Review of a Movie You've Never Seen

Posted by Holly Hoodrat , Monday, May 10, 2010 1:18 AM

Hey you want to be the envy of all your friends? Do you want to throw down an indie trump at the upcoming summer block party? 

It's time to get into silent films.

While not THE first science fiction movie,
(That title goes to this)

I think Metropolis can be considered the first groundbreaking movie in science fiction. Filmed in 1927 and set in a bleak, dystopian future, Metropolis takes the then blossoming idea of the class wars and presents it in a striking, horrifying melodrama.

Atop his "New Tower of Babel" the founder of Metropolis, John Fredersen, watches his glittering future-city sprawled out beneath him at the same time as his son is exploring the underground of Metropolis in hopes of finding out how the other half lives. Daddy's little socialist.

Freder is horrified when he witnesses a factory explosion and it triggers a series of bizarre visions that include "Moloch" the deity to which the workers are sacrificed, seeing himself crucified to a clock and this-

I think opium was still en vogue at the time.

While underground Freder falls in love with the vision that is Maria as she is telling the workers the story of the Tower of Babel. She explains that they must wait for "the mediator" to unite the workers and the "planners"; hand, heart and mind.

She's probably really great with animals too. 

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the factory explosion, Fredersen has discovered plans involving maps of the city in the pockets of the dead workers.

Damn straight.

Fredersen hires mad scientist, Rotwang, to kidnap Maria and turn his "machine man" into her likeness in order to implant suspicion and distrust amongst the workers. However, Rotwang hates Fredersen (because of a girl or something) and has some ulterior motives up his sleeve. He gives the robot Maria's body and turns her loose upon the city. Things get sexual. Men kill themselves from the sheer insanity of it. 


The workers leave their stations and the city eventually floods, killing all of the workers children. They come to the logical conclusion that it is the sex goddess, Maria's fault and burn her at the stake.
The End.

No, not really. Freder and the real Maria rescue the children and robot Maria turns back into Hel the robot. And Freder throws Rotwang off a building. Maria and Freder unite Fredesen and Grot (the leader of the workers) thus turning themselves into the mediators. Think more Max Weber, less Karl Marx.

The special effects in this movie blew my mind. Not what I was expecting at all. To call it "sweeping" is an understatement. Director Fritz Lang used roughly 38,000 extras in the production. There are about 11 different versions of the film because so much footage has been lost and found over the years, but do yourself a favor and get a version that uses the original score and not the version released in 1984 featuring Pat Benetar and Freddie Mercury. Not really what we're going for here.

My favorite part has got to be the robot, Hel

Why am I so attracted to this robot?

You need to have a decent amount of patience to get all the way through this. It is a silent film after all and it can drag at times. Also, the dramatic overacting can be a bit much at times but that was the style of the time. Stage actors transitioning to film and whatnot. 

So set aside 200 minutes or so and watch a great movie. Or just repeat this information at the next gathering you attend and watch as you become the coolest person in the room.

Related Material:
 Books-The Jungle, The Great Gatsby, The Time Machine
Movies- 2001: A Space Odyssey, Fantastic Planet, Blade Runner
Music- Bix Beiderbecke, Woody Guthrie, Dead Kennedys 
Art- Lee Lawrie, Pierre-Felix Fix-Masseau

2 Response to "Review of a Movie You've Never Seen"

Sierra Says:

great post! i'm loving your blog so far!

i recognize that picture of the moon from reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It's a great book, i'm sure you'll love it! I don't want to spoil it though, so you'll just have to read it.

And i just finished Gatsby :)

Holly Hoodrat Says:

Thank you! I'll have to check that book out. The picture is actually from "A Trip to the Moon" a French science fiction film from 1902. Thanks for the recommendation!

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