I've heard good things about Fritz Lang's silent 1927 film Metropolis, sometimes referred to as the 'Daddy of Sci-Fi films', so I was pretty intrigued when we had the pleasure to watch this yesterday.

I have to say, I was truly impressed by the film in its complete entirety; from the epic set designs, vast amounts of actors and wonderful shot techniques - Metropolis really must have been the 'Lord of the Rings' of its time. The story and plot was intriguing and entertaining to follow, where characters are not so black and white in being labelled Good or Evil as their motives and values transition throughout the film, something I feel is quite contemporary for its time. I really did find myself caring about the characters too, rooting on for our hero and feeling sympathetic to the misfortunes that befall Maria.

A particular scene I thought most vivid and striking was when Freder struck his hand out to grab a piece of cloth that belonged to Maria. Positioned in a first person perspective, it was pretty dramatic and very dynamic when compared to the fixed camera positions of the previous film of Dr Caligari.

The art and stage direction is truly impressive and quite simply awe inspiring, particularly the iconic Tower of Babel as shown above. To think, there was no computer generated models or special effects at the time, so everything you see has been built on stage. Despite this limitation, the film convincingly communicates a sense of space brimming with atmosphere, such as the contrast of the underground workers and city life above. It comes to little surprise where later sci-fi films such as Star Wars, and of course the game Bioshock, get their inspiration from.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Metropolis where, given the chance, you will be blown away by some of the concepts and techniques used that would have been wholly unique for its time.


tutorphil said...

Hi Leo - good to read that you enjoyed the film; personally, I love watching it on the big screen with the great musical score in surround sound. I loved all the modernist montage stuff - especially the 'whore of Babylon' sequence with the evil Maria-bot going all 'femme fatale'! That bit is just nuts - and so kinetic! Likewise that gothic interlude, in which death comes to life in the cathedral. So filmic - and also, all those beautiful, ethereal close-ups of the saintly Maria - you've got to love those silent movie mannerisms! Thanks for posting the image above too - really puts those sfx sequences into perspective! :-)

Also, I think Chris got The Lost World too?

Leo said...

Yup I really enjoyed Metropolis, and I thought the last image showed some intriguing insight in how they set up their scenes of the grand city.

Ah someone else with The Lost World, finally! Will pop over and take a peek.

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