10 January 1927

Fritz Lang’s futuristic film Metropolis is released in Germany

“Metropolis” is a classic German expressionist science-fiction film directed by Fritz Lang. Released in 1927, it is one of the most iconic and influential films in the history of cinema. The screenplay was written by Lang and his wife, Thea von Harbou.

The film is set in a dystopian future where society is sharply divided between the wealthy elite who live in luxury above ground and the oppressed working class who toil in harsh conditions below ground to operate the vast machinery that sustains the city. The narrative follows Freder Fredersen, the son of the city’s ruler, Joh Fredersen, who becomes aware of the harsh conditions faced by the workers. Freder decides to explore the depths of the city to understand their plight and discovers the rebellious Maria, who becomes a pivotal figure in the struggle for social justice.

One of the most notable aspects of “Metropolis” is its groundbreaking and visually stunning production design. The film’s art direction, led by Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut, and Karl Vollbrecht, created a futuristic and grandiose cityscape with towering skyscrapers, expansive sets, and intricate special effects for the time. The film’s visuals have left an indelible mark on the science fiction genre and continue to influence filmmakers to this day.

“Metropolis” is also known for its pioneering use of special effects and innovative filmmaking techniques. The use of miniatures, matte paintings, and other visual effects was groundbreaking for its time and added to the film’s epic and otherworldly atmosphere.

Despite its visual brilliance, “Metropolis” faced challenges upon its initial release due to its length and complex narrative. The film was heavily edited, and significant portions were removed, leading to confusion among audiences. Over the years, efforts have been made to restore and reconstruct the film to its original form, and various versions have been released.

While “Metropolis” was not an immediate commercial success, it has since gained recognition and acclaim for its artistic and cinematic achievements. It is considered a landmark in the history of science fiction cinema and a timeless classic that continues to be studied and celebrated for its contributions to filmmaking and storytelling.