Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. Germany, 1927. Universum Film. Screenplay by Thea von Harbou, based on her novel. Cinematography by Karl Freund, Gunther Rittau, Walter Ruttmann. Produced by Erich Pommer. Music by Gottfried Huppertz, Bernd Schultheis. Production Design by Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut, Karl Vollbrecht. Costume Design by Aenne Willkomm.
Milestone chapter in science-fiction film history, about a futuristic city run by mass human labour and devoid of individualistic passion. When a woman decides to lead a revolt, she and a group of Workers (the people who do everything but can’t make decisions) decide to invade the intellectual world of the Thinkers (the people who decide everything but don’t get involved) and allow human nature to overtake a forced and unreal social control. Massive sets and haunting photography are what are most impressive, not to mention a subversive message. The film has made a lasting icon of the late actress Brigitte Helm, and many of its most memorable images have become pop-culture staples. In 1984 Metropolis was re-released with a rock music score laid over the soundtrack to complement the visual action, and was done so to moderate success; while fitting to the film, sometimes the song selections can get too noisy and headache-inducing. Either version, though, makes for excellent viewing.