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.
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...
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 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 the cover, we see a picture of the mechanical woman that is supposed to be a substitute for Hel a woman of Metropolis in 2026 that is watched over by Johhan 'Joh' Fredersen (Alfred Abel). He stole the heart of Hel from C.A. Rotwang, der Erfinder "The Inventor" (Rudolf Klien-Rogge) and married her. It was speculated that Hel fell for Joh's position of power more than love. Hel dies in childbirth.
Rotwang being lonely invents a robot replacement for Hel. Rotwang loses a hand in the process. We see the machine person Hel on the poster the same way Joh saw it when he learned of its existence.
Meantime it looks like Jon's son Freder Frederson (Gustov Fröhlich) has been smitten by a kindly girl Maria (Brigitte Helm) with a mission. This mission is stated in the beginning credits as the "Head" and the "Hands" will be brought together by the "Heart."
Joh must squelch the son's infatuation with Maria and put the workers in their place.
Looking at the sight of Rotwang's machine person, an evil plan forms in Joh's mind. Little does he know what plan is in Rotwang's mind.
However, we do.
Hel is the name of the queen of Helheim, the Norse underworld.
This is a 1927 movie, made at the UFA studios. Learn more of UFA in the book "The UFA Story: A History of Germany's Greatest Film Company" by Klaus Kreimeier. It is quit innovative with the visuals. Different versions
on March 5, 2004
Metropolis was directed by Fritz Lang and, as a black and white silent film from 1927, had HUGE impacts on filmmakers for decades to come. The tale was of a large city with two classes. There was the elite class that lived above ground, enjoying the fresh air and gardens. Then there was the working class that lived in tightly-packed apartment buildings below ground. You can find this same theme in hundreds of movies afterwards that were influenced by Metropolis.
What's amazing is that the movie was lost for pretty much the entire time between its release and 2003. Viewers in those years had to make do with bits and pieces of the movie, often with giant gaps in the storyline. This re-release is the result of years of work, where film historians painstakingly went through all sources they could find and cobbled together a version complete with storyboards where gaps were large. For the first time in almost 80 years, viewers can get a sense of what the original story was all about.
The musical score is great, and the storyline is classic. The young man of the elite class falls in love with the young worker woman. There is great strife as the boy's family tries to keep them apart and keep the workers down. The workers believe in prophecies that say they will find a way out of their desolation. The elite believe that their 'golden rule' will last forever. In the middle, a mad scientist believes he has created a robotic woman to keep him happy without any need of human interaction.
There are some minor gripes even with this restored version - the motion is often speeded up, when all notes of the original story indicate that the director deliberately made scenes go slowly to give them importance. This is a German movie, but everything has been done in English so you can't really appreciate its true roots. But even so, this is a stellar achievement and one that can be built on going forward. Kudos so the restoration team!
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 October 10, 2003
I just saw this DVD last night for my film studies class and I must say that both the movie and the transfer are top quality. Based on the print quality and production values, I would never have guessed that the movie is over 75 years old. There are a few missing scenes, but the titles fill in the gaps unobtrusively.
The story of a priviledged young man who discovers his father's underground empire of mechanization and virtual slavery is complex and engrossing. You can watch this movie from a variety of different viewpoints (economic, political, sci-fi, entertainment) and continuously discover new ideas.
And of course, the allusion to the Italian superspectacle, Cabiria (Moloch), portrays the machines as demanding human sacrifice to provide the life of luxury for those oblivious souls in the city above
My only complaint with the script is the fact that the director overemphasises the moral of "brain and hands must be united by the heart." But this is a minor quibble compared to the gradeur of the movie. I did not have a chance to explore the special features.
I saw quite a few parallels between Metropolis and The Matrix. Not sure if the Wachowski brothers intended this, but it's certainly possible. Common threads: man living in underground cities, man subjugated by machines yet needing them to live, a savior who falls in love with his accomplice in liberating the people...the list goes on.
Truly the definition of a Classic film, right up there with Citizen Kane in its timelessness.