Friday, July 8, 2011

Movie Moments: #76

Metropolis (1927)

You knew it was only a matter of time until we arrived at this film for a Movie Moment, didn’t you.  Fritz Lang’s 1927 vision of the future is a masterpiece of its time, the most expensive silent film ever made ($200m when adjusted for inflation) and was a favourite of Hitler’s.  There have been restored versions released from time to time but another may eventually be released in that copies of the original have been found in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, each containing scenes missing from the print that was held.  The movie was so lengthy that various prints had had scenes cut.

It is the future and the future is controlled, repressive and unjust.  In the city of Metropolis, the workers live and work underground; the city planners live and work aboveground and neither the twain meet.  When a young aboveground meets and falls in love with a young underground girl, trouble is bound to follow.

Maria:  "We shall build a tower that will reach to the stars!" Having conceived Babel, yet unable to build it themselves, they had thousands to build it for them. But those who toiled knew nothing of the dreams of those who planned. And the minds that planned the Tower of Babel cared nothing for the workers who built it. The hymns of praise of the few became the curses of the many - BABEL! BABEL! BABEL! - Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a Mediator, and this must be the heart.

Movie trailer for the restored version:

The robot in the film inspired the look of C-3PO in Star Wars.  Also, Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster liked the film so much that they named the city in which Superman lives as an adult Metropolis.

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