Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Metropolis Review


Fig 1. Metropolis Poster

Metropolis is undoubtedly one of the most iconic films in history being one of the first films to put to use many interesting camera effects that hadn’t before been seen and using hundreds of models on the large sets to give people the impression of a busy and bustling city. The movie itself took over a year to film due to the need to get authentic looking shots and because of Fritz Lang’s high expectations of the actors.

Fig 2. Freder in the Garden

The storyline of this movie is one that has been seen repeated throughout the decades since its release. It is essentially the story of two opposing factions who are bought together through the love of one person of each faction. In this case we have the story told using a Marxist theme and the two factions being the upper class and the workers who are slaves for them. From the upper class however we have Freder who falls in love with a teacher who is a part of the working class called Maria. (C.Smithey) Freder goes searching for Maria only to discover the inhuman working conditions in the city’s giant underground boiler room. He witnesses an explosion that kills many workers and watches as many more are systematically murdered. Freder reports back to his father, who in turn questions Rotwang, the mad inventor responsible for creating the city’s colossal power-driving machine. In a crucial subplot, Rotwang is busy creating a machine-human incarnation of Freder’s mother who, coincidentally looks exactly like Maria.’ The movie progresses and we see the robot Maria sowing seeds of havoc among both the upper class and the workers, convincing the workers that they should destroy the machines and making the upperclass fight each other for her affections. Eventually there is a revolution that is thwarted by the real Maria, Freder and a friend of his called Josaphat.

Fig 3. Tower of Babel

The city that the film is titled for was made using a combination of drawings and models, most of the background art being drawings and everything in the foreground and everything that moves being miniature models that were made for the masterpiece. Actors were transposed onto these sets using a technique called the Sch├╝fftan process which involved using mirrors. (A. Quinn) ‘Its tale of two cities – one for the rich and leisured classes, the other an underground community of anonymous slave labour – is a nightmarish projection of humanity forced to operate as machines, a fate which a hero (Gustav Frolich) and heroine (Brigitte Helm) must strive to avert.’ This of course means that the shining metropolis has a sister city, an underground city below it which is home to the workers that slave away to keep the metropolis running and working. The set design for the underground city was much darker and clustered, making you feel trapped and repressed.

Fig 4. Flooding Worker's City

Metropolis has been a huge influence on modern movies and you can see its themes reflected in many classics particularly those involving futuristic cities, repression and mad scientists. (D. Jardine) ‘Set around the apocalyptic year of 2000, Metropolis has had a seminal influence on science fiction and futuristic movies as diverse as The Bride of Frankenstein, Blade Runner, and Dark City.’ When I watched Metropolis I instantly saw where C-3PO, one of the most iconic Star Wars robots, was spawned from and I saw aspects of every single Indiana Jones movie when the workers district was flooding and there was a sense of urgency will they save everyone in time or won’t they? I also found I could see Corusant, a city planet
from Star Wars, reflected in the over city down to the bustling and business of everything.

All in all the film was enjoyable to watch with action and suspense that we see reflected in cinema to this day. Cleverly made with literally thousands of people acting in it the film was an amazing feat of cinema in 1927 which took over a year to make and despite the lost footage its story and ideas are still an inspiration today.

Bibliography

Images
Lang, F. Fig 1. Metropolis Poster (1927) http://images.posterjunction.com/Metropolis-movie-poster-1020433586.jpg Accessed on 03/10/14
Lang, F. Fig 2. Freder in the Garden (1927) https://janeaustenrunsmylife.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/metropolis07.jpg Accessed on 03/10/14
Lang, F. Fig 3. The Tower of Babel (1927) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/28/Metropolis-new-tower-of-babel.png Accessed on 03/10/14
Lang, F. Fig 4. Flooded Workers City (1927) http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r180/Samwanda/BLOG%20%20Metropolis/Metropolis120.gif Accessed on 03/10/14


1 comment:

  1. Hi Brem,

    This is a thoughtful review - well done :)

    Just a couple of pointers; when you reference the quote, the authors surname goes after the quote, along with the date, so for example,

    ‘Set around the apocalyptic year of 2000, Metropolis has had a seminal influence on science fiction and futuristic movies as diverse as The Bride of Frankenstein, Blade Runner, and Dark City.’ (Jardine, 2010)

    Then in the bibliography, the names are listed in alphabetical order. Just double-check in the referencing guide, as to exactly what needs to be in italics in your bibliography and image list, here-
    http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/Harvard-Referencing

    You have also, for the most part, managed to keep the tone of the writing academic-sounding, by writing in the 3rd person rather than the 1st... just towards the end, you switch to using 'I'. Try and avoid this; for example you write,

    'When I watched Metropolis I instantly saw where C-3PO, one of the most iconic Star Wars robots, was spawned from and I saw aspects of every single Indiana Jones movie when the workers district was flooding and there was a sense of urgency...'

    'When the audience watches Metropolis, it becomes clear where C-3PO, one of the most iconic Star Wars robots, was spawned from and aspects of every single Indiana Jones movie can be recognised, for example when the workers district was flooding and there was a sense of urgency...'

    Looking forward to reading your next review! :)

    ReplyDelete