Metropolis, 1927

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Aaron Garman, Jan 7, 2002.

  1. Aaron Garman

    Aaron Garman Second Unit

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    Just started up second semester today...fun stuff. Anyhow, in my newest film class we viewed the 1927 silent film Metropolis. Our professor noted that this version was tinted and had an odd soundtrack. Upon viewing it, I could see that. The film was incredible, powerful, and disturbing at times. Being the film snob I am, I was curious to know if there is a version that would resemble the original 1927 version. I read that the original runs close to 3 hours, its in black and white, and will not have that goofy rock soundtrack that seems like something out of The Wall. Is there a DVD or a Laserdisc available that is more faithful in these terms? Is it coming soon? Help me please. Thanks. And of course, don't forget, SUPPORT ORIGINAL ASPECT RATIO!

    AJ Garman
     
  2. Gavin_L

    Gavin_L Second Unit

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    yeah saw this last year in one of my highschool classes, with the rock music version. like u said it was a very moving, powerful and disturbing movie. i have to say pretty amazing visually the world the director came up with, way ahead of his time.
     
  3. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    There is supposed to be a dvd coming this spring or summer that is as restored as it is possible to be right now. Whether the "Moroder" soundtrack, as it has come to be known, will be included is an unknown but I wouldn't think so. Under no circumstance should you bother with the Madacy dvd of Metropolis - this is one of the most horrifying transfers ever.

    This is a 20's film - that means it's full screen!
     
  4. Josh_Hill

    Josh_Hill Screenwriter

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    I hope theres an SE. Please Please!
     
  5. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Everything I've read about it states there will be both the Moroder version and (presumably on a second disc) an extended version as long as it was possible to make.

    I've only ever seen the Moroder version and thought it was pretty cool, cheese aside. I definitely want this DVD.

    The only weird thing is about projection speed. I can't remember now, but there's a lot of stuff about how it's meant to be shown at a v. high rate (26 fps?) but the soundtrack (of the original) was done with it running much slower. God knows how that will pan out.
     
  6. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    Actually I believe that what the gentleman was referring to when talking about OAR on Metropolis is that really the film should be presented windowboxed, instead of the blown up full-screen.

    I too can't wait to see this film arrive on DVD and it will be an instant purchase of mine. I have always had a appreciation for this fine film that was way ahead of it's time.

    As for the rock soundtrack...the only song that stands out to me and works is Pat Benatar's "Here's My Heart." A hell of a song that stands on it's own outside of the film.
     
  7. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    There's a dispute about how fast Metropolis should run. The only evidence from the time, a note on the score of the composer for the premiere, apparently says 26 frames per second. Even at 24 fps, however, this movie runs insanely fast and I don't think 26 can possibly be right. The Eureka DVD from Britain runs at about 12-14 fps, and that's a bit slow, but is at least in the right neighborhood.

    My guess is that it's supposed to be 16 fps and the composer wrote a 2 instead of a 1 by mistake, or the number is being misread. It's hard to know for certain, however, without seeing the actual score and marrying it to the full film, which is still lost.

    The wonders of variable speed in the silent era!
     
  8. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    There is a german restoration that brings the film to something like 2 hours and 20 mintutes. It was being projected I believe around 22 fps, but im not sure about that.

    The Moroder Version runs at 24fps, so that it could be projected in theaters, and runs about 90 minutes.

    I personally love the Moroder Version, and the score. Maybe its just cause I love that sort of music, but how can anyone not love Bonnie Tyler's "Here She Comes" the Benetar is great too, but also the score bits that Moroder did are fantastic.

    I dont think this version will be available. It was out under Vestron, and those titles are a mess to work out, as well as if you have to re clear the Music rights for DVD it would be a nightmare.

    I think that website and rumors that popped up a while back is total bullshit, but there is a German Company that is working on the release, but there is no word if there is a US distributor yet.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've got the current DVD release (the really horrid looking one). I've got to say, I don't get it. I appreciated the visuals, but found the story hard to follow (no dialog, very few title cards, music not matching movie thematically). Can someone provide references to help me understand this movie, and why it's so acclaimed?

    Thanks.
     
  10. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I've got the crappy Madacy disc too, but thought the movie itself was pretty impressive considering it was made almost 80 years ago. It ain't "Star Wars", but impressive nonetheless. The video master used for this disc is awful though, and whether that music is even supposed to go with the movie is anyone's guess.
     
  11. George Fogel

    George Fogel Agent

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    Dave,
    There are a number of web sites about this film; here is a typical one: Metropolis
    The film has always had a checkered reputation (H.G. Welles is quoted as calling it "quite the silliest film") and the involved story suffers by all of the cuts, but it remains a powerful example of German Expressionist film. We're still seeing the echos of many of its visuals in the science fiction films of our time.
     
  12. Peter Rohlfs

    Peter Rohlfs Stunt Coordinator

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    The Moroder version went with the Metropolis novel written by the director/creators wife.

    One of the reasons the his version runs in less time is he uses subtitles instead of title cards.

    He tried to do a restoration but some scenes were just plain lost. This is why there are some semi-animated stills

    in there.

    Tinitng was common with silent films, and that is why he tinited it.

    The Moroder version is heavily maligned but I for 1 have the VHS and would love to have it on DVD.

    Peter
     
  13. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    One thing that's important about the Moroder version is that it contains footage that is available in no other video version. I'm not sure if it's in the restoration currently touring the country, but I know that the guy who owns the footage was not contacted for that restoration, so it might not be.
     
  14. Bob Bergeron

    Bob Bergeron Auditioning

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    I watched it on video once while listening to Fear Factory's "Soul of a New Machine" album, but any Fear Factory would be appropriate. Never saw teh one with pat Benatar and Yes from teh late 80's early 90s
     
  15. Claes Ljunghorn

    Claes Ljunghorn Stunt Coordinator

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    There is some very interesting reading about the new 2K digital restoration of the 1927 Metropolis at
    http://www.filmrestauration.de/Homep...ish/alpha.html
    complete with comparisons of different versions. Apparently not only is the picture quality and completenes of the new version better, but the acting too...[​IMG]
     
  16. Alan_Horner

    Alan_Horner Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmmm... I thought that Moroder had purchased the rights to Metropolis in order to re-work it as he did.
    I'm fond of the Moroder version too, even if I can't quite defend all the songs that were chosen. He probably should have gone with an instrumental-only soundtrack, but I know there was some concern about recouping production money and I'm sure Moroder felt a soundtrack with pop songs would sell much better than an instrumental.
    If Moroder does own the rights, I'm sure he would have some say in whether his version is included on the DVD release. Double- and triple-disc releases are becoming so common (and evidently cost efficient) that there really shouldn't be any reason to not include it, barring release rights.
    I remember going to see the "Moroder" version when it premiered in New York city, complete with digital audio playback (or so they said). It was great to see the film projected in a real theater. There really is something about watching a classic outside of one's home theater! Not that I'd mind having a decent DVD of Metropolis right now! [​IMG]
     
  17. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Madacy needs to be beaten with a sharp pointy stick for their sorry excuses for DVD's.

    The restoration examples from Metropolis simply look wonderful. I hope David Shepard's company, Blackhawk Films has some part in the DVD release. Shepard has produced some excellent silent DVD's and also a handful of soundies (such as The Great Dictator).

    I'll buy a Metropolis DVD even if it's extremely expensive.
     
  18. Ben Motley

    Ben Motley Supporting Actor

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    Has anyone even mentioned the director's name here yet? Fritz Lang was a genius. I've been enjoying his films on dvd, what few there are, and would love to have as near an original representation as possible of Metropolis on dvd. I've never seen the film in any form except for a few clips here and there, in rock videos and such, and stills in film mags.
    Speaking of David Shepard and Fritz Lang, I just watched Image's "Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler" this past weekend. It looked great, and the commentary was very informative. Dr. Mabuse deals with a mastermind criminal who fatefully comes up against the unrelenting determination of the authorities. My only gripe with the dvd is that Shepard and company decided to add digital effects, superimposing english text graphics over text inherrent objects (i.e., documents and letters). There are fortunately only a few instances, and as a whole, the film is not compromised. I do wish they had left the original scenes intact, and used subtitles to translate these objects rather than covering the images; but then, there may also have been trouble with the original scenes source elements. I have no idea. That is a rather nitpicky observance, I know, and it in no way keeps me from heartily endorsing this disc. Any Fritz Lang fan needs to have this dvd - Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler - in their collection. The film is a classic, and the dvd looks great.
    A few weeks back, I watched "Destiny", also from Image. This is an earlier film (earlier than Mabuse) that deals with a woman bargaining with Death after he takes her newleywedded husband. There are some wonderful effects here, really astonishing considering the date of the film and the fact that special effects was in it's infancy. While not as precisely linear as Mabuse, the story is an intriguing scenario. Death offers a deal that if the woman can save just one of his next three victims, he'll return her husband to earthly existence; which brings about my one real issue with the film. That is that the film becomes anthological at this point. The woman goes to various locales, as Death's beat is obviously global. At first, the idea seems ideal, to be able to show many different scenarios in one film, but for me, it also seems to break up the film too much. It's like a collection of unfinished shorts. This of course is just my first impression, and look forward to watching it again to see how it holds up to multiple viewings. As I said, I love the premise, and maybe repeat viewings will reveal some things I may have missed. Not alltogether an unlikely event for a Fritz Lang film. I would suggest Destiny to the hardcore Fritz Lang fan, or any fan of classic horror/supernatural film.
    "M". What can I say about M that hasn't already been said numerous times? Fritz Lang's first "talkie", regarded widely as the first true suspense thriller and certainly the first serial killer film, exibits a phenomenal performance by Peter Lorre and ingenius camerawork and lighting. It has been quite some time since I viewed this Lang masterpiece, but as I remember, the Criterion transfer may have been a little soft (Which could have very well been caused by the print; I have no idea.), and there were no extras as I recall. Someone correct me on that, but I seem to remember it that way. I guess this at least gives me a reason to revisit the dvd [​IMG]. As for the movie, I can't recommend it highly enough. As little Lang as is out on dvd (comparativly to his career's output), this is clearly the cream of the crop. I have not seen the Rykodisk dvd, which pairs M with Lang's "Spies", and so can't compare that disc to Criterion's. In any event, M belongs in the collection of any fan or student of Fritz Lang's, whether it be the Criterion dvd or, granted a quality transfer, the Rykodisk dvd.
    Now, BRING ON METROPOLIS!!!
     
  19. Tim RH

    Tim RH Second Unit

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    I just saw METROPOLIS (as well as M) on the big screen with live musical accompaniment! I had forgotten what a powerful film it was. I hope Criterion releases a restored DVD one of these days.... Fritz Lang is a (mostly) forgotten genius.
     
  20. Carrol M

    Carrol M Stunt Coordinator

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