Metropolis (film)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Original title Metropolis
Country of production German Empire
original language German
Publishing year 1927
  • 153 (1/1927)
  • 117 (8/1927)
  • 118 (2001)
  • 145 (2010)
(for 24 frames / sec.)

in minutes
Age rating FSK 6 or 0
(previously "not suitable for minors")
Director Fritz Lang
script Fritz Lang,
Thea von Harbou
production Erich Pommer
music Gottfried Huppertz
camera Karl Freund ,
Günther Rittau ,
Walter Ruttmann
cut Fritz Lang

Not in the credits

Metropolis is a German monumental silent film of expressionism of Fritz Lang from the year 1927. It is based on the novel "Metropolis" by Thea von Harbou from 1925. The setting is a futuristic city with a strong two-tier society . This science fiction film was the first of its full-length genre. It is one of the most expensive films of the time and is considered one of the most important works in film history.

The approximately two-and-a-half-hour premiere version presented on January 10, 1927, fell through with critics and was unsuccessful with the public, which is why a version shortened to just under two hours was relaunched in Germany on August 25, 1927.

About a quarter of the original was destroyed on the occasion of the new version. Since 1961, several attempts have been made to restore the original version. In the 2001 reconstruction, still images and commentary texts represented the material that was still missing. In this form, the film was to be the first ever World Documentary Heritage of UNESCO added. Thanks to a copy found in Buenos Aires in 2008 , the earlier gaps were largely filled. The restored version of the Murnau Foundation celebrated its premiere on February 12, 2010 at the Berlinale in the Friedrichstadt-Palast and in the Alte Oper Frankfurt . The restored version opened in cinemas nationwide on May 12, 2011.

Plot of the reconstructed original version

The film is divided into three acts: prelude (66 min.), Interlude (28 min.) And Furioso (52 min.).


Two clearly separated societies live in the gigantic city of Metropolis : An upper class lives in absolute luxury. In the “Club of the Sons” the youth of the elite enjoy heavenly conditions in their towers and in the “Eternal Gardens” and live for sporting events and intoxicating entertainment, while the working class, who toil on gigantic machines for the profit of the rich, just as deep below the city dwells on it like the others. In between, but underground, are the machines that are indispensable for both classes.

The sole ruler of Metropolis is Joh Fredersen, who oversees and rules his city from the "new Tower of Babel". For him, the workers who built his city are second-class people and settled there “where they belong”. The day of the workers is divided into 20 hours, so their ten-hour shifts last half the day, while the day for the upper class has 24 hours: two kinds of clocks indicate two different measures.

One day a crowd of children from the lower town appears in the “Eternal Gardens” accompanied by a woman who shows the children how “their brothers” live. Freder, Joh Fredersen's son, falls spontaneously in love with the unspoiled and radiant young Maria and goes to the lower town to see her again. In doing so, he arrives in a machine room, where people operate levers like robots in unison, and witnesses an accident: because a single worker collapses exhausted, the system overheats and explodes. Freder now sees her as a human-devouring Moloch. While the dead and injured are being removed, the next column moves to the briefly unoccupied workplaces.

Terrified, Freder hurries into his father's office. His secretary Josaphat tries to present the accident as insignificant and to prevent Freder from "bothering" his father with it, but he does not succeed. However, Fredersen is mainly angry because he did not find out about the incident through Josaphat, but also because Freder was able to visit the Lower City at all without his father's knowledge. After the conversation between father and son, there is mutual incomprehension.

Immediately afterwards, Grot, the “guardian” of the heart machine, appears to announce that mysterious plans have again been found in the pockets of the workers who have died. Since his secretary did not bring this sensitive information this time either, Fredersen becomes angry and dismisses Josaphat. For him, being fired means belonging to the lower class for the rest of his life. Freder, who hurries after him, is able to prevent Josaphat's suicide in the stairwell: the young man offers help, notes Josaphat's address and sends him home while he goes back to the lower town himself.

In the meantime, Joh Fredersen has hired the Schmalen, his secret agent, to shadow Freder and to report on every step of the son.

Back at the machines, Freder becomes aware of the exhausted Georgy, worker 11811, and swaps jobs and clothes with him. Freder sends Georgy to Josaphat in his car, where he should wait for him. Freders driver does not notice the exchange. When leaflets fluttering in through the window while driving, promoting the sinful nightclub Yoshiwara , Georgy succumbs to temptation and lets himself be driven there. The slim one follows Freder's car.

At this time, Joh Fredersen seeks out the inventor Rotwang , who is supposed to explain the strange plans to him. While he waits, he curiously opens the black curtain that covers one wall of the waiting room: behind it is the huge bust of Hel . This, Rotwang's great love, he lost to Fredersen, and she died when Freders was born. Angry about the desecration of his monument, Rotwang throws himself on Fredersen, whom he also blames for Hel's death. He succumbs again and reveals that he even sacrificed his right hand in order to create a machine man in Hel's image, whom he also demonstrates: “24 hours of work - and no one, Joh Fredersen, will become the machine man to be able to distinguish an earthborn -! "

Freder is working on the machine while he curses the inhumanly long shifts. When he reaches for the handkerchief, he finds one of the plans in Georgy's clothes. Another worker informed him that "she" had called again. After the end of the shift, the workers descend into the catacombs, where Mary preaches.

Rotwang recognizes the sketches as plans of the "two thousand year old catacombs, deep beneath the metropolitan railways". He himself has access through the cellar of his house and leads Fredersen there. Both watch the action through a hole in the wall.

Mary preaches about the failure of the Tower of Babel : the workers did not understand the importance of the project, the builders, on the other hand, did not recognize the needs of the workers because a “mediator” was missing between them . She holds out the prospect of the imminent arrival of such a mediator who connects the brain (the ruling class) and the hands (the workers). After the sermon, Freder reveals himself to Mary, and she recognizes him as the long-awaited mediator. They arrange a meeting in the cathedral for the next day and then go their separate ways.

Fredersen, who sees his power threatened by Maria's work, urges Rotwang to give the machine man Maria's shape. Through the influence of the doppelganger, he wants to deprive the workers of hope in the mediator in order to exploit them even harder afterwards. Rotwang, on the other hand, decides to take revenge on Fredersen with the help of his machine man: The machine should incite the workers as well as the elite to destroy Metropolis and thereby destroy Fredersen's life and his son. While still in the catacombs, Rotwang assaulted Maria, put out her only light (a candle) and chased her into his house. He then keeps her prisoner in an attic.


Machine Maria (statue in the Babelsberg Film Park )

When Freder arrives at the cathedral as agreed, he does not find Mary, but a monk who is preaching the near apocalypse in the pulpit. At the same time, Rotwang predicts his human machine that it will "destroy Fredersen, his city and his son". Still looking for Mary in the now empty cathedral, Freder arrives at the group of sculptures “Death and the Seven Deadly Sins” and prays that death will spare him and his loved one. At the same time, Georgy leaves the Yoshiwara and is expected and arrested by Schmalen when he gets into Freder's car. The agent snatches the piece of paper with Josaphat's address from the worker and then sends it back to the machine: “No. 11811, you go straight back to the machine and forget that you ever left it - understand? "

In the expectation that Georgy could lead him to Maria, Freder returns to Josaphat and learns that Georgy has not arrived. Disappointed, he sets off on his own. As soon as he has stepped onto the paternoster that leads down, the narrow man appears on the other side of the elevator. He wants to bribe Josaphat to leave the apartment because Fredersen does not want any contact between him and his son. When Josaphat refuses, a scuffle breaks out. The narrow man announced that he would be “picking him up in three hours”.

The inventor enters Maria’s prison to bring her for his big experiment. Freder hears Maria's cries for help from the street, tries to break into Rotwang's house, but fails because of the mysterious door mechanisms: The inventor lets individual doors open and close so that Freder is helplessly trapped in the end. He finds a shawl that Maria has lost on a door that remains closed to him. Rotwang has meanwhile overpowered Maria and put it in the glass tube from which her figure is transferred to the human machine. In doing so, Maria loses consciousness. Rotwang then releases Freder and makes him believe that Maria is with his father - but there is the human machine; the real Maria is still lying unconscious in the laboratory. The machine Maria brought an invitation from Rotwang to Fredersen: “It is the most perfect and obedient tool that a person has ever owned. Tonight you are to see how it stands before the eyes of the top hundred. You should see them dance [...] "

While Fredersen gives the machine Maria the order to destroy the work of the preacher, Freder storms in, believes he recognizes his lover in his father's arms and collapses under delusions.

Upon Rotwang's reception, the father witnesses how the ecstatic dance of the machine infatuates the men to the point of madness: “All seven deadly sins ” would this woman be worth to each of them. Meanwhile, the son hallucinates parts of the dance, sees the monk from the cathedral in the Schmalen. The illustration of the great whore Babylon in the shown Bible turns out to be an image of the beguiling machine Mary, who is now lifted up from a vessel whose seven feet ultimately mutate to represent deadly sins. The group of figures “Death and Deadly Sins”, which Freder had previously looked at in the cathedral, also comes to life and conveys to him: “Death is over the city - - -!”.


Freder, who has recovered again, is sitting in an armchair a few days later and has opened the Book of Revelation when Josaphat enters his room. In working clothes he could escape the slim. He reports that a woman named Maria has been dancing at Yoshiwara every evening since the day Freder became ill. She turned the men's heads so much that there were duels between former friends, murder and suicide. The Eternal Gardens are now orphaned. In response to Freder’s horrified inquiry, Josaphat confirms that it is apparently the same Mary that the workers regard as a saint. Freder decides to go to the catacombs in his role as mediator.

Der Schmale reports to Joh Fredersen that the only thing preventing the workers from revolting is the hope of finding a mediator. Fredersen had instructed the machine Maria to stir up a riot in order to have a pretext to crack down on the workers with the utmost severity. He gives the Schmalen the instruction to let it go, “whatever happens”.

Meanwhile, Rotwang tells Maria, who is still imprisoned, that Fredersen wants to destroy faith in the mediator through the machine man, but brags that the machine man obeyed his will, not Fredersen's, and that he was planning to destroy Joh Fredersen and his city. He also kept from Fredersen his son's love for Maria. Joh Fredersen, who secretly overheard the conversation, then attacks Rotwang. In this tumult, Maria manages to escape from Rotwang's house and rush to the workers' town, where she wants to prevent the worst.

In the meantime, however, the machine-Maria has cast a spell on the workers: The mediator had not come, the workers now have to take their fate into their own hands and free themselves by destroying the machines . The crowd becomes angry. When Freder and Josaphat arrive in the catacombs, Freder is horrified and shouts out loud that this person could never be Mary. The mob recognizes Joh Fredersen's son and prepares to lynch him. Georgy, however, fights his way through the crowd and stands in front of his patron, but is stabbed with a knife that was intended for Freder. While the machine-Maria is carried out by the workers on hands, Freder and Josaphat take care of the dying Georgy, whom Freder finally recognizes as loyal.

The workers have gathered in the main square of the workers' town and call their wives to storm the machine shop together. They take the elevators up to the factories under Maria's guidance, but forget their children in the turmoil. After the M-machine is occupied, they also want to destroy the vital heart-machine at machine Maria's behest, which Grot initially prevents by closing the bulkheads. Joh Fredersen, meanwhile, uses the videophone to order Grot to open the gates. Grot unwillingly obeys, stands helplessly in the face of the mob and is overwhelmed. His desperate warning that the ruin of the heart machine would "drown" the working-class city is completely lost. Before the catastrophe, the machine Maria takes a flight of stairs to the upper town.

The real Maria can barely get into the workers' town before the elevators crash and the residential areas are flooded. Horrified, she sees that all the children are still in town and, with the last of her strength, turns on the alarm gong. Freder and Josaphat climb at this time over one of the shafts from the catacombs to the workers' city.

While the workers perform a joyful dance, Fredersen sits in his office and watches as the lights go out in Metropolis when the heart machine collapses. The slim man comes excitedly into the office and announces that Freder is among the workers. Fredersen is now worried about his son, but gets the answer that the next day thousands would probably ask about their sons.

In the meantime Freder and Josaphat are in the workers' town, which is already penetrating from all sides. On the main square, Freder recognizes the real Maria. Together, the three of them can save all the children from drowning by climbing the stairs in the air shafts before the sheet piling gives way and the water masses over the workers' city. They decide to bring the children to safety in the “Club of the Sons”.

Grot finally succeeds in making himself heard by the dancing and raging crowd. His question about the children lets the mob recognize the self-inflicted catastrophe: The children are thought to have drowned, and the anger of the crowd turns against the “witch” and they want to burn her at Grot's behest. This is now the center of an orgiastic festival of the upper class in Yoshiwara. She is then carried through the dark Metropolis in a lantern procession. Grot moves to the upper town at the head of the workers' army. But Rotwang is now conscious again and begins to look for the machine man in order to finally give him the face of his beloved Hel.

Freder, Josaphat and Maria have already taken the children to the sons' club when the mob finds Maria at the entrance. Without paying attention to their assurances, the innocent people who try to get to safety in the cathedral are hounded. The lantern procession with the machine Maria crosses the path of the chasing group, and in the turmoil the machine Maria is seized, dragged to a pyre hastily erected in front of the cathedral and set on fire. Josaphat had noticed the chase and set out with Freder to save Maria. They arrive at the stake, want to free the apparently insane, but are not let through.

At the same time, Rotwang discovers the real Maria at the entrance to the cathedral, but confuses her with the machine man. He chases her into the cathedral, then up the tower, where Maria succeeds in ringing the bell and thereby attracting attention. The machine's metal core remains from the burned false Maria, and the vertigo becomes clear. From the cathedral square, Freder sees Maria's fight with Rotwang on the balustrade of the cathedral and rushes to her aid. His father, who has meanwhile arrived with Schmalen, can only watch anxiously his next fight with Rotwang. The workers want to attack Fredersen at first, but when Josaphat announces that all their children have been saved, the crowd begins to feel pity for the anxious father. Everyone witnessed how Rotwang overwhelmed Freder and dragged Maria to the ridge of the roof . Freder then recovers, pursues him and both slide downwards in battle. Rotwang ultimately falls to his death, but Freder can hold on and then save Maria, while Fredersen rushes to the two.

Joh Fredersen and Grot finally shake hands, but only after Maria's desperate request to her loved one, the mediator. The introductory and final motto of the film is "The heart must be the mediator between the brain and the hands" .

Theme and interpretations

Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou in their Berlin apartment, 1923 or 1924. Photograph by Waldemar Titzenthaler .

The representation of the social order of Metropolis is based on the one hand on the Marxist image of capitalism: There are two classes, one of which exploits the other, and it is in fact impossible to move up from the lower to the upper class. The fact that the meaning of the machines remains incomprehensible to the workers points to the alienation of work and people. On the other hand, however, the action expressly criticizes the revolution, which is destroying the livelihood of the lower class. "The revolution eats its children". Huppertz's music therefore quotes the Marseillaise several times . Parallels to the social order of the two classes in The Time Machine by HG Wells are also clear.

The parable of the Tower of Babel is changed: In the film, the planners and workers speak the same language, but still do not understand each other, which is why the workers revolt and the project fails. The “real Mary”, who preaches to the workers in front of an altar flanked by crosses, is taken from the Christian fund of Catholic character ( Marian veneration ; the “two thousand year old catacombs”). The arrival of the mediator ( savior ), who stands for love, reconciliation and forgiveness, is announced.

The false Mary later, as the whore of Babylon, tempts the bourgeoisie and the proletariat to revolt - and brings about the apocalypse that Freder reads while the machine is realizing it.

"Joh Fredersen wants those in the depths to put themselves in the wrong through acts of violence so that he gets the right to use violence against them ..."

The mediator, on the other hand, reconciles the classes and benefits everyone - end of the class struggle. This ideal cooperation of the classes corresponded to the program of various political parties, from the center to the NSDAP . The role of Freder can also be seen as a parallel to the story of Moses , who grows up as the son of the ruler, but turns to his enslaved “brothers” and revolts against his own house.

Fritz Lang later confessed on the one hand that he thought Thea's statement and political claim that the heart mediates between hand and brain was inappropriate and that after its completion, he no longer liked the film, for which he was responsible for at least 50 percent: The social one The problem cannot be solved with the means of the film. He revised this in a much later interview, Berlin 1971: His experiences with the American youth at the time indicated that in today's society they most lack the heart . "... and then at the end I wonder: Yes, well, maybe Harbou was one hundred percent right after all."

The failure of the work with contemporary audiences can be explained, among other things, by the fact that the social image it designed did not correspond to any cliché accepted at the time: Instead of bringing about a more humane and civilized society, the slave armies of bygone times are returning with technical innovations of the future; the gigantic machines bring the lower class a more unworthy life than before; the crowd is easy to manipulate, and even the medieval witch-burning is practiced again. “With increasing industrialization, the machine ceases to be a mere tool, begins to take on a life of its own and impose its rhythm on people. He moves, using them, mechanically, becomes part of the machine. "

Aesthetics and technology

Metropolis on display in the Cine Pedro II, Parque do Annexabaú , São Paulo , Brazil , July 18, 1930.

Lang filmed the material from May 22nd, 1925 to October 30th, 1926 with immense effort, in his own aesthetic and perfection, and by exhausting existing and inventing new trick technology possibilities. Previously unknown achievements such as robots , monorails and videophones are shown. Walter Schulze-Mittendorf created the machine man and other sculptures.

Multiple exposures or superimposed copied negatives were well recorded worldwide since Lang's Nibelungen to his repertoire. Regarding the time-consuming stop-motion technology, for example, cameraman Günther Rittau notes that for the fade-in of the city's main traffic artery, among other things, around 300 model cars had to be moved millimeters after each individual image was taken: “Eight days of work for ten seconds of film”.

Lang did not consider any shot to be “crazy” until at least the three “secured” camera negatives required for worldwide sales were “in the can”.


The architecture of Metropolis consists on the one hand of skyscrapers that are reminiscent of New York at the time . The film architects Otto Hunte , Erich Kettelhut and Karl Vollbrecht were responsible for drafting and designing the models for the utopian city . At least 500 models of skyscrapers with up to 70 floors were built. The architect of the Einsteinhaus (1929) von Caputh , Konrad Wachsmann , was involved in the model building for Metropolis according to his own statements.

What is striking is the traffic and machine technology, which rather reflects the contemporary state and largely avoids futuristic "science fiction" substitutes (with the exception of the robot and the videophone): von Harbou and Lang placed the human in the foreground over conceivable technical developments. In addition to the Maria robot, Schulze-Mittendorf also designed the large machines.

The buildings of the upper class are sumptuously furnished, while the underground workers' city is kept simple and roughly corresponds to the then forward-looking Bauhaus style. There is also the Gothic cathedral, which refers to what is known to be “ancient”, and Rotwang's house, which is based on the director's residence in Zeipau designed by Otto Bartning around 1923–1925.


Pre-production and casting

Fritz Lang started the legend that the impressions of his trip to America in October 1924 had inspired him to make the film Metropolis. However, a copy of the script personally dedicated to Erich Pommer in June 1924 shows that Lang's then wife Thea von Harbou had largely completed the book (based on her already published novel) before the start of the American trip and provided very detailed information about the scenery would have. Paul Citroen's photomontage Metropolis, 1923, and contemporary architectural designs, for example within the framework of the architectural competition “Hochhaus am Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse, Berlin”, 1922 (including Hugo Häring , Hans Poelzig ), were probably the inspiration for this ; and Erich Mendelsohn's redesign of the publishing house Rudolf Mosse , Berlin 1923, long before the end of the script a famous architectural sensation.

Although the film was a large-scale production, Fritz Lang cast two relatively unknown actors in the lead roles; for Brigitte Helm , who was discovered by Lang, the film even marked the film debut. Gustav Fröhlich had already played a number of film roles, but was also not known to the general public. At first Fröhlich was only supposed to play one of the workers, but was then cast in the lead role with the help of Thea von Harbou. In the other supporting roles, however, well-known actors played instead, with whom Lang had already worked for the most part.


In 1926, in what is now Babelsberg, the largest film studio in Europe to date was built specifically for the production of Metropolis. The then so-called “Great Hall”, designed by the architect Carl Stahl-Urach and built within less than five months, was the first heatable and partitionable hall and offered the latest technical achievements. Today it is known under the name " Marlene Dietrich-Halle ". Hundreds of film productions were realized in it (scenes for The Blue Angel , Marlene , Inglourious Basterds , Cloud Atlas and many others were filmed here). The hall is still used regularly by national and international co-productions and is located in the middle of the current premises of Studio Babelsberg .

The recordings of the giant machine that later exploded in the lower town were shot in a former airship hangar, which was converted into a large studio and equipped with four studios, of the Großfilmwerke Staaken AG in Berlin-Staaken , which was founded in 1923 . Steam locomotives in front of the hall generated the steam visible in the scenes.

Some outdoor shots were shot in Vienna on the premises of the brick factories on Wienerberg (today the 10th district ). Many workers in the brick factories were used as extras .


According to the Ufa press department, more than 600 kilometers of film were exposed for the recordings , which corresponds to more than 350 hours of playing time. Lang's perfectionism, but also bad weather, made production more expensive, which Ufa, which was already in financial difficulties in 1925, neither wanted nor could cope with.

With production costs of around 5 million Reichsmarks , Metropolis was the most expensive film in German film history in its time. The financial difficulties Ufa got into, mainly because of these productions, led to the Parufamet contract at the end of 1925 and, in March 1927, to the takeover by the media entrepreneur Alfred Hugenberg , the most important civil pioneer of National Socialism .

Pommer, whose well-known high-quality productions were made primarily responsible for the debacle, was also an explicit opponent of the Parufamet contract concluded in December 1925 and ultimately disadvantageous for Ufa. The financial debacle at Ufa also resulted in a wave of layoffs that did not escape employees who were not even needed for ongoing productions. Pommer left the company on January 22, 1926, long before the film was finished. From this point on, Lang worked “without support”.

working conditions

Despite artistic praise, Lang's handling of the actors was criticized many times. Even after many repetitions, Gustav Fröhlich was not satisfied with a scene in which Gustav Fröhlich fell on his knees in front of Brigitte Helm : they worked on it for two days, and Fröhlich could hardly stand afterwards.

In the cool autumn of 1925, poorly nourished children were used for the flood scene. The following year, other scantily clad extras stood ready in the unheated studio for the same repeatedly repeated sequence. The mass scene of the flooded city, which takes barely ten minutes in the film, took more than six weeks of shooting, during which Lang drove the extras (unemployed people who were cheap and available in large numbers) into the ice-cold water again and again.

Brigitte Helm , as a machine man, had to wear a heavy wooden costume and collapsed several times. Even after relatively short scenes, it had to be refreshed with fans.

The film team spent 14 to 16 hours a day in poor conditions in the studio; many dropped out because of illness. Under the tyranny of Fritz Lang, whom they hated, the extras and crew reportedly fared little better than the Babylonian slaves, who had to work and suffer for a monumental work of their ruler. A total of 27,000 extras were used and the film was shot over 310 days and 60 nights.

Notes in Kettelhut's memoirs and also in Fröhlich's report put this into perspective: Fröhlich portrays Lang as a relentless director who, however, knew how to implement his ideas without roaring (which is not uncommon in the industry) on set, but “with almost inexhaustible perseverance”; he had pushed each of his employees to the utmost of his possibilities. Fröhlich even speaks of "if necessary: ​​rape energy".

Kettelhut mentions that Lang always determined buildings, lighting and scenes in lengthy preliminary discussions and discussions with the entire staff before, for example, models were commissioned or realized, and that the director only implemented what had previously been worked out in the team with all authority afterwards.


Critics and audiences alike received the film poorly after its premiere. The importance of Metropolis in terms of film history only emerged in later decades.

Contemporary reception

Ufa cinema on Nollendorfplatz with Metropolis advertisement (1927)

The film was a commercial fiasco: After its premiere on January 10th in the Ufa-Palast am Zoo, it was shown in a single Berlin cinema - in the UFA pavilion on Nollendorfplatz (600 seats) - and moved there until May 13th, 1927, the Black Friday in Berlin , at only 15,000 spectators.

The financially troubled Ufa was taken over in March 1927 by the then most influential German media entrepreneur Alfred Hugenberg . The premiere version was then withdrawn and the copies destroyed. On August 25 of the same year, a version shortened and modified in terms of content based on the American model had its “premiere” in the Sendlinger Tor Lichtspiele in Munich and in the Ufa-Palast Stuttgart, but also hardly found an audience.

The criticism after the premiere in January 1927 was mostly negative. Although the cinematic effects and the technical effort were praised, Thea von Harbou's script was panned.

“Thea von Harbou invents an impossible personal plot that is crammed into the motifs. [...] Emotional phrases are always used. Dreadful. A factual topic cruelly kitsched up. Effects, not because worldviews lead to explosions, but because the film wants its tricks. The end, the tearful reconciliation between employer and employee - terrible. "

- Berliner Börsen-Courier , January 11, 1927, night edition

“The director apparently had a utopian film in mind that should contain tendencies from reality. Something for everyone: for the bourgeoisie the 'Metropolis', for the workers the assault on the machines, for the Social Democrats the working group, for the Christian the 'Golden Heart' and the Savior's ghost. [...] Apart from the kitschy content, the technical performance of the film is undoubtedly excellent and unmatched in its kind. The illusion of the skyscraper city, the depiction of the machine underworld, the 'birth' of the human machine, the flood and some of the crowd scenes are excellent. "

- The Red Flag , January 12, 1927

"Take ten tons of horror, pour a tenth of sentimentality over it, cook it up with social sensitivity and spice it up with mysticism as needed, stir the whole thing with marks (seven million) and you get a great colossal film."

- Simplicissimus No. 44/1927

“I recently saw the silliest movie ever. I don't think it's possible to make someone even more silly […]. It's called 'Metropolis', comes from the great Ufa studios in Germany, and it has to be said that it devoured enormous production costs. It presents a turbulent concentration of almost every imaginable nonsense, cliché, platitude and chaos about mechanical progress and progress in general, served with a sauce of sentimentality […]. "

- HG Wells : review in the New York Times , April 17, 1927

The film critic Siegfried Kracauer described the film as proto National Socialist (anticipating features of National Socialism) in his study Von Caligari zu Hitler, first published in 1947 . Seemed for him

"In Metropolis [...] to speak the paralyzed collective consciousness with unusual clarity in sleep."

Reception today

Metropolis is now considered a classic of expressionist film art and a source of inspiration for many later works.

“'Metropolis' is one of the most important works in German film history. [...] Everything about 'Metropolis' is gigantic: The production time alone was record-breaking, Fritz Lang shot 310 days and 60 nights. The film is a blockbuster with mythical features and bold special effects, for which the director spared no effort. […] Metropolis is a masterpiece that lives from its contradictions: a breakthrough into the future and a tribute to the fashion of the time, a risk that remains dependent on the market situation, a monumental film with moments of foreboding and tears made of glycerine, hopelessly out of date and but amazingly up-to-date. Metropolis still inspires today, including Hollywood. "

- Announcement of the documentary "The Journey to Metropolis" by Artem Demenok

“In his monumental silent film epic, Fritz Lang combines mythical-romantic motifs from German Expressionism with technical utopia and political speculation. In terms of film aesthetics, it is a virtuoso, thoroughly composed play of light and shadow that captivates with its suggestive assembly rhythm and architectural imagination; an early classic of science fiction cinema in terms of film history; Historically an illuminating commentary on the social psychology of the mass society of the Weimar Republic - even if in the end the social contradictions are covered up with reactionary pathos. "

- Lexicon of International Films , original edition 1987



At the premiere, Metropolis consisted of eight rolls of film, a total of 4,189 meters of material; Running time around two and a half hours.

This version received mostly devastating reviews, but also fell through with the audience, so that it was then only shown in a single cinema. After the UFA, which was in financial difficulties , was taken over by Alfred Hugenberg in March 1927 , the original version was discontinued on May 13; Around 40 copies that had already been made were destroyed because the nitrocellulose material at the time was extremely flammable. A version trimmed according to the American model, 3,241 meters, was also launched in Germany in August. Since then and until 2008, the original version has been considered lost .

Preliminary remark

The Parufamet Agreement of 1925 stipulated that the Americans could take over up to ten UFA films per year and rework them as they see fit. The UFA produced three camera negatives each, namely for Germany, for the USA and for the rest of the world. These three originals were filmed either by cameras running at the same time or, if this was impossible, by repeating the scene as a new take .

In December 1926, before the German premiere, the US version went to Paramount , which commissioned the playwright Channing Pollock to cut it. Positive copies were made of the original "for the rest of the world" and, as far as is known, were sold to London, Sydney, New Zealand and Buenos Aires. A copy apparently bought in Moscow is considered lost. It is assumed that at least the England copy was colored, as was often the case back then.

Modification in 1927

Pollock reports on this in his memoir. Without understanding the film, he cut it by about a quarter and rearranged scenes to create a version of a horror film that would suit the public's suspected tastes. The term mutilation of Lang's work seems appropriate in this context:

  • He removed the key figure Hel , allegedly because the word was too similar to the English hell (hell) and therefore had a negative connotation. Hel, Rotwang's great love, whom he lost to Fredersen, died when Freders was born, and in an attempt to cope with his pain, the inventor created the machine man, for which he had to sacrifice his right hand. He wanted to give his machine the shape of Hel. With this deletion, the film lost the hatred between Fredersen and Rotwang and with it its emotional heart. Rotwang is demoted to a mad scientist .
  • Plots that Pollock suspected of being communist also disappeared from the film. Two other figures that are essential for the original story (the Schmale and Georgy) have been almost faded out. The subject of friendship and love, loyalty or infidelity, which often recurs at Lang, also fell victim to Pollock's abbreviation.
  • Pollock tried to reinterpret the plot into a Franconian-like story: The [female] machine man was created on Fredersen's order to replace the human workers (Fredersen's name is John Masterman in the US version ). The city falls into chaos because the robot develops a destructive life of its own.

When asked about Metropolis, Lang said on occasion that he was not commenting on a film that “no longer exists”.


Soviet Union, 1961

After Lang's world-famous Nibelungen , the UFA's journalistic evaluation of the making of the new film was followed with interest in the Soviet Union (for example, Sergej Eisenstein had visited the set), but it was not until 1929 that the censors asked whether the ideologically unacceptable film could be cut after it had been edited accordingly the cinemas could bring. With a decision of April 16, 1929, chaired by Fedor Raskolnikov , this was definitely forbidden.

After the end of the Second World War in 1945, however, the contents of the Babelsberg bunker of the Reich Film Archive were confiscated by the Red Army as spoils of war. As a result, five roles with material from Metropolis ended up in the Russian film archive (later Gosfilmofond ). In an interview with arte, the responsible film historian Vladimir Y. Dmitriev said that in 1961 they “just wanted to see the film”. Although the material (with English subtitles !) Turned out to be fragmentary, it was able to be supplemented by roles from the Czechoslovak film archive in Prague and thus, according to Dmitriev, resulted in an improved version compared to the US version. In 1971 , this was transferred to the GDR's state film archive , which dared to make a further addition.

Berlin 1971

The correspondence between the film historian Wolfgang Klaue (then director of the film archive) and Fritz Lang regarding any corrections to the editing sequence by the director is documented. Lang complains in the reply that his work has been mutilated. Klaue names his young colleague Ekkehard Jahnke as the discoverer of various negative material used in published versions.

The new version was presented at the international congress of the film archives in Bucharest in 1972, but to the sadness of the scientists involved in the project, it was received without any noticeable enthusiasm. "We were too early."

With regard to this film, Klaue was later granted a special discovery: a rather casual visit to the Swedish Film Institute in Stockholm in the early 1980s also took him to its documentation department, where he was allowed to rummage through a box with unsorted censorship cards and the only known copy of the censorship card of the premiere version , issued on November 13, 1926 by the Film-Prüfstelle Berlin. This censorship card contains the complete original text of the German subtitles, which previously could only be translated back from the US version, and their original order. The censorship card was therefore an important aid for the next reconstruction.

Munich 1988

From 1984 Enno Patalas worked at the Munich Film Museum on a reconstruction of the premiere version, which was completed in 1988. Some rediscovered documents were available for this. In addition to the censorship card discovered by Klaue, the script and, above all, the original score of the film music with handwritten notes by Gottfried Huppertz were taken into account. These documents made it possible to arrange the scenes in their correct order and to reconstruct the content of lost scenes.

Munich 2001

Certificate: World Document Heritage

In the reconstruction of the original version, published in 2001, all available material was used, including some lost scenes, but around a quarter of the film was still missing, which was bridged by commentary texts, black film and occasionally still images. The latter came from the fund of the Cinémathèque française , Paris, where 831 stills and factory photos appeared in 1983, which Horst von Harbou, the screenwriter's brother, had taken and which Fritz Lang donated to the institute. These pictures had also been forgotten in the meantime. With them, the censorship card that has since been found and the score of the original film music that has also emerged, a version was achieved for the first time that could rightly be described as the first reconstruction of the original. It was developed under the direction of Enno Patalas (Filmmuseum Munich) and Martin Koerber ( Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation , Wiesbaden).

Based on digital image restoration , which the digital Alpha Omega GmbH conducted in December 2000 and January 2001 on behalf of the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation, created a new 35mm negative using a runtime of 118 minutes which the UNESCO on 8 . November 2001 as the first film ever in the world Documentary heritage recorded (Memory of the world) after a positive copy was first shown in February 2001.

Study version, Berlin 2005

In 2005 the Film Institute of the Berlin University of the Arts released a study version of Metropolis on DVD, which was not on the market, but was sold in small numbers to relevant institutions exclusively for research purposes. A further step was taken in approaching the original; The fragments that were still missing at that time were supplemented by gray screens, still photos and commentary texts in accordance with the censorship card from 1926.

This version of the film , which was deliberately presented as a torso , was musically accompanied by the fully recorded director's voice for piano based on the original score of the film music by Huppertz. The study version also contained the digitized version of an original script and the censorship card.

Wiesbaden 2010

Open-air film screen for broadcasting the “Re-Premiere” of Metropolis during the Berlinale 2010

In July 2008 it was announced that a 16 mm positive copy with the almost complete, believed to be lost, original foreign version of the film in Buenos Aires was in the holdings of the Argentine Museo del Cine Pablo C. Ducrós Hicken (translated: Filmmuseum Pablo C. Ducrós Hicken , currently [2010] but an archive only accessible to film scholars) was found.

The Argentine film distributor Adolfo Z. Wilson acquired a copy immediately after the premiere in Berlin 1927, which he took with him to Argentina. After many screenings, it came into the collection of the film critic Manuel Peña Rodriguez , and with the one through the Fondo Nacional de las Artes, ultimately into the Muséo del Cine .

The film, found in Argentina in 2008, is a 16 mm copy of the 35 mm screening copy that was shown until the 1960s and was accordingly worn and stained. It contains the vast majority of the scenes cut out after the premiere and is provided with intermediate texts in Spanish. Because of the extreme fire risk of cellulose nitrate , the carrier of the screening copy, it was created around 1973 for reasons of cost on 16 mm material, which is cheaper than 35 mm film, but inferior in quality, and without historical methods for physical improvement that were already known at the time To use film material (prior cleaning and wet copying). The original was then destroyed in accordance with Argentine law.

The first examination of the Argentine material showed that the reconstruction from 2001 could be supplemented at all essential points and that a restoration that was very close to the original version in terms of content would be possible. Negotiations about the acquisition of the Argentine copy dragged on for more than a year, but the presentation of the supplemented version had already been planned for the 60th Berlinale . Those responsible speak of a "spot landing" for this project, which premiered on February 12, 2010 at the same time in Berlin's Friedrichstadt-Palast and in Frankfurt's Alte Oper . The Berlin performance ran at the same time on Arte and publicly at the Brandenburg Gate (with impressive public interest, and this when temperatures are below zero). The music was performed live in Berlin by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Frank Strobel ; in Frankfurt the State Orchestra Braunschweig played at the same time under Helmut Imig .

The reconstructed version from 2010 also lacks image sequences compared to the premiere version from 1927, but only around 8 minutes in total. As in 2001, longer missing passages are described in commentary text and in a font that differs from the subtitles, while shorter passages are still replaced by black film. The image sequences inserted on the basis of the Argentine metrics can be recognized by the heavy signs of use, but are also highlighted by black bars on the upper and left edges of the image.

The still missing scenes include:

  • Georgy, the worker 11811, is having fun at Yoshiwara.
  • A monk on the pulpit of the cathedral announces the apocalypse .
  • Fredersen overhears Rotwang as he tells his intrigue to the captured Maria. Fredersen knocks Rotwang down in an argument and Maria is able to flee.

This version of Metropolis came into regular theatrical distribution on May 12, 2011 and was released on DVD on October 28, 2011.

Arrangements by other artists

The version of the film made by the musician Giorgio Moroder in 1984 was widely used . He turned the silent film into a monumental video clip with pop music (including by Freddie Mercury , Adam Ant and Bonnie Tyler ), a colored image and acceleration of the cut, which "only" lasted 87 minutes. Until the 2001 and 2010 reconstructions, this was the most complete version of Metropolis.

This version had a major impact on the video clip era; Examples are clips from Queen ( Radio Ga Ga , 1984) and Madonna ( Express Yourself , 1989), which quote directly from them.

The American composer Joe Brooks ( Oscar winner 1977 for the film music "You Light Up My Life") arranged with Dusty Hughes Metropolis as a musical. It premiered in 1989 at the Piccadilly Theater in London.

In 2000, the American Jeff Mills released a techno version of the soundtrack for the record company Tresor Records . Jeff Mills is one of the most famous techno producers.

The German gothic metal band The Vision Bleak released a song named after the film on their debut album "The Deathship Has a New Captain" in 2004, which lyrically describes life in the metropolis and uses Doom Metal- like sounds supports who want to reproduce the city atmosphere with rolling brutality reminiscent of machines and deep voices.

Andreas Otto and Jan Drees designed their own soundtrack for the film, which mixes analog and digital sounds.

The Argentine composer Martin Matalon composed in 1995 in collaboration with the French IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique / Musique) a film score for 16 musicians and electronics, which was performed with the 1993 restored version. In 2010, Matalon created a version for the restored version of the film on behalf of Ensemble Modern . The German premiere of this version took place in March 2011 at MaerzMusik - Festival for Contemporary Music in Berlin.

The composer and pianist Stephan von Bothmer presented his music for piano for the film in Berlin in 2005. Versions for organ and cinema organ followed in 2006 and 2008, respectively. In January 2006, he appeared with a show from the film Metropolis, live music, stage fireworks and steam.

The German composer Harry Kulzer composed his own music for piano for a short version of the film (92 min.) In 2006. World premiere was on April 25, 2007 in Dachau near Munich. This production has been on the road since 2007 under the name "Metropolis.Live".

From January Wilke and Clayton Bowman, a new scoring for string quartet, flute, percussion, piano and choir dates, this was in on 29 January 2010 German-American Institute Heidelberg premiered.

The Berlin painter Ancz É created between 2005 and 2007. Kokowski created a series of panel paintings in which, based on Elias Canetti's “Mass and Power”, she dealt with both the film and its intellectual authors Thea von Harbou and Fritz Lang. The works were shown under the title “mortem parturio” in 2007 on the occasion of the eightieth return of the world premiere at the Berlin Kunsthaus Tacheles .

Remake plans

In 2007 the producer Thomas Schühly acquired the remake rights to Metropolis . Mario Kassar will act as co-producer .


The manuscripts for the score were purchased from the former Deutsche Kinemathek Foundation , Berlin. Berndt Heller (formerly a lecturer for film music at the former Berlin University of the Arts ) was commissioned by the City of Munich (Filmmuseum) to process the sheet music for a revival after more than 60 years . In addition to the full score for small orchestra, there was an incomplete score (the first 61 pages were missing) for large orchestra, there was also a full score (piano sketches for the composition with entries for the instrumentation), a small part of printed orchestral parts and one printed piano reduction (provided with numerous handwritten amendments by the composer). Berndt Heller's research on further material resulted in the discovery of the lost score for the large orchestral version and evidence that Gottfried Huppertz left behind further printed piano reductions with different arrangements for the film (version in Berlin, Vienna and Frankfurt). Heller's version followed after Huppertz's final arrangement. The assignment of the music to today's film version was worked out by him based on Huppertz's documents in an original and as authentic as possible way. For this purpose, Heller revised the entire orchestral sheet music for both large and small orchestras.

Since the printing of the sheet music was not financially feasible at that time (1986), Heller took over the handwritten copy of the parts for the individual instrumentalists of the large orchestra. On October 24th and 25th, 1988, the Gasteig Philharmonic Orchestra conducted the world's first performance of the original music by Gottfried Huppertz for a large orchestra live for a film. Heller then performed this version in concert around the world (including as part of the celebration of German unity as part of the twinning program between Berlin and Los Angeles; more in the foreword to the printed score). For the first time in about ten years (after the digital film version was completed), this music version was recorded on behalf of the Murnau Foundation in sync with the film with the Saarland Radio Orchestra under the direction of Berndt Heller. Huppertz's original music for Metropolis then appeared for the first time as a VHS as part of the Goethe Institute, as a DVD and as a sound film in theatrical distribution. Then the Ries und Erler publishing house in Berlin took over the parts for distribution and Heller's version was printed as a score.

In February 1927, Huppertz recorded three pages with pieces from the film music for the Vox record company : Fantastic dance and dance of death , waltzes and main musical motifs .


  • In November 2005, the Metropolis movie poster by graphic designer Heinz Schulz-Neudamm was sold in London for 398,000  pounds sterling (approx. 600,000  euros ), the highest price ever paid for such a movie poster.
  • For the shooting, Ufa bought the remaining stocks of the legendary futuristic teardrop car as props from the bankrupt Rumpler works . Towards the end of the film, the vehicles can be seen in a street scene and were destroyed in the final scene - they served as the base of the pyre on which the machine-man is burned.
  • The dramatic fight between Rotwang and Freder in the roof of the church and on the tower, which is about to end, was almost completely copied in 1989 by Tim Burton in Batman (Joker - Batman).
  • Freddie Mercury used sequences from the film for the music video of his song Love Kills and his band Queen used scenes from the film for their music video for Radio Ga Ga (album The Works , 1984). The American band System of a Down processed parts of the film for the music video for the song Sugar .
  • George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic use a whole range of elements from Metropolis in their video clip for If Anybody Get's Funked Up : The uniform rout of workers with hats to the factory, a text overlay "BENEATH MO'TROPOLIS IMPRISONED WORKERS HELP DESTROY THE FUNK", a larger than life metal statue of a woman (machine man).
  • In 1989 Madonna presented her video clip for Express Yourself with a modernized Metropolis scenery. The cat allegedly scurrying through the picture in a scene from Metropolis is also mentioned in this video.
  • Osamu Tezuka was inspired by a newspaper article about his manga Metropolis .
  • The banknotes of the Central Bank of Metropolis have their own currency symbol and, among other things, carry the signature of Fritz Lang. There should have been 100 M, 500 M and 1000 M grades.
  • The leaflets advertising Yoshiwara carry quotes from Oscar Wilde (“He who wants to defeat his vices must pursue his vices.”) And Omar Chajjams (“In paradise there should be houris . They say there is honey and wine there.”) Why then forbid us from wine and women, when women and wine alone are the wages of heaven? ”).
  • Matt Groening's animated series Futurama deals with the theme of the film in the episode Rebellion of the Mutants . As a result, the underground mutants keep the sewer system in New New York City in operation, but they are not allowed to come to the surface of normal people. Some of the machines underground are equivalent to their Metropolis equivalents.
  • The album Die Mensch-Maschine from Kraftwerk is named after the name Rotwang used to describe his invention. The album also contains a piece called Metropolis , and the appearance of the musicians on the album cover is also based on the film.
  • The music video for Wirtschaft Ist Tot von Laibach is based on the visual style of the film and in particular the representation of work and machines.
  • On September 16 and 17, 2011, Metropolis was performed in the Berlin open-air cinema Pompeji, operated by Tilsiter Lichtspiele , and accompanied live by the Berlin progressive and psychedelic rock band Samsara Blues Experiment for the entire 145 minutes of playing time .
  • The Berlin cinema Babylon showed Metropolis on March 3, 2012 with newly sampled music by DJ Raphaël Marionneau as a world premiere.
  • The film The Fifth Element quotes the scene in which Maria lies in the glass tube in the laboratory. In contrast to the original, in which many metal bandages almost completely cover Maria's body , only the essentials of the heroine Leeloo are covered with two fabric bandages designed by Jean Paul Gaultier .
  • The film Bodyguard uses images of dance of Mary of Metropolis in the scene in which Whitney Houston song Queen of the Night sings in a nightclub.
  • The Swedish band Cult of Luna released the studio album Vertical in 2013 , the lyrics of which were inspired by Metropolis.
  • The Brazilian band Sepultura named their 2013 album The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart after a quote from the film.
  • In January 2019, the German composer Marko Cirkovic announced that he was working on a new setting for orchestra. He has uploaded the setting for the Moloch scene online for listening
  • In honor of the film Metropolis, the two inventors of the comic figure Superman , Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster , named the hometown of the protagonist Metropolis.
  • The female android (machine man) from Metropolis served as the inspiration for the droid C-3PO from the Star Wars saga designed by Ralph McQuarrie .
  • When the protagonist of the film The Time Machine made a stopover in New York in 2030 and asked the holographic android in the library for information about time travel, the image of the film poster from Metropolis was displayed on the screen under the heading Science Fiction .
  • On the occasion of the 90th anniversary, the organizers of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thanked moviegoers from the last 90 years with a video clip during the Oscar awards ceremony in 2018 . The video clip contains, among other things, a sequence from Metropolis, where the machine man can be seen in the scene transforming into the figure of Maria .
  • In an interview with the American magazine Entertainment Weekley , film director Christopher Nolan said that Blade Runner , 2001: A Space Odyssey and Metropolis are the three films in the science fiction genre by which all others have to be measured.
  • According to the director Paul Verhoeven , Metropolis played an important role in the implementation of the film RoboCop and the design of the protagonist of the same name.
  • In the documentary Fahrenheit 11/9 by Michael Moore , film excerpts from Nosferatu , Metropolis and M are shown with the information that the best films worldwide were made in Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic until the Nazis came to power .
  • In the black comedy and grotesque anti-war film Dr. Strange or: How I Learned to Love the Bomb by Stanley Kubrick from 1964, the character of the German scientist Dr. Strangely regarded as a homage to the inventor Rotwang from Metropolis.
  • Metropolis was the favorite movie of the science fiction writer and inventor of the word sci-fi Forrest J. Ackerman (also known as Mr. Science Fiction).
  • On the occasion of the 100th anniversary, Deutsche Post AG published the stamp pad 100 Years of German Film in 1995 . On this block, film scenes from Der Untertan , Der Himmel über Berlin and Metropolis are shown as special stamps .
  • During an interview with the neo-noir science fiction film Dark City , film director Alex Proyas said that the location of the action was visually influenced by Metropolis.
  • Metropolis experienced a reminiscence in the film adaptation of the concept album The Wall by Pink Floyd from 1982 in the sequence of the piece of music Another Brick in the Wall , which depicts the students as the image of the stereotypical workers of the underworld of Metropolis.
  • The music video for song 34 + 35 by US pop singer Ariana Grande from 2020 contains various visual references and allusions to the metamorphosis scene in which the inventor Rotwang gives the machine man the shape of Maria.

Film documentaries

  • The Metropolis case. Documentary, Germany, 2003, 44 min., Director: Enno Patalas, production: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung .
  • The trip to Metropolis. Documentary, Germany, 2010, 52 min., Director: Artem Demenok, production: SWR , Arte , first broadcast: February 12, 2010 on arte. (The production of the restored version in 2010 with interviews in Berlin, Paris, Moscow and Buenos Aires).
  • Metrópolis refundada. Documentary, Argentina, 2010, 47 min., Directors: Evangelina Loguercio, Diego Panich, Laura Tusi & Sebastián Yablón. The documentary tells the over eight decades of history of the copy discovered in Buenos Aires in 2008 . The restored 3-disc version DVD / BD Metropolis - Special Edition from 2011 has been added to the Spanish-language documentation with German subtitles as a bonus feature.
  • Metropolis - The restoration of a classic film. Documentary, Germany, 2010, 28 min., Director: Christian Ehrhard, production: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung .


  • Ilona Brennicke, Joe Hembus : Classics of the German silent film. 1910-1930. Citadel-Filmbücher, Goldmann, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-442-10212-X
  • Rudolf Freund Metropolis . In Günther Dahlke, Günther Karl (Hrsg.): German feature films from the beginning to 1933. A film guide. Henschel Verlag, 2nd edition, Berlin 1993, p. 143 ff. ISBN 3-89487-009-5
  • Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum for Film and Television (Ed.): Fritz Langs Metropolis. belleville, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-923646-21-0 . (With over 600 images)
  • Michael Eckardt: Exemplary document analysis by METROPOLIS. In: Michael Eckardt: Interludes in film history. On the reception of the Weimar Republic cinema in South Africa 1928–1933. Trafo-Verlag, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-89626-766-5 , pp. 394-412
  • Thomas Elsaesser : Metropolis - The classic film by Fritz Lang. Europa Verlag, Hamburg 2000, ISBN 3-203-84118-5
  • Peter Gaschler: The long way to the audience. Fritz Lang's large construction site “Metropolis” - the history of the development of a myth. In: The Science Fiction Year 2011, ed. by Sascha Mamczak , Sebastian Pirling and Wolfgang Jeschke , Wilhelm Heyne Verlag Munich 2011, pp. 494–501. ISBN 978-3-453-53379-0
  • Fred Gehler, Ullrich H. Kasten : Fritz Lang - The Voice of Metropolis. Henschel, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-362-00522-5
  • Guntram Geser: Fritz Lang, Metropolis and The Woman in the Moon, future film and future technology in the stabilization time of the Weimar Republic. Corian-Verlag, Meitingen 1999, ISBN 3-89048-310-0
  • Thea von Harbou : Metropolis - The novel for Fritz Lang's film. Ullstein, Frankfurt / M., Berlin, Vienna, 1978, ISBN 3-548-03394-6
  • Wolfgang Jacobsen and Werner Sudendorf .: Metropolis - A cinematic laboratory of modern architecture. Menges Verlag, Stuttgart and London 2000, ISBN 3-930698-85-4
  • Martin Lichtmesz: "Metropolis - a Langsches Zukunfts-Babylon", In: Die Mark Brandenburg , Issue 73, Marika Großer Verlag Berlin, 2009 ISBN 978-3-910134-12-6
  • Dietrich Neumann (ed.): Filmarchitektur. From Metropolis to Blade Runner. Prestel, Munich and New York 1996, ISBN 978-3-7913-1656-7 .
  • Enno Patalas : Metropolis in / out of ruins - A film history. Bertz + Fischer Verlag , Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-929470-19-5
  • Eckhard Pabst: The failure of urban utopias in Metropolis and Things to Come, in: Le Blanc, Thomas (ed., 2008): che Raum , Wetzlar: Förderkreis Phantastik (= series and materials of the Fantastic Library Wetzlar, vol. 100), p 190-214
  • Bert Rebhandl: Overcoming the monster of exploitation. World culture spectacle. Fritz Lang's classic film “Metropolis” will be released in a restored and completed version. He's still a big mess. In: Die Tageszeitung , West edition, May 11, 2011, p. 15.
  • Patrick Rössler: Promote Metropolis. “News from Parufamet” 1926/27 - a circular for cinema owners and the press , Berlin 2019 (= Filmblatt-Schriften, 9), ISBN 978-3-936774-11-5
  • Gabriela Stoicea: “Re-Producing the Class and Gender Divide: Fritz Lang's Metropolis ,” in Women in German Yearbook, vol. 22, 2006, pp. 21-42.
  • Gerhard Vana: Metropolis. Model and mimesis. Gebr. Mann, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-7861-2345-4
  • January 28, 2010 Detailed interview with conductor Frank Strobel about the latest version, Frankfurter Rundschau.


  1. The underlying playback speed of 24 frames per second has not yet been proven. At that time, 26 frames / sec were also common (assumption by Schmid ); According to the Murnau Foundation (2010), the original music even seems to be composed for 28 / s.
  2. (2010 version) The censorship card of the original version dated November 13, 1926 (illustration in the documentation, ~ min. 35:40 ) declared it to be “not suitable for minors”;
  3. At that time the only available but highly flammable film material, cellulose nitrate , was always disposed of as soon as one could do without it.
  4. a b c These sequences are among the few parts of the film that seem to no longer exist and have therefore been replaced by text.
  5. Such slightly different flaps are shown in the arte documentation by comparing the German and US versions of Josaphat's release as an example and clearly.
  6. Not to be confused with “ World Heritage ”. Since then, the film has enjoyed the same worth of protection as, for example, the manuscript bequest of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , the Gutenberg Bible or Ludwig van Beethoven's autograph of the 9th Symphony .
  7. According to Koerber, the Murnau Foundation in Wiesbaden destroyed 30 rolls of film made of nitro material in 1988 , but only five of these were previously copied. In the book Metropolis - A Cinematic Laboratory of Modern Architecture , there is speculation as to whether an original negative from Metropolis could also have been among the destroyed material.

Web links

Commons : Metropolis (film)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Approval certificate for Metropolis . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry, March 2011 (PDF; music version Huppertz 27/10).
  2. ↑ Approval certificate for Metropolis . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry, October 2005 (PDF; DVD study version).
  3. a b Program for the world premiere of the restored version (PDF; 4.2 MB)
  4. ^ Jacques Rivette, Jean Domarchi: Entretiens avec Fritz Lang. In: Cahiers du Cinéma. No. 99, September 1959, pp. 1-9
  5. a b for example Gretchen Berg. In: Cahiers du Cinéma. No. 179, June 1966, pp. 50-63.
  6. a b Die Reise nach Metropolis (2010) in the Internet Movie Database (English).
  7. Quotation from: Heide Schönemann: Fritz Lang. Film images, role models. Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-89468-029-6 , p. 52
  8. a b c Hans Schmid: Metropolis is back. In: Lost and Found. Telepolis , February 12, 2010, accessed January 10, 2017 .
  9. ^ Heide Schönemann: Fritz Lang. Film images, role models. Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-89468-029-6 , p. 76
  10. ^ Paul Citroen, picture, 1923 in the English language Wikipedia
  11. Gustav Fröhlich IMDb Bio
  12. Everything is in motion: Babelsberg in the Weimar Republic ,, accessed January 7, 2014
  13. 100 Years Studio Babelsberg - The Art of Filmmaking . 1st edition. TeNeues Verlag, Bilingual, 2012, ISBN 978-3-8327-9609-9
  14. Joachim Thurn: Start of shooting “Metropolis” . In: Berlin monthly magazine ( Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein ) . Issue 5, 2000, ISSN  0944-5560 , p. 87-92 ( ).
  15. Ronald M. Hahn, Volker Jansen: The 100 best cult films. Heyne Filmbibliothek, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-453-86073-X , p. 396. The film documentation sent by arte on the occasion of the “World Premiere 2010” names 3.5 million RM as “more likely according to the latest research”. Schmid notes that the UFA stated a total expenditure of 10 million RM for Lang's Metropolis and Faust Murnaus, which were produced almost simultaneously , but without details. Gerald D. Feldman even mentions that the budget of 9 million Reichsmarks has become 22 million. Gerald D. Feldman: The Deutsche Bank from the First World War to the Great Depression. 1914-1918. In: Lothar Gall et al .: The Deutsche Bank 1870–1995 . CH Beck. Munich 1995, ISBN 3-406-38945-7 , p. 237.
  16. Fritz Lang himself explicitly stated only 250-300 extras: Lost Interview . ( Memento from October 25, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  17. Patrick McGilligan: Fritz Lang. Faber and Faber, London 1997, ISBN 0-571-19175-4 , p. 110; In 2010 arte reported 36,000 extras.
  18. ( Memento from March 22, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  19. Metropolis Reviews Time Online , 2008.
  20. Michael Eckardt: On the reception of the Weimar Republic's feature film in South Africa 1928–1933. An investigation into the history of cinema. Dissertation, Göttingen 2007
  21. Udo Leuschner “Metropolis” and “M”, Fascistoide Tendencies in two films by Fritz Lang
  22. The Journey to Metropolis ( Memento from January 28, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  23. Harvest of My Years: An Autobiography. Bobbs-Merrill, New York 1943.
  24. GosFilmoFond - Europa Film Treasures ( Memento from May 23, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  25. Article. In: New Germany
  26. ^ Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation: Metropolis. Deluxe Edition booklet. 2011, p. 11
  27. The rediscovery of "Metropolis". Time online , July 9, 2008.
  28. a b Fernando Martín Peña: Metropolis Found ( Memento of October 16, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  29. ^ Karen Naundorf: Journey to Metropolis . In: Zeit Magazin Leben , No. 28/2008
  30. today journal, July 3, 2008.
  31. ( Memento from February 25, 2012 in the Internet Archive ; PDF)
  32. Karen Naundorf, Matthias Stolz: Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" - the long version . In: Die Zeit , No. 7/2010.
  33. ^ A b Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation: Metropolis 27/10
  34. Karen Naundorf: "Metropolis" new version: Science fiction puzzle based on notes. Spiegel Online, February 12, 2010, accessed March 15, 2010 .
  35. ( Memento from February 17, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  36. ( Memento from September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  37. ^ Ensemble Modern: Metropolis ( Memento of February 5, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  38. ^ Berliner Festspiele: Metropolis
  39. ^ Concert archive ( Memento from February 11, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) on by Stephan von Bothmer; Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  40. Silent film with fire and steam . In: BZ , January 31, 2006
  42. ( Memento from March 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
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