Thursday, 27 October 2011

Metropolis (1927)

Fig. 1
Fritz Lang's Metropolis is a German Expressionist classic, with the genre being science-fiction the film takes place in a futuristic mega-city. The film followers the protagonist, the son of the Master of Metropolis, who falls for the angelic Maria, who preaches to the workers about peace and equality. The film brings the audience's attention to the theme of capitalism and the effects one individual can have on an impressionable community - revolutionary reaction. The set design is beautifully created, from the contrast of the rich, lavish garden to the claustrophobic, dark worker's city. The ideal imagery of heaven and hell. Being the most expensive silent film ever made, Metropolis was the Avatar of its day. There is no doubt that Metropolis can not be called anything else but epic!

Kim Newman states, "The newly restored footage enhances sci-fi's first masterpiece, making this essential viewing for any movie lover." (Newman unspecified date) Newman gives high praise indeed, notifying Lang's creation to be a classic.     
Fig. 2
The sets are vital to the storyline and assist in emphasising underlying meanings and messages. For example, the garden - pure, innocent, ignorant bliss - the worker's city - capitalism, revolution, the image of hell. The set design has to be one of the most iconic and beautifully crafted of its kind. The depiction of the city itself has to be without a doubt a stunning piece of art. Nev Pierce observes, "With its immense sets and stark lighting, the workers' city is a credible image of hell, while the overground landscapes were a seminal influence on all subsequent science fiction." (Pierce 2003) Pierce observes the fact that Metropolis influenced many science fiction genres  
Fig. 3
The one scene in particular that stands prominent within the film, is when Maria is being chased underground by the mad scientist. The camera angles and lighting are triumphant - the way the lighting depicts the focus the and sharp motions bring a modern stance to the film. Roger Ebert suggests, "The result was astonishing for its time. Without all of the digital tricks of today, ``Metropolis'' fills the imagination. Today the effects look like effects, but that's their appeal." (Ebert 1998) Ebert reflects the success of the digital effects that Lang has seductively entwined throughout.

List of illustrations

Figure 1. Lang, Fritz (1927) Metropolis Movie Poster. At: (Accessed on:26/10/11)

Figure 2. Lang, Fritz (1927) Metropolis. At: (Accessed on:26/10/11)

Figure 3. Lang, Fritz (1927) Maria. At: (Accessed on:26/10/11)


Empire Kim Newman (uspecified date) Metropolis. At: (Accessed on:26/10/11)

BBC Nev Pierce (2003) Metropolis (1927). At: (Accessed on:26/10/11)

Roger Ebert (1998) Metropolis (1926). At: (Accessed on:26/10/11)

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