Metropolis (1927)

As I return to my movie blogging, I’m hitting the ground running with Fritz Lang’s sci-fi masterpiece, Metropolis.  I saw this movie for the first time in my film class in university over 10 years ago, and it still blows my mind today as much as it did then.

The basic gist of the story starts in the underbelly of a large futuristic city, where an uprising of the working class people begins to percolate.  As tensions rise, the son of the city’s creator falls in love with the working class’ prophet, and it is up to him to mediate between the two arguing parties.

I really love Metropolis, though it’s not exactly a film that I am going to put in every few months: it’s long for a silent film, clocking in at a whopping 2 hours and 33 minutes. Even at that length, it’s still incomplete as much of the film was lost years ago, and it’s only after considerable restoration and effort that we have the version of the film we have today.  Much of the problem was fixed through the use of text cards explaining what’s taking place, which could be distracting if this movie wasn’t such a marvel.  It was a high-budget film with over 37,000 extras, and it took a year and half to shoot, and Lang’s attention to detail was not lost in translation.  The visuals are groundbreaking, the sets are immense and elaborate, and the subject matter is complex and rewarding.

I feel silent films are the foundation of cinema.  I have wanted for quite some time to add many more to my Watched list, but sometimes it is difficult to get invested in them.  That is not the case with Metropolis.  While watching Metropolis, I found myself in awe about the sheer grandeur of it all.  Like Sunrise, Metropolis challenged my views on silent films.  It is powerful and visually stunning in a way I didn’t think silent films could be.

Sometimes it can be tough for me to sit through a long silent movie, and while Metropolis has its challenges, it is essential viewing for any self-proclaimed film buff and is well worth your time.

The stats:

Metropolis landed at #286 out of 1407 movies on my Flickchart.  That converts to a rating of 4 out of 5 stars or 80%.  It is ranked #4 out of 12 films I have seen from the 1920s, and it is ranked #13 out of 21 movies I have seen so far in this challenge.

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