Talk:Metropolis (1927 film)

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Former good article Metropolis (1927 film) was one of the good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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References to use[edit]

Please add to the list references that can be used for the film article.
  • Abrams, Jerold J. (2007). "The Dialectic Enlightenment of Metropolis". In Sanders, Steven M. The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film. The Philosophy of Popular Culture. pp. 153–170. ISBN 0813124727. The composer Martin Matalon wrote a score to Metropolis in 1995; and he also made a 2011 version Safaribar (talk) 20:57, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

The year the film is set...[edit]

I just noticed that in the second paragraph of the Plot section of the article, it states the movie is set in the year 2000. I'm pretty sure there's at least one version of the movie that starts out stating that the events are set "100 years hence," or words to that effect, presumably meaning 100 years forward from the year the movie came out... which would set the movie around the year 2026 or 2027, not 2000. Is there anyone here that has that edition of the movie? I've only got one of the cheap, budget-bin, knock-off DVDs, not the DVD with the major restored version of the film. Where did that year 2000 reference come from? It is not attributed. Is it from the novel? An interview? One of the other editions of the movie? --Nomad Of Norad (talk) 05:33, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

In the 'major restored edition', no date is mentioned. I've seen some writers call it 2000, others 2026. I don't know where these come from.Cop 663 (talk) 13:25, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
This interview on WNYC states the film is set in 2026 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:57, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Plot lack of clarity[edit]

The 'plot' section begins with a paragraph explaining that there are different versions. It then recounts the plot. But it's not clear which version is being recounted: the reconstructed plot of the original premiere, the American rewrite, or something else. Someone familiar with the different versions should rewrite the opening paragraph to clarify this.Cop 663 (talk) 13:29, 19 May 2009 (UTC)


How were they able to collect such a large budget? Who paid for the movie?-- (talk) 10:38, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

UFA had done very well out of Lang's 'Nibelungen' films: he was bankable. And then 'Metrolpolis' essentially broke the company. Pfistermeister (talk) 18:30, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

The Mediator[edit]

I'm pretty sure that it should be: The mediator between the MIND and the hands should be the heart. That's what it was in the version we are studying for school (The one with only a quarter lost)-- (talk) 07:00, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Suspected vandalism.[edit]

there was a bit under "influences" that said "Jerry Seinfeld was Fritz's main inspiration when writing the screenplay of this 1927 film." This seemed to be clearly made up, since it didn't cite a source and is also impossible since Seinfeld wasn't born yet, so I deleted it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:47, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, that does appear like it is vandalism. Thanks for taking care of that. Backtable Speak to meconcerning my deeds. 08:06, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Attribution for plot synopsis[edit]

It seems the plot summary includes enough text from the Murnau foundation's 2002 release of the film as to constitute plagiarism. See ("Production" --> "Synopsis" on the Flash version of the site) for a comparison. A more complete attribution than what exists now ("The plot description given here corresponds to the 2002 version released by the F. W. Murnau Foundation, the most complete cut that is currently available to the public.") would seem appropriate and would avert more assertive charges of intellectual theft. Vheijde (talk) 20:11, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for pointing this out. I apologize for nobody seeing this earlier. I have removed the section as it is a copyright infringement and not compatible with our site's license. It is our goal to create a free encyclopedia that anyone can use and that means we must avoid using copyrighted material. We have automated systems that attempts to detect such copyright violations, however the bot is unable to see the content inside of a flash animation so it was unable to detect it. If you have any other concerns you can let me know here or on my talk page. Chillum 15:44, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
What about restoring an earlier version of the plot that wasn't based on the Kino site's synopsis? I did one several months ago, long before I even realized that Kino had a Web page; it was based on the 2002 version released by Murnau and didn't include details on any omitted scenes. Dr. Slide (talk) 13:55, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Copyright of stills[edit]

I note that a number of the stills used in this article are listed as copyright and used as fair use. Is this right? As the film is in the public domain, I would have thought any stills from it would likewise be public domain. Does the restoration work in recent DVD releases somehow render stills from them copyright? VoluntarySlave (talk) 13:32, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Public Domain? Definitely not. The Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation owns all rights in the movie. And even if they didn't, Fritz Lang is not yet dead for 70 years. The three main creative contributors (director, writer, composer) of a movie must be dead for over 70 years to qualify it as a work in the Public Domain. And I can assure you, the current owners of the rights will not tolerate any violations - the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation has the full legal support of the German government and the German movie industy, who are in charge of the organization. My suggestion: Don't touch it. You'd only burn your fingers. -- (talk) 17:43, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Slight correction on copyright. The duration of copyright varies from country to country. Golan v. Holder clearly stated "In the United States, that body of law includes the bedrock principle that works in the public domain remain in the public domain."--BruceGrubb (talk) 17:30, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
This may be more complicated since the stills may have been production stills, taken by a photographer on set for promotional purposes, rather than still frames from the movie. In that case, the copyright situation would be different ... but still difficult to work out, especially if you don't know who the photographer was and when he or she died. The suggestion to steer clear is clearly a good one. Delverie (talk) 10:30, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
More complicated by the fact that the federal court decision you quote was overturned on appeal to the 10 Circuit, and that was upheld on appeal to the US Supreme Court, in an opinion released January 18, 2012. Golan v Holder[1] Now the copyright expiration is determined by EU law, based upon death of the "authors". Lupinelawyer (talk) 20:43, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Plot mistakes[edit]

The current plot outline does not represent the film at all it is mostly inspired by the novel, it describes action which simply does not exist in the film (such as Hel's backstory, the name Parody, the fact that the robot is made from metal and crystal) Patrick R.W.A. R. (talk) 21:03, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't see a need for a long outline like that, and with spoilers too. DanielM (talk) 02:54, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
No need to worry about "spoiling" a film that premiered in the 1920s.
I removed the name "Parody" (and will remove the details of the Frederson-Hel liason and the metal/crystal), trimmed the plot a bit and also removed the nonsensical explanation of Fredersen's plans ("and then send her among the workers to start a riot so that he can have a cheap excuse to increase the hardship of their lives and thus get more money when they accept their fate as workers") - maybe that was taken from a cut version that made Fredersen's the brains behind the machine-man's creation but it never made any sense. Why should Fredersen be interested in riots, the workers are downtrodden enough already, his profits enough already. He wants to stifle any possibility of an uprising (as he has been warned about by his son) and so formenting a riot himself is completely ridiculous (not to think of the danger to his city). However, alienating the works from Maria (who he sees as a dangerous preacher) actually does make sense.
I think I will also restore the term "machine-man" instead of robot. Str1977 (talk) 13:36, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
'Machine-man' has the unfortunate effect of obscuring the female-ness of the robot's original design. The original German wasn't gender-specific. Pfistermeister (talk) 15:09, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
There are still a number of subjective opinions in the plot outline, best to avoid the flourishes. Where in the film does Rotwang claim he will marry Hel ? Freder doesn't "cry" when he confronts his father, he is very upset. There are a number of flaws in the film's scenario such as Fredersen's motivation when dealing with the workers. He orders the doors to the heart machine to be opened and then is surprised the lights go out in the city, it's only when Slim tells him of the possible consequences of his actions that he begins to panic. A good number of things are explained in length in the novel, so a separate section underlining different points of the film vs the novel could be useful. As for the robot Maschinenmensch or Maschinenmensch Hel is still the best representation and once it is transformed False Maria would be an apt description Patrick R.W.A. R. (talk) 17:23, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, Fredersen seems surprised when the lights go out because he jumps up from his chair, but at the end of that angle and in the very next angle (same scene) as the Thin Man bursts in, we see that Fredersen has a flashlight in his hand; clearly he was prepared for the power outage. What he wasn't prepared for was that his son would be caught in the resulting chaos. Memetics (talk) 12:13, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
"Spoiling" a film means giving away too many plot details, including the ending, with the result that suspense and enjoyment are diminished for those who read the spoilers but haven't yet seen the film. I assure you Str1977 that there are many people who have not seen Metropolis, certainly the vast majority of those alive today, regardless of whether it was released more than 80 years ago. That said, I do not know the Wikipedia policy on spoilers. DanielM (talk) 00:13, 16 February 2010 (UTC) PS: "Machine-human" is a better translation of Maschinenmensch than "machine man." DanielM (talk) 00:14, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Different Versions[edit]

If you scrutinise certain scenes (such as the one in the Eternal Garden when the large doors open and Maria enters with the children) it is evident that footage used in the Moroder version is different from footage of exactly the same action in the most recent releases. (In that scene, the three birds are in different positions, and the children pointing etc. differs.) That suggests that the shortened version might not have been an original version that was butchered, but a separate version that in places used different take footage. Or might there have been more than one master to start with where each used different takes in places. Is anyone aware of information on this? (talk) 16:10, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Within a few minutes of posting the above, I had the answer. There were three original negatives made where each shot was either duplicated with additional cameras on the set, or the scene was shot three times. Consequently, in theory, there are three versions of each individual shot. That is an important matter which really needs researching and describing properly. (talk) 16:20, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

My gosh, I never heard of this before. I wonder if the whole film is like that, or if merely certain scenes are like that. Do you have a reference for what you've found? James Cameron filmed Avatar in 3D in the anticipation of future players capable of displaying it. I wonder if Fritz Lang did this with a similar intent, that one day it would be possible to make use of the alternate footage, perhaps to integrate it in some way. DanielM (talk) 22:44, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

The more you look, the more you find. Having left the machine rooms after the accident, Freder runs down some steps to an awaiting car. In the Moroder version, as he runs down the steps, two mechanised trolleys travel along the road in the background. But in the 2002/10 version as he runs down the steps, the road is empty and the trolleys are not seen. In the same view, there is a shadow up the stairs on the other side of the road in one version, but not the other. Also, as the car pulls away, the 2002/10 version has writing on the back of that car which is not seen in the Moroder version. Also, as the car drives off in the Moroder version, the scene scrolls (with the car) to a view of the giant city. But in the 2002/10 version, as the car pulls off, the scene remains the same and you continue to see that locality. As to two cameras - almost at the end as the crowd climb those steps, stop, and Grot walks away from them - look at the two people at the front and the person between and behind them. That person behind them is in a different orientation bewteen the Moroder version and the 2002/10 version - which very much looks like two camera angle views of the same action. I did give a reference but it has been deleted by someone else. (talk) 14:29, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Look up 'B negative' sometime. And remember that Moroder introduced modern editing techniques into his version; i.e. the scrolling. And try and get round to comparing the diferent versions of Freder reaching out for Maria's scarf... Pfistermeister (talk) 21:33, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Other interesting differences in the Moroder version are that the shot of the destroyed Tower of Babel has english words above it and not the original german, also if you look carefully you will see that when Georgy looks at the piece of paper given to him by Freder at the machine the address is in english, and if you look very carefully you will see that this shot is in fact from the scene were Georgy looks at the paper in the back of the car, as you can see his legs, check it against the new 2010 reconstructed version if you don't believe me. Which proves that these parts must have been shot in english text as well as german, which other languages I don't know. From what I understand the reconstructions done prior to 2001 were conducted using what was referred to as the "London copy" to which any new material was added, to put it crudely, for the 2001 recon the original negative of the American cut has been used which was made from a different camera negative to the "London copy". Also some of Moroders subtitles are taken from the Channing Pollock inter-titles for the USA edited version, interesting as this version seems not to have surfaced in any form on VHS or DVD in America, the "London copy" was the prevalent version avaliable until the 2001 German recon. (talk) 03:44, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

The reason for all this is that three negatives were filmed simultaneously, one for Germany, one for the US and one for the rest of the world. When they couldn't film with three cameras at the same time, scenes were re-shot. I haven't seen the new documentary for the 2010 "director's cut" yet, but apparently it is explained and demonstrated there by split-screen comparison. -- megA (talk) 21:54, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Well, the Moroder version of the film will be on an offical DVD releases worldwide soon. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:49, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

2010 DVD release?[edit]

When will the 2010 restoration be released on DVD? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bizzybody (talkcontribs) 11:27, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

KINO International has already released 2010 restoration of "Metropolis" in BluRay & DVD formats (on November 16, if I'm not mistaken). -- (talk) 21:51, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
For some reason, the 2010 version DVD hasn't even been announced in Germany... -- megA (talk) 21:56, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
That's because it's for sale only in the US and Canada. Presumably a region 1 DVD. Kino may not be licensed to release it in Germany. Yworo (talk) 01:30, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Interesting. (for a German movie restored on behalf of a German foundation and several German state radio and TV stations... I wonder if arte-tv and ZDF are keeping their hands on it). By the way, I'm holding in my hands an (official) British Region 2 DVD of the new version which is distributed by Masters of Cinema/Eureka Entertainment Ltd, not Kino. -- megA (talk) 13:33, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

But, where is the Moroder version on DVD and Blu-ray? It will be soon on DVD and Blu-ray, too. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:56, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

This link: 2010 Kino International Blu-ray Disc edition may be of interest. It include discussion of the quality of various DVD releases of Metrolpolis. Details of the restorations are also given. - 220 of Borg 06:27, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

influence/legacy section[edit]

this film should have a section about its lasting influence. i'd do it but i won't have the time for a while.Capt Jim (talk) 02:23, 3 December 2010 (UTC) If someone does a do an influence section, make sure to include Janelle Monae's 2008 album entitled "Metropolis" — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nannakins (talkcontribs) 07:46, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

I very much agree that there should be an influence, legacy, references in popular culture section for this masterpiece of a movie. Alas I do not have the time to undertake this project. But for anyone who might pick this up, I want to add that the movie is referenced in the Rammstein song "Stripped".Averagejoedev (talk) 02:17, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

Background music 1983 Obsession (song) by Animotion and 1984 version of Metropolis (film)[edit]

I've checked but haven't found any connection between this Obsession (song) by Animotion and the 1984 Metropolis (film), but they seem to use the same music in places, and was wondering if Giorgio Moroder the composer helped to record this song. This is Giorgio Moroder's instrumental version [2] compared to the version by Animotion [3] both links are links to YouTube videos. To me they seem too similar to be a coincidence, but I haven't found any connection between the two other then then this song and it's music. (Floppydog66 (talk) 08:49, 25 March 2011 (UTC))

Queen Music Video[edit]

I've added a line about Queen's Radio Ga Ga music video which has some scenes of the movie on "Adaptation" section. But I'm not sure if it should be there. Any Opinion? —Preceding undated comment added 07:41, 16 September 2011 (UTC).

That overall section is awkward and disorganized. I think these homages and alternate versions are interesting, but an overarching section structure is needed to accommodate them. Bullets? As well they should be concise. We don't want mini-articles about each homage and alternate version. A couple years ago, in this very article, there was an interesting list of alternate soundtracks, but some person in good faith deleted it, perhaps arguing that it was trivia. I'd like for that to be in here as well, but it's a question of smartly and concisely organizing it. With respect to the Queen video, maybe mention it within the text about the Moroder version, but I dunno if I'd devote more than a very few words to it. DanielM (talk) 14:17, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Metropolis Film Archive 2011[edit]

The author of this site Michael Organ actually gets a mention in the text. Lots of material and sources. Be advised I got a few "404 - Page Not Found" errors while perusing this site, even when going to pages I had already visited and were definitely good links. - 220 of Borg 07:02, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

what is this supposed to mean ?[edit]

"The film score of the original release of Metropolis was composed by Gottfried Huppertz and it was meant to be performed by large orchestras to accompany the film during production. "

To accompany the film during production ?? Does this mean, while recording the sound-track ? Or does it mean, with a live orchestra during exhibiting the film in a cinema [ during the silent film era ] ? If the latter meaning is intended, then the sentence should be altered to refer to the orchestra accompanying the film during presentation, or exhibition. Not production.Eregli bob (talk) 04:38, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Better "Reception"[edit]

I expanded and updated the "Reception" section, added citations, provided a topical analogy to current events. Xela Zeugirdor (talk) 23:30, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Why is virtually all of the reception section dedicated to talking about how awful it is? The only positive views on the movie in the entire section, besides a brief sentence at the end mentioning Roger Ebert, is a paragraph talking about Joseph Goebells praise of this. Am I to believe that there was no subversive intention on the part of whoever arranged this? Why not mention, for instance, it's 99% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and its hundreds of positive reviews? Is Joseph Goebbels really the only source you could think up? (talk) 02:43, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Wrong or confusing photo of Babel?[edit]

If you make the comparison to The_Tower_of_Babel_(Brueghel), then shouldn’t we be using an image like this one (screen shot of 53:10 into the 2010 restoration) instead of the image currently shown in comparison? --X883 (talk) 16:52, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

The image you mentioned was the real tower of Babel in the film.. but what the article referes to is the building that is the new tower of Babel in the film. Have you watched the movie?! Mando Salama (talk) 20:47, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

To clarify: Joh Fredersen's office building is referred to as the "Tower of Babel" by Freder himself early in the film. The image comparison used in the article is in reference to this Tower of Babel, not the image used during Maria's description of the Biblical story to the workers (the one you linked to here). --McDoobAU93 21:12, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
The intertitle from the 2010 film has Freder saying "To the new Tower of Babel - to my father - !" (emphasis mine). Clearly the old tower in Maria's recounting of the fable (see the photo X883 cites above) looks more like that Brueghel painting than the new tower does - which makes sense, as the new tower was inspired by then-modern New York skyscrapers, not the painting - at least, it's not noted as the primary influence, from what I can tell. I've updated the photo captions to clarify, but it would seem better to show the "new" tower image separate from the Brueghel painting and to couple the painting with the still from X883 or something similar. Memetics (talk) 12:53, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Goebbels quote[edit]

"Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels was impressed with the film's message of social justice. In a 1928 speech he declared that "the political bourgeoisie is about to leave the stage of history. In its place advance the oppressed producers of the head and hand, the forces of Labor, to begin their historical mission"."

This entire paragraph has no direct reference, and little connection, to the film. (talk) 20:13, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Shouldn't there be a separate section for the Moroder soundtrack?[edit]


The most known soundtrack, the classical one, takes up the majority of the section about the music. But the Moroder soundtrack I feel doesn't go into enough detail. What specific songs were on that soundtrack, and in what order?

-- (talk) 22:08, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Not the first feature length science fiction film[edit]

Aelita (1924) is the first science fiction feature-length film NOT Metropolis (1927). This is a weak page, and needs serious editing. (talk) 16:07, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Characters in cast list without actors[edit]

Several characters are listed without actors in the cast title card at the start of the film: The Creative Man, The Machine Man, Death, and The Seven Deadly Sins. Maria is listed right below these, at the end. This has caused many (including Google[1]) to presume incorrectly that Brigitte Helm played all of the roles listed above her name - clearly impossible, since Death and the Seven Deadly Sins all appear in the same scene, and since The Creative Man is the chief architect / conceiver of the Tower of Babel; the only character of this set that she played but was not listed for was The Machine-Man, the costume of which was cast from a mold of her body. Also, official sites list her only as playing "Maria"[2].

I think it would be helpful to list these uncredited roles in the Cast list with "(actor uncredited)" or something similar in place of the actor name, or else to have the information in a note below the cast list. Which solution appeals most to you? (I think I'll add the information in a note at the end of the cast list, but if there's significant support for the alternate option, please go ahead and make the change.) Memetics (talk) 12:08, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

QMUL education project[edit]

We will be working on this page January and February 2016. If you have any questions feel free to contact us here.

One sided reception[edit]

Under 'Release' it is mentioned that there was a "spontaneous applaus" after its release in Berlin. However, we have found a source which mentions that the truth seems to be there was only "faint applause in which some boos and hisses could be heard". We thought it might be a good idea to include this alternative point of view to offer the article more balance. The book we have found mentioned both theories of endless applause and mild-negative reception so thought it might be best to replace the webpage citation with the book. It is the Minden and Bachmann book already in the bibliography. Josslynggg (talk) 20:34, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

The page number in the Minden and Bachmann book which includes the original reception is p.27 Paulwebb1021 (talk) 20:35, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

I agree--that's the best approach. If credible sources differ, the article should report the discrepancy and the differing sources should be cited. Barte (talk) 20:52, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

How about this:

Metropolis had its premiere at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin on 10 January 1927 where a critic for the Berliner Morgenpost reported rapturous applause. Others have suggested the premiere was met with muted applause interspersed with boos and hisses.[1] Josslynggg (talk) 20:53, 9 February 2016 (UTC)


Perfect. Barte (talk) 21:04, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
The edit looks good to me. For future reference, it's a good to put something in the "Edit summary" field when you're editing an article. In this case, a simple "See Talk" will do as you've already explained your thinking here. Barte (talk) 21:20, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
Brilliant, thanks! We'll make sure to do that next time. Paulwebb1021 (talk) 14:16, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

We decided to keep the webpage citation in as we think it's still a credible source, but have added the book source too :) Paulwebb1021 (talk) 21:16, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Especially as you've got differing accounts, it's indeed best to keep both in. Barte (talk) 21:26, 9 February 2016 (UTC)