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.
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
You can also watch the silent film, The Golem, as scored by The Pixies’ Frank Black: http://vimeo.com/15581812
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….