Directed by the legendary Fritz Lang, “Metropolis” is probably the first science fiction movie ever made. With huge sets, thousands of extras, and first rate special effects (considering it was made in the 20’s), it’s hard not to admire this truly wonderful film. Yet one of the most interesting things about it is the fact that it was a huge box-office disaster at the time of its release. The subject was controversial back then, and it almost ruined the studio. The story is about a young rich kid, Freder Frederson, son of the Master of Metropolis, who becomes concerned about the way the society is run by his father. He lives in the “Pleasure Garden”, high above the level of the workers, and he worries about what would happen if the huge number of workers were to turn against his father, given the horrible conditions in which they live and work. But that’s just the beginning, and to reveal more about the story would be unthinkable! Suffice it to say that director Fritz masterfully portrays this extremely complex story using limited dialogue, and the result is still fascinating today. The special effects were way ahead of its time, and perhaps the reason why such movies as “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Star Wars” (C-3PO was inspired by the robot in this film) and “Blade Runner” were made in the first place. Another interesting point is that for years, a quarter of the film was believed to be lost. However, the discovery of a negative copy of the original print took place in Argentina in 2008. Examining the reels, film experts realised that they contained almost all of the missing sequences! After 80 years, the film is now complete.
“Metropolis” is one of the richest fantasy films ever made. It is the pinnacle of German Expressionism, astonishing in every detail, and a wonderful achievement for one of the most influential directors of all time, Fritz Lang.