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Metropolis (1927)

Director: Fritz Lang
Writer: Thea von Harbou (screenplay and novel)
Cast: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich
Genre: Sci-Fi
Silent Film

"In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences."

Metropolis starts off deep and heady. Right off the bat we're introduced to all sorts of interesting futuristic things and in a very short time. We never find out what the Eternal Gardens are all about but we can use our imaginations.

Unlike some silent films, Metropolis hooked me from the start. Right away we see the big city and those gardens with girls on parade, and we see the city designer's son who's beset to choose one of the lovely garden decorations! Then he spots a poor girl surrounded by starving children and is smitten. I don't know why, she wasn't that hot looking, but I guess he's a man of deep character and he's had enough of the weekly trollops. So he follows the girl to the bowls of the city and discovers there a hellish world of people slaving away to machines. Now that's a hook!

And for the next hour I was memorized by the technical cinema achievements that Fritz Lang was able to reproduce on screen. Audiences back in 1927 must have set with their jaws dropped at the sights of Metropolis...I noticed great detail in the interior shots of bedrooms and offices too. The furniture, the art design all looked futuristic to me. And all those extra actors! OMG this is a huge, huge epic film. It's literally a monument to Fritz Lang.

Metropolis isn't just long, I mean it felt long. At 2 hours and 33 minutes the last 90 minutes dragged and that's because for all the grandiose sets and cinematic achievements, there's not a great story to be had. The last part of the film meanders and hits upon religious and political themes without really every exploring them. And the end scene that resolved the big worker's riot with a mere handshake is very unsatisfying.

However I still hold the film in great regard for it's amazing scope and artistic design. I love the look of the robot before it's transformed into Maria. And I loved the transformation scene itself. OMG! for it's time that was beyond amazing. And I loved the German expressionistic approach to film making. Those scenes of the workers marching to work as the sway back and forth with heads held down like mere clogs in the machine...that was amazing.