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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF Blu-ray Review: METROPOLIS (a/k/a "The Complete Metropolis")



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#1 of 45 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted December 15 2010 - 03:35 AM


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#2 of 45 ONLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted December 15 2010 - 04:31 AM

Thanks, Michael. That sounds promising!


I chose the Amazon/UK tin version (Masters of Cinema), and haven't even opened it yet. It must be exactly the same version, I trust (although it says 150 mins. on the back).

I postponed seeing it until the holidays, to make sure I have ample time to give it more than a usual view. Too bad the restored parts are in that terrible shape, but from your review I already look forward to see a whole new film.


When I had my HT constructed, and chose a touch of Art Deco, it was only natural to use a poster of Metroplis there. That famous poster, you already referred to it, with the high-towering buildings, the face and the letter font has become an Art Deco icon, almost unconnected to the film.


It's a pity of course that Lang never lived to see these parts found again. The documentary Die Reise nach Metropolis is in the box as well. Does the Kino Lorber box also contain the "56-page booklet"?



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#3 of 45 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted December 15 2010 - 04:42 AM

No, no booklet. Whether because of cost or rights issues (or both), the Kino edition is much lighter on extras than the Masters of Cinema edition. However, it's my understanding that the MOC edition is region-locked.
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#4 of 45 ONLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted December 15 2010 - 05:13 AM

Yes it's region B (and the DVD region 2). At least, that's what it says on the back of the tin (my solution to the region problem is: having two of the same brand BD-players, one imported; probably the least expensive solution by far as well, and the remotes are the same.). The 56-page booklet is "featuring an archival article by Fritz Lang; a 1927 review by Luis Buñuel; articles by Jonathan Rosenbaum and Karen Naundorf; and restoration notes by Martin Koerber". I don't see an interview with Paula Felix-Didier mentioned, but there's a full-length audio commentary by David Kalat and Jonathan Rosenbaum. I'm now trying to remember if I saw/heard any of those on one of  the previous DVDs - I don't think so, but I cannot be totally sure. (I often skip listening to audio-commentaries.) My (humble) congratulations with the wealth of information in your review! Not many reviews are of this level! Cees

#5 of 45 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted December 15 2010 - 05:24 AM

I spun this one a a couple of weeks ago, it was my first time viewing a "Complete" version of the film since seeing Morodors version whenever it showed up on VHS (it might of been a TV airing actually).  This one though knocked my socks off.  I found the story telling and images so powerful that soon I stopped noticing the switches in quality and just got wrapped up in the experience.  This is definitely one of my favorites for the year, I'm probably going to give it a re-watch over Christmas break.  Great job on the thorough review, I'd only add the suggestion of cranking the sound up.  I played it loud and some of the scenes felt like a face punch, awesome stuff! :)

#6 of 45 OFFLINE   Brianruns10

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Posted December 15 2010 - 06:17 AM

I won't be buying this blu-ray, because I regard it as a rush job, and a holiday cash-in.  If there ever was a movie that warranted the kind of comprehensive treatment given Bladerunner, Mr. Arkadin or Dawn of the Dead, it is this film.  And considering that Metropolis is one of the most influential films PERIOD, it deserves far more than two featurettes, which are missing important parts of the story.  None of the features of the DVD have been transferred over...no stills galleries, nor even a commentary.  Sheesh, the European version had a commentary (with an American no less), and Kino couldn't even manage one of their own (or license the MoC track). I plan on holding out for a proper release, one that has the comprehensive restoration and the American cut (this cut is VITALLY important, both to truly understand how it was butchered, and because it remains the version of the film best known and widely seen).  I'd also like to see the Argentine version entire (which was apparently derived from a different negative, and has many different angles and takes)...it is of poor quality, so I think an SD-DVD would suffice.  In a perfect world, I think the Moroder version would also be worthy of inclusion (though this is a long shot due to the music rights issues).  And then, another disc with bonus content: making of documentaries, stills galleries, promotional art, impact statements. Really, this film needs to be wrested from the hands of Kino (who usually do admirable jobs such as on the new releases of The Black Pirate, and Steamboat Bill), and put to someone who'd do it right, like Criterion.

#7 of 45 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted December 15 2010 - 06:26 AM

Originally Posted by Brianruns10 

I won't be buying this blu-ray, because I regard it as a rush job, and a holiday cash-in.  If there ever was a movie that warranted the kind of comprehensive treatment given Bladerunner, Mr. Arkadin or Dawn of the Dead, it is this film.  And considering that Metropolis is one of the most influential films PERIOD, it deserves far more than two featurettes, which are missing important parts of the story.  None of the features of the DVD have been transferred over...no stills galleries, nor even a commentary.  Sheesh, the European version had a commentary (with an American no less), and Kino couldn't even manage one of their own (or license the MoC track).



While I'm sure everyone would like to see at least the existing special features carried over, isn't the movie and its presentation the most important thing?



#8 of 45 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted December 15 2010 - 12:04 PM

Excellent review. Does anyone know if the "Voyage to Metropolis" is the same documentary that was shown on TCM a few weeks back under the title Metropolis Refound?  I thought that documentary was nearly as entertaining and intense as the film itself.  It really makes you wonder how many other lost films are out there in some vault just waiting to be found.

#9 of 45 OFFLINE   urbo73

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Posted December 15 2010 - 12:15 PM

I bought this when it came out and am happy with it. The MOC R2 version seems superior since it has the original German intertitle cards (with optional English subtitles), where the Kino version has new cards translated. The former is the better way to preserve the film, but I am in R1 and w/o a region free player. If I had a choice and region free player, I'd go with the MOC version. More faithful.

#10 of 45 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted December 15 2010 - 12:34 PM

I need to finally get to this great classic during my holiday "vacation".  I've only ever seen tiny bits of it shown here or there completely out of context -- and of course, heard/read more than enough references to it -- so this will be my first real experience of it in any form.  Hopefully, the jarring diffs in PQ won't be any real distraction for me. It's too bad though that we didn't get a truly "complete" release on BD from Kino (like that MoC version in the UK).  Maybe Criterion can get to it some day... And thanks for yet another solid review, Michael... _Man_
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#11 of 45 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted December 15 2010 - 01:57 PM

Fascinating. I've got one of the various DVD copies that got put out in 2000-something. It looks pretty bad. A $5 bargain bin purchase I think. I watched it once, felt I'd done my cinematic duty in seeing the historic film, but had no desire to watch again, the DVD is so terrible. This is intriguing, though, a reasonable restoration, hopefully better still looking on BR than a DVD. And completely revamped score. I'm not going to rush out and buy this. But I'll keep it in mind should the mood strike.

#12 of 45 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted December 16 2010 - 01:27 AM

Excellent review Michael. I may be picking this up at some point. Now I just have to find the time to be able to give it the time needed to give it justice on my end.

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#13 of 45 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted December 16 2010 - 01:51 AM

Yes, the film is the important thing, but I go for complete packages on certain things and it's the MofC release for me.  I can wait till I have all-region capability to watch it.  I am really tired of nice presentations being available on UK or other releases and relatively bare-bones ones being doled out to us.  Seems like there's been a run of this lately, but I'm also checking more thoroughly than I used to.

#14 of 45 OFFLINE   Brianruns10

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Posted December 16 2010 - 05:33 AM

Yes, the film is the important thing, but its a matter of proper treatment and respect for the film.  I've refused to buy "The Best Years of Our Lives," despite it being in my top ten favorite films, because the existing DVD is utterly barebones, and I'd rather wait for a proper release with at least a commentary. I'm not buying Kino's Metropolis because, given the context in which it was released, I believe it is a cynical holiday cash in.  In terms of special features, their previous DVD is far better, and given the outstanding work Kino has done on other releases this year (including The Black Pirate, Steamboat Bill and Sherlock Jr.) it is inexplicable why their release of one of the MOST IMPORTANT FILMS OF ALL TIME is released with only a documentary and short interview to cover its rich, complex history.  And given that MoC released a BETTER package BEFORE Kino did just further's my belief that they cut corners. As I've said, this film demands a multi-version release, at least, the inclusion of the American cut, which is arguably the most influential version of them all, since it was this version that was public domain, which was the only version available.  Yes, the new restoration is the most complete, but in terms of history and impact, it is the least resonant by the very fact that it was largely unavailable. And when it comes down to it, I've seen Metropolis enough, including the new version several times, that I am content to wait until a proper release of this film is crafted....ideally if a company better suited to the challenge, like Criterion could manage the rights.

#15 of 45 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted December 17 2010 - 04:21 PM

Wow.  Outstanding review.  Thanks Michael.  I have never seen this an look forward to seeing it for the first time.  Like Dave F I picked up the Madacy (?) $5 bargin release, but never watched it.  I'm glad I waited.

#16 of 45 OFFLINE   urbo73

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Posted December 18 2010 - 02:52 AM

I find these type of things sort of depressing. Life is too short to hold out for something that may never be - especially having one of your favorite films in the best possible format. How long do you want to wait for a new realease of TBYOOL? Another decade? If so, then suppose it's not that much of a favorite film after all. I don't get this logic. Statements aren't being made. Your loss IMHO.



Originally Posted by Brianruns10 

Yes, the film is the important thing, but its a matter of proper treatment and respect for the film.  I've refused to buy "The Best Years of Our Lives," despite it being in my top ten favorite films, because the existing DVD is utterly barebones, and I'd rather wait for a proper release with at least a commentary.



#17 of 45 OFFLINE   David_B_K

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Posted December 18 2010 - 11:12 AM



Originally Posted by urbo73 

I find these type of things sort of depressing. Life is too short to hold out for something that may never be - especially having one of your favorite films in the best possible format. How long do you want to wait for a new realease of TBYOOL? Another decade? If so, then suppose it's not that much of a favorite film after all. I don't get this logic. Statements aren't being made. Your loss IMHO.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianruns10 

Yes, the film is the important thing, but its a matter of proper treatment and respect for the film.  I've refused to buy "The Best Years of Our Lives," despite it being in my top ten favorite films, because the existing DVD is utterly barebones, and I'd rather wait for a proper release with at least a commentary.


I remember when the most recent DVD version of Welles' Touch of Evil was released a year ot two ago. There were quite a few "I'll wait for the Blu-ray posts". That's long time to miss a great presentation for something that has yet to materialize.



#18 of 45 OFFLINE   Scott Calvert

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Posted December 18 2010 - 03:36 PM

It seems no one can have a negative opinion around here without this guy jumping in with comments like this. So you're willing to settle for less? Fine. But please lay off those of us who want something better and are making our opinions heard. I don't think anyone really cares about what you find depressing.


Quote:

Originally Posted by urbo73 

I find these type of things sort of depressing. Life is too short to hold out for something that may never be - especially having one of your favorite films in the best possible format. How long do you want to wait for a new realease of TBYOOL? Another decade? If so, then suppose it's not that much of a favorite film after all. I don't get this logic. Statements aren't being made. Your loss IMHO.


#19 of 45 OFFLINE   urbo73

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Posted December 19 2010 - 01:47 AM

Yeah, sorry to spoil the negativity....I'm willing to settle for owning my favorite films in the best possible format at the time. Do I wish sometimes things were better? Sure. Case in point being this release of Metropolis as I said in my first post in this thread. But not at the expense of not owning something I love. How can not owning something you really like be more than "less"?? Can you believe there are people that actually enjoy watching their favorite films rather than whine all day about this and that? This forum is not just for whining..Nothing is ever perfect, and one can do what he or she likes, but if you keep waiting for perfection, you'll be a sorry camper.

Originally Posted by Scott Calvert 

It seems no one can have a negative opinion around here without this guy jumping in with comments like this. So you're willing to settle for less? Fine. But please lay off those of us who want something better and are making our opinions heard. I don't think anyone really cares about what you find depressing.


Quote:

Originally Posted by urbo73 

I find these type of things sort of depressing. Life is too short to hold out for something that may never be - especially having one of your favorite films in the best possible format. How long do you want to wait for a new realease of TBYOOL? Another decade? If so, then suppose it's not that much of a favorite film after all. I don't get this logic. Statements aren't being made. Your loss IMHO.



#20 of 45 ONLINE   JohnMor

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Posted December 19 2010 - 02:09 AM



Originally Posted by urbo73 

Yeah, sorry to spoil the negativity....I'm willing to settle for owning my favorite films in the best possible format at the time. Do I wish sometimes things were better? Sure. Case in point being this release of Metropolis as I said in my first post in this thread. But not at the expense of not owning something I love. How can not owning something you really like be more than "less"?? Can you believe there are people that actually enjoy watching their favorite films rather than whine all day about this and that? This forum is not just for whining..Nothing is ever perfect, and one can do what he or she likes, but if you keep waiting for perfection, you'll be a sorry camper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Calvert 

It seems no one can have a negative opinion around here without this guy jumping in with comments like this. So you're willing to settle for less? Fine. But please lay off those of us who want something better and are making our opinions heard. I don't think anyone really cares about what you find depressing.


Quote:

Originally Posted by urbo73 

I find these type of things sort of depressing. Life is too short to hold out for something that may never be - especially having one of your favorite films in the best possible format. How long do you want to wait for a new realease of TBYOOL? Another decade? If so, then suppose it's not that much of a favorite film after all. I don't get this logic. Statements aren't being made. Your loss IMHO.




Amen, Ryan! My sentiments exactly. Life is way too short.


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