Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Between the Head & The Hands... Jodhpurs!

Nothing says FUTURE like a tight, wistful pair of jodhpurs, or so it seemed to Freder Frederson, ineffectual son of wealthy industrialist Joh Frederson in 'Metropolis', the 1927 black and white silent film by Fritz Lang.

Many thanks to my buddy Ron for running the recently released restored version of this sci-fi classic for me yesterday!

At 2 and a half hours, it is an hour longer than the version I watched back in my university film studies class- but this time I stayed awake and it made more sense!  The restored footage comes partly from an all-but-scratched-to-hell copy found 2 years ago in a Buenos Aries museum.  Thus, this DVD is the closest you can come to seeing this film in its original form without a time machine and a willingness to visit NEARLY-NAZI Germany.

(If you have a time machine, PLEASE consider going forward.)

Such as fabulous 2026!  

Where biplanes meander between skyscrapers and hordes of miserable workers die in horrible explosions while servicing bizarre machines! 

Where the elite drive classic hundred-year old German cars along spindly sky-high roadways!

And where C. A. Rotwang (yes, a name and a venereal disease all in one!), the mad scientist, kidnaps a lady preacher, copies her features onto an eerie robot and incites rioting via alternating strip shows and church sermons using her indoor screams.

The writer joined the Nazis 6 years later and her husband, Lang, divorced her over it and continued his film directing in less deadly countries.  He remained chapped about the extreme editing job done on the film and it seems he was right.

Metropolis had a hella big budget: 5 million is a lot of ANYTHING, even twenties-era Reichsmarks.  And although it didn't turn a profit, it was very popular.  That kooky Joseph Goebbels thought the world of it!  Joey killed a lot of people before he got the right one, but I guess we agree on one thing: it's a cool movie.

83 years old and it managed to give me both heebies and jeebies.  

That's precision German-engineered creepy!

The gyrating robot girl was a mere 17 in her triple role as Maria, Machinemenchen Maria, and Tod (the Grim Spectre of Death), while the bad guys lusting after her closely resemble Grand Moff Tarkin and Beetlejuice.  Yeeurgh!  

H.G. Wells gave Metropolis a thumbs down, apparently, so to see what the future will REALLY be like, I'll soon be watching Wells' 'Things To Come'.


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