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New Cut of ‘Metropolis’ to Be Shown

February 11, 2010
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Fans of Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent masterpiece Metropolis will be delighted to hear that a new cut of the film will premiere tomorrow, February 12, at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany. The new cut will stream tomorrow at 11:45 am PST here.

The new cut includes nearly 30 minutes of restored, never-before-seen footage discovered in 2008 in Buenos Aires. Not long after the discovery, the BBC reported that representatives of the FW Murnau Foundation, rights holders to the film, confirmed that the recovered footage was indeed part of the original film, which was extensively cut for distribution following its premiere. The excised scenes purportedly explore several characters in greater depth as well as introduce additional plot elements. In an interview last year with Deustche Welle, film restorer Anke Wilkening mentioned that the missing half-hour will “completely change the film as we know it.” Nevertheless several minutes are still missing.

Premiering in 1927, Metropolis was notable for being among the first films to combine contemporary politics issues with science fiction—in addition to creating an astonishing visual atmosphere heavily influenced by German expressionism and Art Deco. Wilkening, among others, cite its impact on latter-day films such as Blade Runner and its character of inventor CA Rotwang as an archetype of the 1930s-cinema’s mad scientist.

Lang, long recognized as one of the early giants of German cinema, is also famous for his 1931 psycho-thriller proto-noir film M, which features Peter Lorre as a tormented child killer. In 1933 his anti-Nazi film The Testament of Dr. Mabuse was banned by Nazi Minister of Information Joseph Goebbels for endangering the public order. Lang eventually ended up in Hollywood where he subsequently directed such films as the crime drama Fury (1936), starring Spencer Tracy, and a follow-up to his own Mabuse, entitled The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960). He died in 1976 at the age of 85.

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