Metropolis (1927)

  • The characters of Grot (Heinrich George) & Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) look exactly like their names sound.
  • Went into this not expecting to enjoy or understand it at all…and was pleasantly surprised. (I was about to finish that with “but I wouldn’t ever want to watch it again”…but I think I might, so I could solely focus on the artfulness & shot compositions of the movie, without being preoccupied by trying to follow the plot.) (It’s interesting that with movies like CHINATOWN (1974) & CITIZEN KANE (1941), my first viewing resulted in me losing plot points because I was distracted by the visual compositions being created on screen – whereas with this one, I felt like I kept missing the beauty of the shots because I was distracted by the complicated plot. I wonder if this means METROPOLIS had less overwhelmingly perfect visuals…? I’m leaning towards yes.)
  • The combined effect of the lighting & camera angles is incredible. The way Lang plays with shadows and contrasting, repeating forms is stunning.
  • The scenes where Fake Maria (Brigitte Helm) is leading the charge to destroy all of the machines would be pretty badass if you didn’t know she was actually evil.
  • I don’t fully understand the relationship between Josephcakes (Theodor Loos), Freder (Gustav Fröhlich), & Georgy (Erwin Biswanger). I feel like the movie wanted to show that they were “the closest of bros” or some such relationship…but really, it played like they miiiiiight be a romantic threesome, from time to time. I mean – definitely Josefcakes & Freder – they almost made out like 12 times. (Maybe Georgy was just their flavor of the week? Sad, because that ended up being the flavor of DEAD.)
  • The special effects are super impressive. I’d be impressed with them today – so I can only imagine how they played in 1927.
  • All of the cityscapes & the angles at which they’re shot are fucking amazing.
  • I know if I went back & watched it again, a lot more great shots would stand out to me – but this time around, I loved the first overhead shot of Real Maria on the gong pedestal, where the kids start running in from bottom edge of the screen. Then, a couple seconds later, you get a shot of Maria on the pedestal, where the view is Maria level & you see hands grasping at her from below. That was an awesome one, too.
  • Speaking of which: At some point during that flood sequence, all other thoughts left my head besides the words “so many goddamn children”, which played on repeat in there for at least a full minute.
  • I’m still not really sure why Josephcakes (yes, yes – I know the character’s name is really Josaphat) gets fired in the beginning (though at the time it seemed like he was really inept & maybe a slacker in the initiative department) – but he certainly comes through & seems to have loads of integrity there at the end, so…who knows?
  • I have a couple of complaints: the storytelling is a bit too frenetic, and there doesn’t seem to be enough quiet built into the musical score. Also, I think there should have been more title cards towards the beginning. That would have been helpful, during certain early moments.
  • I love how when all hell is breaking lose during the flood, the question arises: What productive, important things are the parents doing while their children are swimming through the apocalypse? And then they show the parents just tralalaing in a circle. That. Is hilarious.
  • Also, right after that when Grot’s like, “Where are your children?!?!” And they’re all like “ohhh…shit.”
  • Let’s pause for a second & chat about TITANIC (1997). The flood scenes here remind me so much of the ship-is-sinking scenes from that movie. The poor children trapped below, trying to get through the locked gate? Uh, yeah. So similar. Also: Kate & Leo’s hairstyles in TITANIC remind me of Freder & Maria’s in this. ALSO! There is a fascination with hands (close-up shots, scenes where the action by a character’s hands is somehow vastly unique & important) that prevails in both. Interesting.
  • Meanwhile, back in “The Movie Is Still Happening” world…Let’s throw it to Fake Maria, who’s like “LET’S HAVE A LANTERN PARTY Y’ALL!!!”

(You go, Fake Maria! All Real Maria does is run away from people and ring bells, and it’s kinda lame.)

  • A lot of the semi-still shots involving architecture remind me of de Chirico paintings.
  • Grot’s a goddamn champ, you guys. He saves everyone like 30 times. All the action keeps coming to a head, and all of the people start to lose their shit, and Grot just goes, “Everyone chill – I grot this.”
  • Hahaha. I grot this. HAAAAAAA.
  • Last thing, on the Grot front – in that final scene, he totally pulls a Ron Swanson & stores his hands in his pants. Something tells me Grot & Ron Swanson would really get along.

(…I mean, right?!)

  • Ps: Watching this so soon after watching BLADE RUNNER (1982) was totally an accident. But while we’re on the subject: Yes, I would choose METROPOLIS over BLADE RUNNER 100 out of 100 times. For sure.
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