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Fritz Lang's 1927 Masterpiece Now With 25 Minutes of Lost Footage. 

Year: 1927 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Fritz Lang 
Starring: Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich, Brigitte Helm  
An image from Metropolis

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis is an epic sci-fi classic which is perhaps suited best to movie-goers with good stamina. The black-and-white silent film is accompanied only by music and features in-movie panels of text as opposed to subtitles. The film takes place in a futuristic dystopian city where the classes have been divided into the workers, and the managers. Freder, the son of a manager, sees and falls in love with a worker named Maria, and follows her into the home of the workers. What Freder sees beneath the city appals him, and he takes the worker’s plight into his own hands.

What must be said first about Metropolis is how impressive it is for a film made over eighty years ago. Although the special effects are comparatively poor to modern standards, it is still staggering to think how much was achieved. The portrayal of class differences is deeply effective, and the film acts as a social commentary on 1920s life which is still applicable today.

The film is visually impressive and the sets are stunning. Key scenes have remained with audiences for decades: Rotwang’s robot, Maria’s erotic dance and the panoramas of the City (which can be recognised from Queen’s “Radio Gaga” video) are but a few of the images which come to mind when the film is mentioned.

The film is unique in the way that it has been lost and recovered, and there is still no entirely complete version. It has been rereleased several times; the most recently being in 2008 which brought the film to the point of near-completion.

I would highly recommend Metropolis not only to avid film fans but also “regular” movie-goers who have a desire to see where it all began. This film is definitely one to see before you die.

Charlotte Dart

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Autumn Term (digital)
2011/2012 Autumn Term (digital)