Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Fritz Lang's visionary film of the future, Metropolis (1927), has recently been restored and shown to great acclaim in Germany. As even a cursory look at the world wide web shows, there's a good deal of buzz in the film world about this new print.

And what's more, word has just gotten out that this newly restored version of the film will be shown at the upcoming San Francisco Silent Film Festival in July. Metropolis will be presented with live musical accompaniment provided by the Alloy Orchestra.

In 2008, a copy of the film 30 minutes longer than any other known surviving copy was located in Argentina. After considerable restoration in Germany, the restored film was shown publicly for the first time in Berlin and Frankfurt just a few days ago - on February 12, 2010. The event - and not so much the film - was also shown live outdoors on a screen beneath the Brandenburg Gate. See this earlier blog for additional details about that happening.

Additional film footage of Metropolis is not all that has recently been uncovered. Shortly before the February 12th premiere, rare audio recording related to the film also turned up. These recording included Fritz Lang speaking about the film, along with musical motifs from the original film score. To learn more about this remarkable new discovery, as well as hear these recordings, visit this German-language page at the Deutsche Kinemathek.

[The story behind these rare recording is this: A few days after the premiere of the film,  Gottfried Huppertz led an orchestra in recording various pieces of his original music. Fritz Lang also recorded a spoken word introduction to the film. A two-sided recording was quickly released, but just as soon disappeared. For decades it was thought to be missing. Shortly before the  February 12th premiere of the restored film, the record turned-up in the archives of a private collector. The German Film Archive has digitized the record and included it in an exhibit devoted to the restored Metropolis.]

When Metropolis opened in Germany in early 1927, it was a sensation.This newly restored version - the most complete print in existance - should likewise prove to be "The Masterpiece That Set the World Agog" - or as this vintage San Mateo newspaper advertisement puts it - baffling, bewildering, and beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. Thea von Harbou's novelization of METROPOLIS can be read online or as a free download from the Internet Archive - http://www.archive.org/details/Metropolis_63