MetropolisWritten by: Thea von Harbou | Directed by: Fritz Lang

Maria… Brigette Helm
Freder Fredersen… Gustav Fröhlich
Joh Fredersen… Alfred Abel
Rotwang… Rudolf Klein-Rogge

Genre: Science Fiction, Futurist

MARIA: Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a Mediator, and this must be the heart.

In the year 2026, the city of Metropolis is home to a Utopian society in which wealthy residents live a carefree life. One of those fortunate souls is Freder Fredersen, who one day happens to spot a beautiful woman with a group of children. Smitten, he watches her and is surprised to see that she and the children quickly disappear. Intrigued, he soon finds himself underground, where he is horrified to discover a hidden world of workers, who run the machinery that keeps the world he knows functioning, and to whom he – and, indeed, everyone – are entirely oblivious.

Why It’s Must-See: A visual delight, and an astounding legacy to Lang’s talent and aspiration, Metropolis is a mad, mesmerizing masterpiece way ahead of its time, and the foundation stone for any science fiction fan.

Romance Factor: Pretty high – this is very much a love story.

Box Office: While figures from that far back are estimates at best, the film was accounted a commercial failure, almost bankrupting its production company.

Critical Reception: H. G. Wells called it “quite the silliest film.”

Influence: C3-PO was modelled after the robotic “False Maria”; Superman’s city got its name here,; and the design of dozens of films, across multiple genres, hearken back to this early progenitor, including but not limited to Blade Runner,  Brazil and Tim Burton’s Batman.

Notable Merchandise: It is believed that only four original film posters still exist. When one came up for sale in 2004, it fetched US$690,000.

On the Page: A serialized version of Thea von Harbou’s novel Metropolis was published in 1925, when filming was already underway, with the complete novel released in 1926.

Did You Know? The production employed 37,000 extras. 37,000!

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About the author

KIM SORENSEN

Kim Sorensen is the Comics Editor of Geek Speak Magazine. She's been an avid fan since she stole her older brothers' X-Men comics in childhood. She is on a quest to discover the island of Themyscira, and develop psychic powers. If you know the answers to either of these pursuits please let her know on Twitter: @mskimsorensen.

  • Rachel Hyland

    METROPOLIS as a love story… I’ll admit to never having seen it that way before. But, yes! Makes the whole thing even more poignant…