Metropolis is widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, telling the tale of class warfare and uprising in a dystopic society that has been spurred by an cyborg fashioned in the likeness of an aristocrat’s dead wife. But the version the vast majority of us had seen was not the original cut that German director Fritz Lang had submitted to studios; rather it was a considerably shortened version that had been slowly restored — but never completed — over the years. Then in 2008, a discovery was made.
At the time of its premiere in 1927, the German, US, and UK studios demanded the film be stripped down for various reasons. Not marketable enough, too communist, too long, etc. It wasn’t too long after the film was introduced that people believed the original to be lost forever. Siting in the basement of a film museum in Argentina was a 16mm cut of Metropolis rotting away. Film experts worked to restore the print, which added an entire 25 minutes to the most complete version of the film that existed.
But now the film is complete, and film nerds can bask in the glory of the cyborg Maria leading a working class rebellion which is set in the year 2026. Above is a scene in which the robot shell undergoes its transformation into something a bit more human. [Netflix]