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Progressive Silent Film List
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This listing is from The Progressive Silent Film List by Carl Bennett.
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  Alfred Abel (left) and Rudolf Klein-Rogge.
Photograph: Silent Era image collection.
 
 
Metropolis
Also known as Metrópolis in Argentina and Spain; Mitropolis in Greece
(1927) German
B&W : 17 reels / 4189 metres
Directed by Fritz Lang

Cast: Gustav Fröhlich [Freder Fredersen], Brigitte Helm [Maria; and maschinenmensch (the robot)], Alfred Abel [Johann ‘Joh’ Fredersen, Freder’s father], Rudolf Klein-Rogge [C.A. Rotwang, der erfinder (the inventor)], Theodor Loos [Josaphat], Heinrich George [Grot, wärter der herzmaschine (attendant of the heart machine)], Erwin Biswanger [Georg, worker 11811], Olaf Storm [Jan], Hanns Leo Reich [Marinus], Fritz Rasp [der schmale (the thin man)], Heinrich Gotho [zeremonienmeister (the master of ceremonies [in the Eternal Gardens])], Fritz Alberti [schöpferischer mensch (creative man)], Margarete Lanner [frau der ewigen Gärten (woman of the Eternal Gardens); and dame im auto (girl in the car)], Beatrice Garga [frau der ewigen Gärten (woman of the Eternal Gardens)], Anny Hintze [frau der ewigen Gärten (woman of the Eternal Gardens)], Helen von Münchhofen [frau der ewigen Gärten (woman of the Eternal Gardens)], Hilde Woitscheff [frau der ewigen Gärten (woman of the Eternal Gardens)], Rolf von Goth [man in the Eternal Gardens], Georg John [the worker who causes the M-Machine explosion], Grete Berger [arbeiterin (worker woman)], Olly Böheim [arbeiterin (worker woman)], Max Dietze [arbeiter (worker man)], Ellen Frey [arbeiterin (worker woman)], [?] Dolly Grey or Lisa Gray? [arbeiterin (worker woman)], Walter Kuehle [arbeiter (worker man)], Rose Lichtenstein [arbeiterin (worker woman)], [?] Arthur Rheinhard or Arthur Reinhardt? [arbeiter (worker man)], Curt Siodmak [arbeiter (worker man)], Henrietta Siodmak [arbeiterin (worker woman)], Erwin Vater [arbeiter (worker man)], Helene Weigel [arbeiterin (worker woman)]

Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft [UFA] production; distributed by UFA-Filmverleih GmbH. / Produced by Erich Pommer. Scenario by Thea von Harbou + [Fritz Lang], from the novel Metropolis by Thea von Harbou. Production assistants, Rudi George, Erich Holder, Gustav Pütter and Hans Taussig. Production design by Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut and Karl Vollbrecht + [Edgar G. Ulmer]. Costume design by Änne Willkomm + [Hermann I. Kaufmann]. Sculpture by Walter Schultze-Mittendorf (Walter Schulze-Mittendorf). Models construction by Willy Muller. Technical constultant, Erich Kettelhut. Apprentice director, Slatan Dudow. Cinematography by Karl Freund and Günther Rittau + [Walter Ruttmann]. Camera assistants, Robert Baberske and Günther Anders. Stills photography by Horst von Harbou. Special effects by Ernst Kunstmann. Special effects cinematography by Eugen Schüfftan + [Helmar Lerski (Schüfftan process), Konstantin Irmen-Tschet (models), and Erich Kettelhut]. Special effects cinematography assistant, Hugo O. Schulze. Edited by Fritz Lang. Original music score by Gottfried Huppertz. / Premiered 10 January 1927 at Ufa-Palast am Zoo (UFA Palace Cinema) in Berlin, Germany. General release (at 3241 metres), 5 August 1927. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.37:1 format. / The project was in production from 22 March through 30 October 1926, with principal cinematography taken 22 May through 30 October 1926. The film was reedited to ten reels by Channing Pollack, Julian Johnson and Edward Adams, in the USA by Paramount Pictures Corporation, with USA premiere 6 March 1927 in New York, New York, and general release on 13 March 1927. The film was released in Finland on 21 March 1927. The film was released in Greece as Mitropolis on 4 April 1927. The film was released in Sweden on 4 April 1927. The film was released in Argentina as Metrópolis on 25 November 1927. The film was released in Spain as Metrópolis on 23 January 1928. The film was released in Australia on 7 April 1928. The film was released in Japan on 3 April 1929. In 1961, incomplete prints held by the Gosfilmofond film archive and the Czechoslovakian Film Archive were the basis for a restoration of the American version of the film. A German restoration of the film was undertaken in 1971. At that time, the materials held by Gosfilmofond was returned to Germany. It was soon discovered that the German and American negatives of the film were composed of entirely different takes. The German restoration was completed in 1972. The lone surviving copy of the German censorship record containing texts of the original intertitle cards was found at the Swedish Film Archive in 1980. A pop music version, compiled by composer Giorgio Moroder, was released theatrically in 1984. A ‘restored’ version based on the original scenario and the novel by Thea von Harbou, with film stills (from La Cinémathèque Française) and additional intertitles to replace missing footage, was prepared from four different versions of the film (the abridged German version submitted to the Museum of Modern Art by UFA in 1936; the version held by Gosfilmofond; a print held in London, England; and one held in Melbourne, Australia) was completed by Enno Patalas for the Munich Filmmuseum in 1987. A subtantially complete duplicate 16mm reduction negative (probably struck circa 1973-1974), previously held in the collection of Argentinian film critic Manuel Peña Rodríguez, was rediscovered in 2008 by the Museo del Cine Pablo C. Ducros Hicken in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A 9.5mm reduction positive possibly containing footage not present in standard circulation prints was recovered in Chile in 2008. / Silent film.

Drama: Science fiction.

Survival status: Prints exist in the Munich Filmmuseum film archive; in the Museum of Modern Art film archive [abridged German version (acquired 1936)]; in the International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House film archive [35mm positive]; and in the Museo del Cine Pablo C. Ducros Hicken film archive [duplicate 16mm reduction negative (Argentinian distribution version)].

Current rights holder: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung.

Keywords: Children - Cities - Robots - Science fiction - Water - Workers

Listing updated: 20 July 2014.

References: Film viewing : Bardèche-History pp. 105, 260-261, 343; Bohn-Light pp. xxiii, 127-128, 159; Brownlow-Parade p. 353; Everson-American pp. 137, 314, 321, 327; Fell-History p. 23; FilmDaily-1926 front endpapers; Geduld-Birth pp. 39, 147; Jensen-Lang pp. 26, 38, 39, 43, 58, 59-69, 70, 75, 78, 79, 80, 85, 91, 92, 94, 100, 104, 163, 174, 180, 198, 203, 207; Kael-Kiss pp. 309-310; Lahue-Collecting pp. 38-39; Leish-Cinema pp. 34, 35; Limbacher-Feature p. 159; Maeder-Hollywood p. 112; Maltin-Guide p. 825; Manchel-Terrors pp. 29-31, 39, 67; Mandelbaum-Screen pp. 166, 172, 186; Marrero-Vintage pp. 4, 15, 18, 25, 158; Nollen-Karloff pp. 96, 106; Perry-British p. 50; Shipman-Cinema pp. 96, 97; Sinyard-Silent pp. 8, 162, 163, 164, 165 : Cinemonkey-16 p. 35 : Website-Filmportal; Website-GEH; Website-IMDb.

Home video: Blu-ray Disc/DVD.

 
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