This is a reprint of my review which
was first published on Three Men on a Blog in September 2011, with a number of minor revisions and additions. My original review can be found here.
Metropolis (Germany, 1927)
Directed by Fritz Lang
Starring Gustav Frohlich, Brigitte Helm, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Alfred Abel
IMDb Top 250: #87 (9/11/13)
Whenever critics or film institutions publish lists of the greatest films ever made, the same old names keep cropping up with an air of increasing tedium. It's very easy to be blasé or dismissive about Citizen Kane or Casablanca on the grounds that nothing original can be said about them; all possible plaudits have been dished out and the matter is settled.
Blade Runner and The Terminator after it, the film entertains the possibility of humans and machines unknowingly coexisting, and the latter being able to manipulate us, either through violence or more subtle forms of suggestion. Lang demonstrates this both through the Frankenstein-like transformation of Maria and by Freder's emotional responses to the plight of the lower orders. In one terrifying scene, he imagines a malfunctioning machine as a ghoulish face with a mouth full of fire, and man walking into its jaws as human sacrifices to slake its wrath. The perception of machines being human is a two-way process; we have to form an emotional bond to fully believe what we are told.
NEXT REVIEW: Amadeus (1984)