Metropolis, Original sound (1927), COLOR AND RESTORED HD
Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist science-fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang. Written by Thea von Harbou in collaboration with Lang, it stars Gustav Fröhlich, Alfred Abel, Rudolf Klein-Rogge and Brigitte Helm. Erich Pommer produced it in the Babelsberg Studios for Universum Film A.G. (UFA). The silent film is regarded as a pioneering science-fiction movie, being among the first feature-length movies of that genre. Filming took place over 17 months in 1925–26 at a cost of more than five million Reichsmarks.
Made in Germany during the Weimar period, Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and follows the attempts of Freder, the wealthy son of the city master, and Maria, a saintly figure to the workers, to overcome the vast gulf separating the classes in their city and bring the workers together with Joh Fredersen, the city master. The film's message is encompassed in the final inter-title: "The Mediator Between the Head and the Hands Must Be the Heart".
Metropolis met a mixed reception upon release. Critics found it visually beautiful and powerful – the film's art direction by Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut and Karl Vollbrecht draws influence from Bauhaus, Cubist and Futurist design, along with touches of the Gothic in the scenes in the catacombs, the cathedral and Rotwang's house – and lauded its complex special effects, but accused its story of being naive. H. G. Wells described the film as "silly", and The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction calls the story "trite" and its politics "ludicrously simplistic". The film's alleged Communist message was also criticized.
The film's extensive running time also came in for criticism, and Metropolis was cut substantially after its German premiere, with a large portion of Lang's original footage removed. Many attempts have been made since the 1970s to restore the film. In 1984 Italian music producer Giorgio Moroder released a truncated version with a soundtrack by rock artists including Freddie Mercury, Loverboy and Adam Ant. In 2001 a new reconstruction of Metropolis was shown at the Berlin Film Festival. In 2008 a damaged print of Lang's original cut of the film was found in a museum in Argentina. After a long restoration process that required additional materials provided by a print from New Zealand, the film was 95% restored and shown on large screens in Berlin and Frankfurt simultaneously on 12 February 2010.