Key scenes from Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” have been rediscovered
Metropolis, the most important silent film in German history, can from this day on be considered to have been rediscovered.
Fritz Lang presented the original version of Metropolis in Berlin in January 1927. The film is set in the futuristic city of Metropolis, ruled by Joh Fredersen, whose workers live underground. His son falls in love with a young woman from the worker’s underworld – the conflict takes its course. At the time it was the most expensive German film ever made. It was intended to be a major offensive against Hollywood. However the film flopped with critics and audiences alike. Representatives of the American firm Paramount considerably shortened and re-edited the film. They oversimplified the plot, even cutting key scenes. The original version could only be seen in Berlin until May 1927 – from then on it was considered to have been lost forever.
Lost scenes of ‘Metropolis’ discovered in Argentina
Lost scenes from German-Austrian director Fritz Lang’s legendary silent film “Metropolis” have been discovered in Argentina, German weekly newspaper Die Zeit reported on Wednesday.
Paula Félix-Didier, head of film museum Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, discovered an uncut version of the 1927 science fiction film when she looked into reports that a tape [sic] in the archive was unusually long. She travelled to Berlin with a copy of the film and met with experts who say they are certain it is the missing original-length version of Lang’s masterpiece that reveals key plot scenes and an expansion of minor roles, Die Zeit said ahead of the publication of its Thursday edition.
“The film’s original rhythm will be re-established,” Martin Koerber, the man responsible for the current restoration of the film, told the paper.
Head of Berlin film museum Deutsche Kinemathek told the paper it was a “sensational discovery.”
Remember that Fritz Lang himself believed that his version of the film no longer existed — 20% of the story was gone. Other reports (and the net is afire with reports on this, so just check out your favorite film sites) are that the print is only 16mm, and as you can see from some screenshots it is heavily scratched up, but nothing a passionate film restoration team wouldn’t love to tackle. Update: TheDigitalBits.com reports: “We’ve just heard back from our friends over at Kino International. The good news is that they have officially confirmed that the newly-discovered footage from Fritz Lang’s original version of Metropolis (which we mentioned yesterday) WILL be a part of the forthcoming special edition Blu-ray Disc release in 2009.” However, we do not yet know if they will be restored within the film or simply tacked on as a separate extra.
And in related news…which is weird because I was just looking at this last night …if you want a life-size statue of the robot (aka Evil Maria) from the film, you can buy one for only $7,500. There’s even a picture of her butt on this website so you can, you know, check it out (click the pic):