Metropolis Screening Today With Extra Footage -- And St. Louisans Can See it, Too, Maybe
Today, February 12, is a historic day for film buffs. Valentine's Day, starring 21 semi-famous people, has arrived in theaters! Never before have so many semi-famous actors been assembled in a single film! Oh, wait, sorry. That's not right.
Ahem. Fritz Lang's film Metropolis, long considered a masterpiece of cinema (that's cinema, people, not mere movies) has recently been restored with an hour and a half of extra footage previously assumed to be lost. Roger Ebert writes on his blog, "This is one of the the most important film archival discoveries in history, as surprising as if the missing ending of "The Magnificent Ambersons" were found."
Normally St. Louis would be in the very last wave of a re-release like this. But through the miracle of technology, two websites will be streaming Metropolis as it's screened in a theater in Berlin. That would be 1:15 here. Only problem is, neither streaming site does has North American rights. (The German one is here, the French one here.)
But, as the ever-optimistic Ebert says, "You can try." After all, it's the Friday before a holiday weekend. It's not like you were going to get much work done anyway.
Completed in Germany in 1926, Metropolis was the first great science-fiction movie and remains the inspiration for every urban dystopia that has been released since. It was also the Avatar of its day, large and expensive and full of groundbreaking special effects. (No 3-D, though. Or sound.)
After Lang handed his cut to the studio, however, distributors and censors chopped it up so badly that the story made no sense. Film scholars convinced themselves that logic was secondary to the beauty of Lang's images and anyway, they had a novelization of the original story to fill in gaps in the plot.
Lang himself professed not to care after the movie became a big hit with the Nazis.
The movie has been restored before, most recently in 1984 when editors added color tinting, per Lang's original instructions, and a rock soundtrack, which was probably not something Lang had planned. That's the version you've most likely seen if you've taken a film history course.
But in the summer of 2008, a complete print of the film was discovered in a museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It took a while to clean it up and make it pretty. And now the world can see. The European part anyway.
If you have any luck getting the stream here, please let us know in the comments.