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Tony Grist

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Wells And Metropolis [Apr. 18th, 2011|01:28 pm]
Tony Grist
In my last post I fleetingly referred to H.G. Wells's opinion of Metropolis. Since then sovay  has very kindly pointed me to the actual review. It's a hatchet job.

I haven't seen Metropolis in about 40 years, but it's one of those films that stay with you. I agree with Wells. Metropolis is a damn silly film- with its stupid plot and mash-up of elements plagiarised from Capek, Griffith, Mary Shelley and Wells himself- but it's silly the way that dreams are silly- and movies are allowed to be more like dreams than novels are; it matters less that they should make sense or have a coherent argument. The images- if they're strong enough- by-pass logic. Yes, every single point Wells makes is pretty much on the money- but there's no way- once you've seen them-  you get to scrub those images from your brain. 
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: xiphias
2011-04-18 01:11 pm (UTC)
If you haven't seen Metropolis in 40 years, you should see it again. The version you saw would have been about 90 minutes, out of its original running time of about 150 minutes. By 2001, they found enough to restore about 125 minutes.

With that much extra footage, the plot actually makes sense and is coherent. Especially when they found notes explaining what happened in the final, still missing scenes.

And then, in 2008, they found a photo-negative of the actual, full film.

The ACTUAL film has an actual plot, characters, narrative, and makes sense. The film you saw IS the same one Wells saw, and the one Wells wrote the review about -- because the cut to 90 minutes happened for foreign distribution.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-04-18 02:18 pm (UTC)
I probably saw it at university- and in a fairly battered, degraded copy. You're right; I need to seek out the restored version.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2011-04-18 03:51 pm (UTC)
You're right; I need to seek out the restored version.

It's absolutely beautiful.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-04-18 04:09 pm (UTC)
When I was at university- an awful long time ago- a friend and I ran a "silent film society". We got to see some amazing things.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2011-04-18 02:48 pm (UTC)
I saw Metropolis a month ago [the fully restored 150 minute version], in a special after-hours showing in the Wanamaker Grand Court. The Wanamaker organist, Peter Richard Conte, improvised based on the original score for all 2-1/2 hours without letup. He told me afterward he had a friend standing by with coconut milk, which he sipped through a straw periodically to keep up his energy.

He had to play a funeral the next day, which was very much on his mind so there was some serious Dies Irae in the improv.

I know the audio was recorded, but don't know if it will be available. His playing was so inspired that you could completely lose yourself in the film.

Edited at 2011-04-18 03:02 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-04-18 04:04 pm (UTC)
That sounds great.

As they keep reminding us, the silents never were silent.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2011-04-18 02:57 pm (UTC)
P.S. The restored Metropolis is available as streaming video from Netflix.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-04-18 04:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip.
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[User Picture]From: endlessrarities
2011-04-25 02:16 pm (UTC)
You must admit - Robot Maria is a pretty slinky looking robot...

I liked the jazzed-up Georgio Moroder version with the rock sountrack, but you can't get that on DVD because it's just not cool:-(

The bulging eyes-school of acting is quite bizarre, too. And the sets remind me of our dear old munitions factory, which is probably not at all surprising.
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