Friday, February 26, 2010

Photoblogging Friday - 8

It's Friday, and that means more Photoblogging Friday. Well, in this case, movie still Friday as we celebrate the premiere of the newest version of a classic: Fritz Lang's Metropolis.
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This 1927 silent classic has seen its share of comebacks. The original release premiered in Berlin at 153 minutes long. But then the Americans got hold of it and chopped the film down, simplifying (and confusing) the story line and themes. Additionally, if reports can be believed, many movie houses showed the film at the wrong speed -- showing the film at the new sound standard to 24 frames per second instead of the silent standard of 16 frames per second. This same silly mistake still takes place all the time when silent footage is used in modern documentaries.

In 2001 a restoration attempt for Metropolis was made by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung and the result was screed the following year at the Berlin International Film Festival. The running time was 124 minutes as much of the original material remained missing.

But miracle of miracles, an early 16mm copy of the film was discovered in an archive of the Museum of Cinema in Buenos Aires, Argentina and an additional 25 minutes of film could be added to the 2001 restoration. This version of Metropolis was screened outside in Berlin last week as part of this year's Berlin Film Festival. We look forward to yet another DVD release to follow.