The classic dystopian sci-fi movie Metropolis
almost single-handedly set the template for science fiction to come. Fritz Lang's magnum opus, with its colossally complex sets, Big Brother-style factory, flying zeppelins and sinister android activity, paved the way for such genre classics as Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner
, George Lucas’s Star Wars
and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil
(not to mention the video for Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” directed by David Fincher). The most expensive picture of its day, with a cast of 36,000 and a budget of five million Reichsmarks (the equivalent of over $200,000,000 in today's money), Lang’s original cut received mixed reviews and poor box office sales following its 1927 premiere in the midst of the glamour and decadence of Weimar-era Berlin. Paramount cut it down to a more commercial length for American audiences that year, and the rest was assumed lost on the cutting room floor. Discovered more than 80 years later (via the archives of an Argentinian producer who bought the rights to screen the film shortly after its premiere), it has now been restored, in all its art deco glory to as close to Lang’s original as is possible, the newly found footage plugging narrative holes and filling out a handful of characters, without dulling the film’s extraordinary power. After its theatrical run, Metropolis
will get a DVD and Blu-Ray release in late 2010.
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