Sci-Fi December: Metropolis

Metropolis illustration by Jeff SchwartzbauerMetropolis – 1927

Dir: Fritz Lang | Starring: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich

Year: 2026

Review: This is a science fiction classic, keystone in the genre, and is one of the most famous films of the Silent Era and German cinematic history. Having just watched this (the 2008 Restored version) for the first time I was floored by it. I found it to be an absolute visual feast and was delighted with every second of it. The plot deals with class warfare between “Thinkers” and “Workers”, and a son of the cities largest industrial magnate abandons the life of the privileged to be with the workers after witnessing the horrid conditions they are toiling in under the control of the Thinkers he pursues to aid their cause. He falls in love with peasant woman but she is captured by the mans father and his scientist cohort, the scientist clones the woman with a female robot he had created and the magnate wants to use the machine to fool his son, but the scientist has plans of double crossing his leader but plans go awry. The cut I watched is far longer than what has been available for decades prior to 2008, it features a whole slew of scenes that were feared lost until a print was found in Argentina. The German censor board had chopped the film severely cutting its running time down to 80 minutes, this restored version brings it closer to its original length of 148 minutes. The set design, matte paintings, miniatures, special effects and creative photography are impressive and imaginative. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film and I walked away delighted.

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