Classic Review – Metropolis (1927)

Title – Metropolis (1927)

Director – Fritz Lang (M)

Cast – Gustav Fröhlich, Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Fritz Rasp

Plot – In a futuristic city that is divided between the upper class and the underground working class, the privileged Freder Fredersen (Frohlich) makes a perilous journey to the working classic lands when he meets a beautiful woman named Maria (Helm) who is a prophet to the underprivileged masses.

“What if one day those in the depths rise up against you?”

Review by Eddie on 01/10/2020

It’s incredible to think that near 100 years on from its initial release, the game changing dystopian Sci-Fi Metropolis remains such a fascinating and gripping watch.

Filmed over the course of 18 grueling months for the at the time unfathomable amounts of money, famed director Fritz Lang’s non-dialogue adaptation of Thea von Harbou’s novel of the same name set in place a series of what would become genre cornerstones, as he and Harbou (working as the films official screenwriter) explored an eerily on point future world where the rich live a life of casual luxury and the working-class toil away on the daily grind.

There’s an abundance of ideas, visuals and themes here, with Metropolis overflowing with iconic imagery and concepts that have ensured it stays relevant across the number of decades that pass on since its initial cinematic run but its also the story of the well to do Freder Fredersen falling in love and experiencing the other side of a less privileged life that captivates as equally as everything else going on around it.

Clocking in at two and a half hours (after original film reels were rediscovered after an extensively edited shorter version was at times shown), Lang’s journey takes its time delving into the world building of its narrative and its examination of Freder’s eye’s being opened to a world he never understood or even knew existed.

It’s a fairly traditional fish out of water plot line, one that features hidden identities and love against the odds but Metropolis never gets weighed down in the slightest as its prophets, plotting evildoers and everyday blue-collar workers get caught up in the storm.

Within this epic tale, while ever silent bar its sound effects and memorable score, every character within feels as utterly alive as the universe they find themselves in with the multi-tasking Brigitte Helm a standout and a trooper taking on the roles of Freder’s crush Maria, her evil counterpart Maschinenmensch and also suited up as the Machine Man, its a noteworthy three-pronged performance from the silent film star and but another reason why this game-changing offering remains so revered.

Final Say – 

Filled with tiny nuances and attention to detail, Metropolis is a big film that dared to dream even bigger and created a whole new genre while doing so. A major silent film achievement, Fritz Lang’s masterpiece is an absolute necessity to view as a film fan.

5 mad scientists out of 5

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