In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
Sometime in the future, the city of Metropolis is home to a Utopian society where its wealthy residents live a carefree life. One of those is Freder Fredersen. One day, he spots a beautiful woman with a group of children, she and the children who quickly disappear. Trying to follow her, he, oblivious to such, is horrified to find an underground world of workers, apparently who run the machinery which keeps the above ground Utopian world functioning. One of the few people above ground who knows about the world below is Freder's father, Joh Fredersen, who is the founder and master of Metropolis. Freder learns that the woman is Maria, who espouses the need to join the "hands" - the workers - to the "head" - those in power above - by a mediator or the "heart". Freder wants to help the plight of the workers in the want for a better life. But when Joh learns of what Maria is espousing and that Freder is joining their cause, Joh, with the assistance of an old colleague and now nemesis named ... Written by
UFA needed financial help from Famous Players and Metro-Goldwyn to the tune of four million dollars to complete the most elaborate and extravagant film in European history. UFA never recovered its investment in the film. See more »
Fritz Lang shot more than one version of this movie. There are differences between the version on the Madacy DVD and the Kino DVD. In the Kino DVD, Freder exits the Moloch machine hall in chapter 7 (at around 55 mins). The shot of Freder descending the stairs is missing two motorized utility carts. These appear in the Madacy Video DVD in Chapter 3 (at around 24 mins). See more »
It was their hands that built this city of ours, Father. But where do the hands belong in your scheme?
In their proper place, the depths.
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Restoration based on the version in the Filmmuseum Munich and material preserved in the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv See more »
Early science fiction story that presents a pessimistic prediction of a future society.
Who ever heard of an epic science fiction film? Especially in the 1920s? Sure, some science fiction movies are huge today, such as George Lucas' latest goofy Star Wars movie, but in 1926, Fritz Lang came out with a brilliant film about what the future would be like if people went on living the way they were living back then. And sure enough, we went right ahead living the way we were living, the population got bigger and more crowded, and now modern society is not a whole lot different from what was presented in Metropolis.
The story is about a young rich kid without a care in the world who becomes concerned about the way that society (Metropolis) was run by his father, John Frederson, the master of Metropolis. He lives in a Pleasure Garden' high above the level of the workers', and he worries about what would happen if the huge number of workers were to turn against his father, given the terrible conditions under which they live and work. Some of the best scenes in the film take place in the underground mines, showing the workers portrayed as little more than components on a gigantic, sinister looking machine. The scene where the machine overheated even contained some impressive stunts, as well as interesting cinematography as the machine transforms into a giant devil-looking monster. After countless workers are consumed by it (no wonder this was Hitler's favorite film), they are immediately replaced by other workers, who go right to the same spots that the previous men left and resume their robotic movements. If some of these scenes, men can be seen being carried away on stretchers after having been injured, and the rest of the workers keep right on working, hardly even noticing.
The way that the workers are portrayed as lifeless machines is one of the more potent elements of this film, as well as the most revealing about the directors intentions. When his son complains about the tragic things that go on in the mines, Frederson replies that such accidents are unavoidable, but his son still insists that they deserve credit for building the city. This is the kind of content that foreshadows some serious mutiny, and at the same time it shows what may very well happen when large groups of people feel mistreated. `Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups' is a saying that doesn't necessarily only apply to stupid people, as Metropolis suggests. Fritz Lang brilliantly portrays this very complex story with extremely limited dialogue, and the result is still compelling today. The special effects in this film are decades ahead of its time it even resembles The Fifth Element in many ways (except that the two films can hardly be compared) and the acting and especially the elaborately created sets are stunning to say the least. An excellent film, Metropolis is one of the few that should never be forgotten.
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