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Continuing on with my viewing habits ("Documentary"), I would be remiss if I failed to note I have watched a few non-documentary films lately as well.

One movie, in particular, is worth mentioning..."Metropolis."  Why is this film noteworthy? 

  • It's in German
  • It's a silent movie, so it doesn't matter that it's in German
  • The title cards are in English, so it REALLY doesn't matter it's in German
  • It's a long film by today's standard...2.5 hours
  • It contains special effects you wouldn't think possible in 1927
  • It's regarded as one of the better movies of all time

It's this last point that caught my attention.  Produced in 1927, the film appears on a variety "Top Movie" lists, especially those that look beyond American film.  Furthermore, it's an early Science Fiction-type movie, a genre I enjoy.  So, I watched it.

At first I was a little leery.  I'm not sure I've ever sat through an entire silent movie, not even Chaplin.  And, in fact, it did take a little time to get accustomed to the experience.  However, I suppose it wasn't any different than viewing a foreign-language film with sub-titles.  In no time your brain adapts.

Soon I was engrossed in the story, the imagery, even the score.  The actors and actresses were absolutely compelling (especially the lead actress, Brigitte Helm, pictured above), and the special effects, imagery and scope of the film were pretty astounding, all things considered.

The film is hard to describe.  Perhaps part 1984 (the book), part Willie Wonka, and part Frankenstein.  Wikipedia describes it thusly:

Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist film in the science-fiction genre directed by Fritz Lang. Produced in Germany during a stable period of the Weimar Republic, Metropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia and makes use of this context to explore the social crisis between workers and owners in capitalism. The film was produced in the Babelsberg Studios by Universum Film A.G. (UFA). The most expensive silent film ever made, it cost approximately 5 million Reichsmark.

All in all, Metropolis was a unique movie experience for me, and if you find yourself with 2.5 hours to spare and a Netflix account, I highly recommend this movie.

More Info: In 2008, a 16mm negative of the complete movie, containing 25 minutes of unseen footage, was found in Argentina.  The film was restored, and re-premiered in 2010.  Here is the trailer for this new, definitive edition: