Metropolis (BFI Film Classics)
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It looks like you are located in Australia or New Zealand Close. Visit the Australia site Continue on UK site. Visit the Australia site. Continue on UK site. Paperback , 96 pages. Published November 26th by British Film Institute. More Details Original Title. BFI Film Classics.
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Aug 05, Jlawrence rated it really liked it. A good deal of intriguing history here, and, lazily, I really like the stimulating high-level overviews of battling critical stances Elsaesser provides here as opposed to going cross-eyed trying to read the critical sources themselves. However, I wish he'd gone into a bit more detail about the production itself. Also, his new foreword the book was originally published in by the British Film Institute covers the restoration which restores many key scenes thanks to the finding in a Buenos Aires archive of the previously lost long version of the film as it was first shown, before many edits.
Still, recommended to film history buffs and any Lang fans. Feb 08, Kris added it.
Metropolis by Elsaesser, Thomas
Feb 04, James F rated it liked it Shelves: cinema. There is some discussion of the origins of the film, and an interesting summary of some of the sources of the plot and the imagery. Most of the book discusses the "reception history" of this controversial film, from contemporary reviews to the cult-film remake by Morodor.
Generally, most critics were impressed by the technical aspects of the film, but considered the stor A volume in the British Film Institute's Classics series, this short book deals with Fritz Lang's silent film Metropolis. Generally, most critics were impressed by the technical aspects of the film, but considered the story to be silly; the Communists considered it proto-Nazi and the Nazi's as Communist propaganda.
Personally, I think it was most similar ideologically to H. Well's The Time Machine , in its "Fabian" argument that the capitalists should find a mediator with the workers before the workers are tempted to take things into their own hands and use violence against the capitalists. But Wells hated the film, because of its absurd science-fiction aspect -- the machines that don't seem to make anything, that are hard physically to operate, the city which goes up vertically instead of sprawling into the suburbs, in short, the symbolic aspects of the film.
Much of the recent history has been the attempts to "reconstruct" the original film from outtakes, promotional stills, reviews of the premier, the censor's cards for the dialogue, and the musical score with cues. The book ends with an interesting discussion of the Giorgio Morodor version which, tinted and with a rock soundtrack, has been compared to a long music video and other modern post-modern adaptations.
The book was written before the complete original version of the film was rediscovered in something the author predicted would never happen , so the discussion of the film itself is out of date; it's surprising that BFI continues to reprint this last reprinting rather than replacing it with a revised version based on the complete film. Lang's film may have been banned in Italy and Turkey for its 'Bolshevik tendency', but the Communist critic Felix Ziegel dismissed it as "born out of a bourgeois-capitalist ideology Launched to great fanfare but lukewarm reception in Berlin in January , Metropolis was both a critical and commercial flop.
It was heavily re-edited for UK and US release, losing more than a third of its full three-hour running time. It then fell off the radar for decades, a notorious folly tainted by its lingering Nazi associations, for which Lang repeatedly apologised. Some scenes were lost forever, buried in far-flung bunkers on volatile nitrate reels. But the film amassed a growing cult reputation, largely on the strength of its prophetic visual imagery, as the political context receded and the late 20th century urban landscape increasingly came to resemble Metropolis.
Meanwhile, various film scholars attempted to assemble 'definitive' restored versions, screening them with orchestral or electronic scores. Lang's grand folly became respectable again. Ultimately, Giorgio Moroder did Metropolis a huge favour, rebooting a dusty old relic of the silent age for the MTV era, sweetening and streamlining its confused morass of plots just enough to make it comprehensible to modern viewers. Thanks to the Italian-born, Munich-based disco king, Lang's budget-busting folly enjoyed its first ever commercial success.
The film also belatedly found its true pop-culture calling as the world's first feature-length music promo, directly inspiring the lavish videos for Queen's 'Radio Ga Ga' and Madonna's 'Express Yourself'. Two years ago, a new 'definitive' cut of Lang's visionary Expressionist epic was issued with more missing scenes restored and a full orchestral score.
It was sombre, serious, scholarly - and deadly dull. Moroder's postmodern remix may have a tooth-achingly awful soundtrack, but it is colourful and kitsch and, crucially, wastes little time on Van Harbou's preposterous and reactionary plot.
Flawed though it may be, Moroder's Metropolis is still one of the best bad films ever made. Share this article:. If you enjoy The Quietus, please consider supporting what we do with a one-off or regular donation.
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