Metropolis, considered by some to be the greatest Science Fiction film of all time, is truly a tribute to the imaginations of director Fritz Lang, and author Thea Von Harbou.
It is a tale that mixes Norse mythology with Biblical Prophecy to give a glimpse to what was perceived then, as a possible future for our society.
It is thrilling because of the breathtaking imagery. The set design pays homage to the Art Deco designs of the 1920s. The miniatures used for the city scape are incredibly detailed. If one looks at the film from a cinematography stand point, you have to conclude that this movie was years ahead of its time.
The movie is chilling because of its interpretation of the future of our society. That interpretation being lack of concern for one's fellow man.
Futura, or the false Maria, is probably one of the most recognized icons in Science Fiction today.
Freder: The newly enlightened son of Joh Fredersen. He has lived a life of privileged bliss, not having to work, just to play away life, seeking anything and everything his heart desires.
The introduction of the pure Maria in his life changed
Futura, the perfect pawn gone wrong. She was supposed to sow discord among the workers of Metropolis disguised as Maria, a teacher of peace. Instead, she malfunctioned, becoming an instrument of death and destruction. She brought about an incredible crisis, the likes of which the inhabitants of Metropolis, both above and below ground had ever known!
all that. Never had he realized what life in the big city truly meant. His eyes are opened to the plight of those who make his carefree life possible, along with the other sons of the elite. He sees his father for what he truly is, and does not like what he sees.
Maria: The preacher of peace and understanding. She leads the workers in believing that a mediator will come to Metropolis and bridge the gap between them, the hands, and Joh Fredersen, the brain.
She is gentle and demure. Her outward appearance pales in
comparison to her inner beauty.
Joh Fredersen: The most powerful man in Metropolis. He controls the life pulse of Metropolis with an iron will and stone heart. The workers below ground are right where they should be
in his scheme of the world. The lives lost in industrial accidents below the surface of the great city are just a necessary part of life. The needs and safety of the workers mean nothing to the power obssesed Joh Fredersen. They are but cogs in a great machine.
Rotwang: The mad, but brilliant scientist. He has never gotten over the loss of his greatest love, Hel, to Joh Fredersen. His brilliance is unquestionable, but his sanity is.
He has both hatred and an unexplained dedication to Joh Fredersen. One feels sympathy for this lost soul who can not say no to the Master of Metropolis.
Josephat: The former head secretary to Joh Fredersen. He experienced the indiscriminate iron fist of Fredersen when he was fired without just cause. His life was shattered at that point, his career and life now a failure. He would have commited suicide had it not been for the quick intervention of Freder.
Now Josephat has a new purpose and hope. Freder's quest has become his quest: to bring understanding between the hands (workers) and the brain (Fredersen). Will the cause be successful?
Slim: The quiet, but intimidating henchman of Joh Fredersen. He has no purpose other than the clandestine biddings of Fredersen. He is the hired thug, if you will.
Grot: The foreman. He is the head of the workers, and he answers to Fredersen directly. Although he goes to the top of the Fredersen builiding to report to Joh Fredersen, he is not allowed to see the sunlight in Frederen's office. His place is ultimately with the workers, in the depths of the underground workers city.
Metropolis: The summit of human acheivement. The city that shines as a beacon to the world. The skyscape is unparalled. The Fredersen Building, the most prominent structure in Metropolis, stands as a sceptre for the Master of Metropolis. It is a crowning acheivement for the man known as the true power of Metropolis, Joh Fredersen.
The city has its power plants generating power below the streets in underground facilities maintained by the workers of Metropolis. They rarely, if at all, see sunlight. The days consist of 20 hours, 10 on duty, 10 off, with no time for a break. They live broken lives. There is no room for leisure time. Their bleak lives are spent in a gray world where no one knows your name, just your employee number.
Thanks and Notations:
Title illustration based on the Michael Kaluta cover of the novel Metropolis, by Thea Von Harbou. Published by the Donning Company/Publishers, 1988.
This page is dedicated to the film Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang, screenplay by Thea Von Harbou.
Thanks to: Georgio Moroder, for saving the film from obscurity;
Fritz Lang, for being a cinematic visionary;
Thea Von Harbou, for giving us an original science fiction classic;
My wife, for being my editor;
Heath Florkey, for his help in obtaining a Moroder version.
My parents, for teaching me about good movies.
The rock band Genesis, for great music.
Special thanks to Aitam Bar-Sagi, for his support and assistance.
*This website is graphic intensive, but well worth the wait!
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