Metropolis Remixed: Fritz Lang’s German Expressionist Sci-Fi Classic Gets Fully Colorized and Dubbed

Those of us who grew up with late-night cable tele­vi­sion will have a few mem­o­ries of hap­pen­ing upon old movies that did­n’t look quite right. Usu­al­ly drawn from the 1940s or 50s, and some­times from the depths of gen­res like sci­ence-fic­tion and hor­ror, these pic­tures had under­gone the process of col­oriza­tion in hopes of increas­ing their appeal to a gen­er­a­tion unused to black-and-white imagery. Alas, even the most high-pro­file col­oriza­tion projects back then tend­ed to look washed-out, with life­less­ly pale faces lost among wash­es of green and brown. On the tech­ni­cal lev­el col­oriza­tion has improved in the decades since, though on the artis­tic lev­el its usage remains, to say the least, a sus­pect endeav­or.

But what if the film cho­sen for col­oriza­tion was, rather than some piece of dri­ve-in schlock, one of the acknowl­edged mas­ter­pieces of ear­ly 20th-cen­tu­ry cin­e­ma? Metrop­o­lis­Remix comes as one espe­cial­ly intrigu­ing (if also star­tling) answer to that ques­tion, bring­ing as it does Fritz Lang’s huge­ly influ­en­tial 1927 work of Ger­man Expres­sion­ist sci-fi from not just the world of black-and-white film into col­or but from that of silent film into sound.

To add col­or its mak­ers used DeOld­ify, “a deep learn­ing-based project for col­oriz­ing and restor­ing old images (and video!)” pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture when we post­ed this col­orized footage of Paris, New York, and Havana from the late 19th and ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry. You can get a taste of the Metrop­o­lis­Remix view­ing expe­ri­ence from this trail­er:

In its entire­ty this ver­sion of Metrop­o­lis runs just over two hours, quite a bit short­er than the film’s most recent restora­tion, 2010’s The Com­plete Metrop­o­lis. The dif­fer­ence owes in large part to the lack of dia­logue-con­vey­ing inter­ti­tles, which have been ren­dered unnec­es­sary by a full-cast Eng­lish-lan­guage dub that includes music and sound effects. Not every­one, of course, will approve of this “fan mod­ern­iza­tion,” as its cre­ators describe it. Phil Hall at Cin­e­ma Crazed prefers to call it “the most reck­less­ly bad idea for a film since All This and World War II, the infa­mous 1976 non­sense that unit­ed Sec­ond World War news­reel footage with most­ly unsat­is­fac­to­ry cov­er ver­sions of Bea­t­les music.” But the sheer brazen­ness of Metrop­o­lis­Remix nev­er­the­less impress­es — and some­how, Lang and his col­lab­o­ra­tors’ vision of an indus­tri­al art-deco dystopia sur­vives.

via Messy Nessy

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Metrop­o­lis: Watch a Restored Ver­sion of Fritz Lang’s Mas­ter­piece (1927)

Read the Orig­i­nal 32-Page Pro­gram for Fritz Lang’s Metrop­o­lis (1927)

Fritz Lang Invents the Video Phone in Metrop­o­lis (1927)

H.G. Wells Pans Fritz Lang’s Metrop­o­lis in a 1927 Movie Review: It’s “the Sil­li­est Film”

10 Great Ger­man Expres­sion­ist Films: From Nos­fer­atu to The Cab­i­net of Dr. Cali­gari

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (9)
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  • Tristan says:

    The is an offense the the eye and the heart.

  • Addison Hart says:

    Man, you guys sure are scrap­ing the bot­tom with this post.

  • Frank Johnsen says:

    Dub­bing to Eng­lish? Why? If you don’t under­stand Ger­man or the time this film was made, why both­er to even have a look at it.

    I thought peo­ple in UK and else­where did­n’t need dub­bing. As for Americans,I sup­pose they need dub­bing from Eng­lish. Right?

  • WDS says:

    Just because you can do some­thing, does­n’t mean you should … And in this case … it should­n’t have hap­pened.

  • Lucien den Arend says:

    This was a silent movie.

  • Sjbock says:

    Love it.

  • John D. says:

    The col­ori­sa­tion is inter­est­ing but it still does not look nat­ur­al.

    The voice act­ing, how­ev­er, is atro­cious.

  • Eduardo França says:

    Peo­ple just love hat­ing on stuff, don’t they?
    If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. I’ve seen the orig­i­nal Metrop­o­lis, and it’s quite an expe­ri­ence to watch it now, it can even be a shock for mod­ern day view­ers get­ting in touch with this work that is almost a 100 years old.

    Should you watch the orig­i­nal one? YES, by all means. But for most peo­ple, get­ting in touch with this modernized/remixed ver­sion might be a gate­way to watch­ing the orig­i­nal all (some­thing most peo­ple would not do on their own).

    Every­one should watch both ver­sions.

  • Medina says:

    Down­load link please:(

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