- Film Festival
In preparation for the PFS 20th Anniversary movie event – Metropolis, I decided to do a little research on Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece.
First I found an interesting movie analysis on a site called The VigilantCitizen (excerpts):
Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent movie “Metropolis” (link to blog post of Tampa Theater Summer Film Festival showing of the film)
is one of those timeless classics that withstands the test of time. Rather than becoming forgotten and obsolete, “Metropolis” is increasingly relevant as many of its predictions are becoming reality. We will look at the underlying occult message of the film and the usage of its imagery in the acts of pop stars such as Lady Gaga, Madonna, Beyonce, Kylie Minogue and others…
Set in a futuristic dystopia divided into two distinct and separate classes—the thinkers and the workers …The workers live in a hellish underground dystopia, the thinkers conversely evolve in a gleaming utopia, a magnificent testimony of human achievement. This shiny city could not, however, be sustained without the existence of the Machine (Moloch) and its herds of workers. On the other hand, the Machine would not exist without the need to sustain a city. We find here a dualistic relation where two opposite entities exist in mutual dependence, a concept that has deep occult resonance.
My Googling also uncovered this:
The Pop Up City - Metropolis: A Movie By Rob Carter- stop motion animation in which he compresses about 70 years of a city’s development into 3 minutes and 12 seconds. Within the time-lapse video he physically manipulates aerial still images of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina (both real and fictional). Using the title Metropolis, Carter gives us a sign that his animation is meant to be a critical response to Fritz Lang’s dystopian film.
How was the movie received way back when?
Excerpts from science fiction writer John K Davis:
The release of Metropolis was met by so-so reactions from German audiences. In other countries severely shortened versions were shown that often left viewers confused. Critics were unkind. Although the movie may have been influenced in part by the H. G. Wells stories The Time Machine and When the Sleeper Wakes, the British author called the film, “foolishness.” A contemporary NY Times review said that “it had feet of clay.”
The basic storyline does have several flaws. Yet, the movie is still a masterpiece because of the atmospheric setting that Lang creates. From its art deco skyscrapers and interior sets to the god-like machines to the zombie movements of the workers, Metropolis has left a legacy through the years.
Fritz Lang’s Own Opinion of Metropolis
In the book Who the Devil Made It? by Peter Bogdanovich, Lang told the author that he was always dissatisfied with the movie, calling it [“a fairy tale that was silly and stupid”] and that he only made it because of his fascination with machines. Bogdanovich surmised in a separate section of the book that Lang’s distaste for his own movie began when Lang, who despised the rising tide of Nazism in Germany, learned that Adolph Hitler and Joseph Goebbels were fascinated with the film. Lang’s hatred of the Nazis became so intense that in the early 1930s he came to America after he divorced von Harbou who had joined the Nazi party.
So hopefully this will whet your appetite for our special fundraiser, in partnership with the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ and Macy’s Center City.
Date: Saturday, March 19, 2011
Place: Macy’s Grand Court (13th & Market)
Reception Time TBA: Prior to the screening, we will host a light reception in the recently-renovated Greek Hall, with wine and hors d’oeuvres, a brief talk on the film by Temple University film professor Nora Alter, and theater-organ music played on the Wurlitzer by Rudy Lucente.
Click HERE to purchase tickets
On Tinsel & Tine – check out my review of Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere”