I watched the Kino Video version of Metropolis last night and I have to say that it is one of the best film restorations I’ve ever seen. The quality of this version of Metropolis rivals a lot of the Criterion Collection DVDs I’ve watched. For a movie made in 1927, the print was super-crisp (almost too crisp, if that is possible). In addition to the great quality, this version claims to be the most complete version of the film and even where the original negatives have been lost (so as to create missing scenes), the creators of the restoration included brief textual explanations about the missing sequences.
As for the film itself, I wish I wouldn’t have waited to long to watch it. I mentioned the Time magazine “9 Great Movies From Nine Decades” during my review of Bad Education, and while Talk To Her was the most recent (for 2000s), Metropolis was the first (for 1920s). Apparently that article has been on my mind lately.
Anyway, I totally understand why Metropolis would make the list — the movie was brilliant.
From my understanding, the lasting legacy of Metropolis has been its dystopian vision of the future, but I think the social and feminist themes it raises are also worthy of praise. This was quite a progressive film — and if I can be saying that in 2005, I wonder how it was received in 1927. (Perhaps it is more shocking now since, in my opinion, we have, in many ways, become more conservative in the past 20 years or so — maybe in 1927 people expected films to be more artistic and abstract and tackle philosophical and political issues…)
I definitely want to watch the film again, preferably with commentary. Since the film is silent, I can imagine that having people talk during it would help keep my attention — though I will say that the score for this film is quite gripping, and I am fairly certain that John Williams ripped off a few of the musical themes for Star Wars.
Sometimes when I watch these old “classic” movies, I do so with a little resentment — why should I have to watch such and such film if I want to consider myself to be someone who really appreciates good film. And why should I believe some old critics as to what makes good film and take their recommendations seriously since they tend to hate films I love such as Doom Generation and Lost Highway (okay, I guess some critics do like Lost Highway, but hopefully my point remains…). With Metropolis, I must admit that the critics and history of film criticism are correct — this is a great, must-see, important, artistic film.