Fritz Lang’s Metropolis: Uncut & Restored

2010 saw the release of a restored ver­sion of Metrop­o­lis, the clas­sic Ger­man expres­sion­ist, sci-fi film direct­ed by Fritz Lang. The restora­tion start­ed two years ear­li­er, in 2008, when a long sought-after copy of the 1927 film was found in the archives of the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, and it con­tained 30 min­utes of pre­vi­ous­ly unseen footage. (Get the back­sto­ry here.) Ger­man experts got to work and ful­ly restored the extend­ed but degrad­ed copy. Then came the big unveil­ing. In Feb­ru­ary 2010, the new Metrop­o­lis was screened at The Berlin Inter­na­tion­al Film Fes­ti­val, and ARTE pre­sent­ed a live broad­cast. The trail­er for the film appears above; and the film, as pre­sent­ed by ARTE, now lives on YouTube.

Old­er ver­sions of Metrop­o­lis — the ones you know so well — are list­ed in our col­lec­tion of 420 Free Movies Online. Scroll to the bot­tom of the page and look under “Silent Films.”

P.S. A rock opera ver­sion of Metrop­o­lis will be com­ing to a the­ater near you. More on that here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mar­lene Dietrich’s Tem­pera­men­tal Screen Test for The Blue Angel (1929)

Where Hor­ror Film Began: The Cab­i­net of Dr. Cali­gari

The Seashell and the Cler­gy­man: The World’s First Sur­re­al­ist Film

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  • Craig says:

    You can also watch the silent film, The Golem, as scored by The Pix­ies’ Frank Black:

  • Of all the great silent films, few approach the curi­ous­ly hip appeal of direc­tor Fritz Lang’s futur­is­tic 1927 Ger­man clas­sic. It was the Cleopa­tra or Heaven’s Gate of its day, near­ly bank­rupt­ing the studio—Ufa—that pro­duced it. Yet its influ­ence, prin­ci­pal­ly in Lang’s extra­or­di­nary visu­al design, has been mon­u­men­tal. More than 80 years after its release, Metrop­o­lis remains the Cit­i­zen Kane of the sci­ence-fic­tion film.

    Despite its influ­ence on such movies as dis­parate as Blade Run­ner, Dr. Strangelove and Char­lie Chaplin’s Mod­ern Times, some present-day audi­ences may yet agree with the famed British author H.G. Wells, who called it a “most fool­ish film.” Its campy, pon­der­ous absur­di­ties are no less appar­ent in a his­toric new edi­tion, which adds 25 min­utes to the extant two-hour ver­sion first released in 2002.

    Like too many cin­e­mat­ic mile­stones, Metrop­o­lis has suf­fered a long and tor­tur­ous post-pro­duc­tion his­to­ry. Orig­i­nal­ly 2 1/2 hours at its Berlin pre­miere, it was almost imme­di­ate­ly hacked down by its Amer­i­can stu­dio back­ers (prin­ci­pal­ly Para­mount) to 90 min­utes for inter­na­tion­al release. But like any good Hol­ly­wood mon­ster, the film refused to die. It’s been res­ur­rect­ed sev­er­al times, most noto­ri­ous­ly in a 1984 pop ver­sion by music pro­duc­er Gior­gio Moroder. The lat­est rein­car­na­tion comes amaz­ing­ly by way of Buenos Aires, where archivists in 2008 unearthed a scratchy 16mm print that’s as close to Lang’s orig­i­nal as exists. That print, dig­i­tal­ly cleaned up and mar­ried to an exist­ing 35mm mas­ter by Germany’s Mur­nau Foun­da­tion, has pro­duced a 147-minute Metrop­o­lis, which pre­miered at the Berlin Film Fes­ti­val in 2010.…

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