- Paperback: 236 pages
- Publisher: Wildside Pr (Sept. 1 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1592249787
- ISBN-13: 978-1592249787
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 318 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,083,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Metropolis by Thea Von Harbou, Science Fiction Paperback – Sep 1 2003
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About the Author
Thea Gabriele von Harbou (1888 - 1954) was a German screenwriter, novelist, film director, and actress. She is especially known as the screenwriter of the science fiction film classic Metropolis and the story on which it was based. Harbou collaborated as a screenwriter with film director Fritz Lang, her husband, during the period of transition from silent to sound films.She was born into a family of minor nobility and government officials, which gave her a level of sophisticated comfort. As a child prodigy she was educated in a convent by private tutors who taught her several languages as well as piano and violin.
Top customer reviews
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You might find Thea's (second wife of Fritz Lang) writing style quite interesting not white modern but clear. She repeats herself quit often, sort of in the style of the Bible.
As with many movies that time the story in the description stuck a lot closer to the book they do nowadays. Today's movies should say inspired by instead of adapted from. Reading the book you could see the movie almost blow-by-blow.
I however with a few strategic modifications here and there the book and movie deviate greatly in their purpose and deliverance. While the movie was about class struggle between what was called the hands and the head with a mediator the heart. The book was more of a personal struggle for man's soul and redemption.
Of course the book had the freedom to take more time to describe actions and actors. Also of course there were a lot of scenes that would have to be cut out for the movie. But of those left him they were quite accurate. Whether you liked or didn't like the movie you cannot afford to overlook this book there are a lot of shocks and surprises awaiting you. And there is always time enough for love.
This book, which was serially published before the film's release, fills in the gaps. You get a better sense of the story that Lang and von Harbou are trying the tell. The book allows you to get inside the heads of Freder and co. in a way that the film does not allow. You get a stronger feel for the dystopic milieu that Freder fixes.
This story is essentially mythic, so devotees of Joseph Campbell, George Lucas, and James N. Frey will devour the book and the film. You see the messianic and redemptive elements that makes this story so enduring. This story is one of my favorites, and rates with anything C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkein wrote, although not with the same level of craftsmanship.
This particular edition is the 75th anniversary edition. It includes an introductory essay by Forrest J. Ackerman, a Metropolis aficionado. It is illustrated with a few movie sills, and several movie posters from German and American screenings. These illustration selection could have been better, and for crying out loud, next time please do not put the pictures in sideways!
The only drawback with this book is the size-it is 8 ½ by 11, as opposed to the normal novel-book size of 7 by 4. It is awkward to read and hold. It feels in my hands more like a coffee-table picture book than a novel. So it is a little hard to read in this fashion. The translation, however, is readable, and doesn't have an "Germanisms."
I'm not sure if this book "stands alone" apart from the film. It wasn't conceived as such, but was more of a segway for the film. However, the story or the "feel" of the times and perplexities of the dystopic Metropolis. In this sense, the book achieves it's purpous.
Anything that lasts 75 years is worth investigating. I love film and am glad that I own the novel so doubles my cinematic pleasure.
In addition, since METROPOLIS is a short novel, it would have been quite easy to add a couple of chapters. One excellent one would have been a reprint of the "Famous Monsters" articles of several decades ago that dealth with the film's special effects. Another article of interest would've been a discussion of the restortation efforts on this film, especially with another restoration to come out this year and, I believe, to be released by Kino Video on DVD next year.
But, no, this was an excellent opportunity wasted by a shoddy presentation.
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