Fritz Lang: The cinematic genius behind the film. He was the director that you didn't want to work for; he was an iron- willed perfectionist. One scene, where Freder was to kiss Maria for the first time, took three days to shoot. The scene only lasted a few moments, yet it is because of this perfectionism that he was able to make Metropolis the cinematic masterpiece that it is.
Fritz Lang did nothing small. The movie sets were incredible in scope, right down to the miniatures used to illustrate the monumental size of the city. One can not watch Metropolis and not be amazed at the scale which the director uses to tell the tale.
Lang directed many more films, but none to the scope of Metropolis.
Thea Von Harbou: The author of both the screen play and the novel on which it was based. The book, in my opinion was a work of unparalled imagination. Her insight into the future was remarkable.
Fritz Lang had this to say, "I didn't like Metropolis after I finished it because I didn't think in those days a social question could be solved with something as simple as the line, 'The mediator between the brain (capital) and hand (working class) must be the heart.' Yet today, when you speak with young people about what they miss in the computer-guided establishment, the answer is always: 'The heart!' So, probably the scenarist Mrs. Thea Von Harbou had foresight and therefore was right and I was wrong." (Metropolis, The Donning Company/ Publishers, 1988) Although she authored several books and screen plays in her day, Metropolis is the best known. It was this book that gave her a place as one of the best early writers in Science Fiction history.
Giorgio Moroder: The one time sultan of 70's disco became an icon of the music industry in the 80's with his work on Flashdance and Midnight Express. It was during the early part of the 80's that he began a work on restoring Metropolis that ended up saving it from forgotten obscurity. It also gave the film a prolific cult following.
The film was restored as close to the original story line as possible. It was then tinted in sepia tones, giving it a new level of mood that it previously did not have. A soundtrack was then added. The soundtrack was performed by several popular 80's singers, such as Freddie Mercury, Billy Squire, and Bonnie Tyler. Some may argue that the modern music took away from the film. I disagree. One only needs to listen to the lyrics to see that the music simply reflects what we are watching.
This is the version of Metropolis that hooked me. I was blown away by the special effects, not bad for 1926, and the scale at which the movie was filmed. Moroder simply highlighted the genius of Fritz Lang; he did not detract from the film in any way.
I had seen a couple of the unrestored versions only to be left a little disappointed at the degree of deterioration of the quality of the film. Moroder's version showed me what the rest of the world and I had been missing.
Lang directing Rotwang's character during a scene of Maria's captivity.
Time for a fluid break. What's with the blow dryer?