Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quick Picks: Fritz Lang's Metropolis (Restored)

Metropolis (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1927, 148 minutes)
Netflix: In the year 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live underground and the wealthy, who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor, a man from the upper class abandons his privileged life to join oppressed workers in a revolt. Perhaps the most famous & influential of all silent films, German director Fritz Lang's masterpiece has now been magnificently restored to include the original 1927 orchestral score. This version includes 25 minutes of additional footage. Netflix link.

If you think you've seen this German silent classic, think again.  Ignore the Netflix user reviews that congratulate the editors of the shorter versions (?!). I had a chance to see the 2002 restoration, which fleshed out several subplots but explained still missing footage with intertitles.  In 2008 more material was found, and this most recent restoration that emerged from that discovery debuted at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival.  A good analysis of the most recent restoration can be found on David Bordwell's blog.  They truly do not make them like this any more.

Netflix Watch Instantly also has some other Lang silents, Spiders (1919), Destiny (1921), Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922), as well as his early sound classics, M (1931) and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933).

Let me know what you think about these or other silent titles on Netflix Watch Instantly, or other streamng sources.  --JLK

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