Discovering a classic

Late Sunday night I was flipping through my basic cable channels and I stumbled across a movie I’ve been meaning to see for awhile. As a huge movie fan I pride myself in the extent of my “have seen list” but there are a few key movies that I’m ashamed I haven’t gotten around to yet. Some of the big ones on my “have not seen list” include Weekend at Bernie’s 1 (I’ve seen 2), The Wizard of Oz (Yes I’m serious), and up until Sunday: Metropolis.

Metropolis (1927) is about an increasing divide between two distinct social groups in the year 2026: the thinkers and the workers. The thinkers who live in the upper areas of the world survive with the most extreme forms of luxury, and barely know of anything outside their lives. While the workers toil in the lower areas, closer to the earth and living the most meager of existences. One day the idealistic son of leader of the city treks to the worker’s hub and personally witnesses the straining of the established infrastructure, and the preparations for revolution.

I’m not going to give away the ending, only that it involves an angelic prophet, robot deception, and an almost apocalyptic ending to the city.

For a silent, black and white film Metropolis is a completely enjoyable experience compared to most of the time period. The visuals are stunning and really push the limits of technology of the time. The story is choke full of symbolism and forethought, so much so it almost hints that each scene was carefully planed out to reflect a socialistic then anti-socialistic message.

The budget for this movie was so large that it nearly bankrupted the studio that produced it, and by now-a-days standards would cost close to two hundred million. Some of the most visually outstanding scenes in the movie made good use of an army of 37,000+ extras. The near apocalyptic end to the city of Metropolis is beautifully framed by large explosions, and torrential rising waters which is incredibly uncharacteristic for film of the time.

This film has meant so much to so many that it is said that everyone involved in the production had their careers skyrocket in the days of the film’s release. It is also believed to have inspired the modern science fiction flick. Without Metropolis there would be no Robot Monster, Star Wars, Star Trek, or even Firefly.

The film has survived 81 years, two restorations, and a hand full of re releases and I’m just seeing it now? I’m always late to the party…

I just saw “In Bruges” today, and it was fantastic. If you ever get a chance to see it, you should. The medieval city of Bruges, Irish hit men, and a little person = A damn good movie.

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2 responses to “Discovering a classic

  1. I only saw Metropolis a few years ago myself and was lucky to see it on a big screen.

    Re: In Bruges–you had me at little person.

  2. I have a Metropolis postcard at my desk here at work.

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