class of unseen workers who tend the machines that make the city run--and he descends to the subterranean levels of Metropolis in an effort to understand their lives... and, not incidentally, to find the mysterious but beautiful woman Maria (Brigitta Helm) who has inspired his interest in the workers' plight. But his father is concerned by both Freder's interest and Maria's activities among the workers, and he turns to scientist C.A. Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) for aid. Rotwang has created a robot, and he agrees to give it the likeness of Maria in order to undermine both Freder's love for the girl and her own activities. But Rotwang has a hidden agenda of his own: once the robot has been unleashed, he will use her to destroy Metropolis and thereby exact revenge on Joh Fredersen for past transgressions against him.
In many respects the story is simplistic, but the film's visual style and connotations are anything but. Deeply influenced by such art movements as Expressionism, Objectivism, Art Deco, and Bauhaus, the film is visually fascinating--not only in its scenic designs, but in director Lang's famous skill at creating the powerful crowd scenes that dominate the film and building the pace and tension of the film as it moves toward an intense climax. But while one can--and many do--admire the film purely at this level, there is quite a lot going on in terms of philosophical content as well: while it offers few viable solutions, the film raises such issues as the relationship between capital and labor, the place of religion in modern society, human reaction to overwhelming technology, and (perhaps most interestingly) the drift of government into a class-conscious corporate entity. And religious motifs abound in the film: a largely deserted cathedral; Moloch; the Tower of Babel; and crosses--intriguingly juxtaposed with a repeating motif of the pentagram-like designs associated with the robot. It is fascinating stuff.
There has been complaint that this restoration runs at incorrect speed and the performances are therefore unnecessarily jerky. I did not find this to be the case. In certain instances the movement is deliberately jerky and mechanical--the workers are a case in point--but beyond this there is nothing for which the difference between silent acting and modern acting techniques cannot account. There has also been some complaint that the title cards should have been left in their original German and translated via subtitle. There is a certain validity to this, but it seems a minor quibble; title cards were typically translated in the silent era itself. The DVD includes a number of extras, including still photographs, biographies of the major figures involved in the film, and two interesting documentaries-one on the restoration process and one on the creation of the film itself. Both are interesting; the audio commentary track by film historian Enno Patalas, however, is mildly disappointing. But when all is said and done, it is the film that counts. And this restoration is a remarkable achievement, to say the least, a project which brings a great landmark of world cinema back from the edge of the abyss. Indispensible; a must-own.
--GFT (Amazon Reviewer)--
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The Complete Metropolis [Import] by Fritz Lang (DVD - 2010)
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