Click here to buy Amazon movie bestsellers

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Metropolis (1927)

The Metropolis was a movie that was seemingly way ahead of its time. It's a movie about the conflict between the rulers (the technologically advanced class) and the the workers who toiled to provide for it all (and who were seen as the subjugated sections of the population). Metropolis depicted this scenario, set in the year 2026, with hugely futuristic settings. The movie was not something that is easily viewable in its original creation - it was deemed too long (at 210 minutes), ruthlessly chopped and modified for multiple reasons (whether to it into the 90 minutes allowed by theatre owners, or because parts of the subject were deemed too controversial in the United States, or because the sound era started soon after and the movie was adjusted in terms of frames per second to fit into the sound compatible format). In addition, parts of the original movie were found in Argentina, and parts of the original movie were never recovered.

Metropolis (1927)

The movie was made in Germany, as probably one of the earliest great science fiction movies, made by Austrian-German director Fritz Lang and one of the most expensive movies of that era, costing around 7 million Reichsmarks at that time (approx $200 million as of now). The movie was written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou (in a twist, the movie was praised by the Nazis, and Thea soon became an ardent Nazis; she and Lang finally divorced in 1934).
The society of 2026 was divided into 2 rigid groups with the planners living in luxury, and the workers toiling underground in pretty bad conditions. The skyline has plenty of Gothic style skyscrapers (probably inspiring the Tyrell towers in the classy Bladerunner made much later). The city is run by Johann 'Joh' Fredersen (Alfred Abel), who looks for ways to ensure that the workers remain in their conditions. However, there is a charismatic and beautiful lady, Maria (Brigitte Helm), who advises the workers against trying for a revolt, and instead wait for the arrival of a figure known as the 'Mediator'. It is the Mediator who will bring together these 2 separate sections of society and improve the conditions of the workers. She has an admirer, Frederson's own son, Freder (Gustav Fröhlich), who is disgusted at the conditions in which the workers toil and live, and joins Maria's cause.
And then starts the true future. The scientist and old rival of Fredersen, Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), builds a robot in the shape of Maria. He uses this robot to first preach discord in the young rich men of Metropolis and then descends to the underground sections where the robot inspires rebellion in the workers. In this rebellion, they destroy the important 'Heart Machine' and then realize that the destruction in turn causes the flooding of their own quarters. They chase Maria, and burn her, and then realize that she is a robot. The real Maria is chased by Rotwang, and followed by Freder, and in the climatic end, Rotwang falls to his death; and Freder carries out his destiny of being the Mediator by uniting Frederson with the workers.

Post a Comment