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Metropolis Movie Review

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Metropolis was set 74 years in the future in the year 2000. Fritz Lang “detested it after it was finished”; he wanted it to include elements of magic and the occult, ghosts and ghouls, instead of the notion that “human beings were nothing but part of a machine.” Lang credits Thea von Harbou with the original concept ("She had foresight and was right"), but the execution was all his ("I was wrong"). But Lang's view of the film is not shared by those who have seen the film over the years. The effect of all that photogenic machinery on an audience is visceral in the extreme. Even contemporary science-fiction flicks would benefit from the lavish art direction of Lang's epic. The amazing Brigitte Helm, only 21, plays both kindly Maria and the evil robot. The electricity between the robot and the 30,000 extras pre-dates every political rally/revival meeting/rock concert one can possibly imagine! And the fact that all those thousands would willingly follow the robot to their doom gives Metropolis an eerily premonitory quality, considering so many things that were to come between 1927 and the year 2000. Metropolis provides a timeless view of an ever-timely theme. (Note: The original score by the Club-foot Orchestra, performed at San Francisco's Castro Theatre, is far superior to the score composed by Giorgio Moroder.)

1926 115m/B GE Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Froehlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Fritz Rasp, Heinrich George, Theodore Loos, Erwin Biswanger, Olaf Storm, Hans Leo Reich, Heinrich Gotho; D: Fritz Lang; W: Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou; C: Karl Freund, Gunther Rittau, Eugene Schufftan; M: Gottfried Huppertz. VHS, LV, DVD

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