Last November we told you about the new cut of Metropolis that would be screening at the Berlin Film Festival. We then talked about the footage we were able to see which was streamed live over the internet. It looks like Kino is now preparing a theatrical run here in the the states, as well as a DVD/Blu-ray release this fall.
I was able to catch some of the footage that streamed online, but I wasn’t able to get much out of the experience, as far as seeing what was added with the found footage.
With all of the recent talk of the death of the theatrical experience, with more and more content being pushed online directly, it is so reassuring to be a cinephile right now, as we are getting more and more theatrical re-releases of classic films, completely restored. Rashomon, The Red Shoes, Breathless, the list goes on. I was fortunate enough to catch the 2002 restored print of Metropolis while living in San Diego, and I cannot wait to catch the film here in Portland.
What do you think about this re-release? Are you excited about adding 25 minutes to this classic? Will you wait for the home release, even if the film is playing in your city?
Below you’ll find the press release from Kino Lorber.
This new 147-minute version, being released as THE COMPLETE METROPOLIS, premiered on February 12 at the Berlin Film Festival and will have its first US showing on April 25 at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, as part of the TCM Classic Film Festival
The film’s national theatrical release will commence on May 7, with a NY premiere at Film Forum, and on April 14, at Laemle’s Royal Theater in Los Angeles – followed by runs in all major markets throughout the US and Canada. The DVD and Blu-ray release is set for November of this year.
CUTS AND MAJOR RESTORATIONS:
When it was first screened in Berlin on January 10, 1927, the sci-fi epic ran an estimated 153 minutes. After its premiere engagement, in an effort to maximize the film’s commercial potential, the film’s distributors (Ufa in Germany, Paramount in the U.S.) drastically shortened METROPOLIS, which had been a major disappointment at the German box office.
By the time it debuted in the states latter that year, the film ran approximately 90 minutes (exact running times are difficult to determine because silent films were not always projected at a standardized speed).
METROPOLIS went on to become one of the cornerstones of science fiction cinema foreshadowing BLADE RUNNER and THE MATRIX to name just a few recent examples. Testament to its enduring popularity, the film has undergone numerous restorations in the intervening decades.
In 1984, the film was reissued with additional footage, color tints, and a pop rock score (but with many of its intertitles removed) by music producer Giorgio Moroder. A more archival restoration was completed in 1987, under the direction of Enno Patalas of the Munich Film Archive, in which missing scenes were represented with title cards and still photographs. More recently, the 2001 restoration combined footage from four archives and ran at a triumphant 124 minutes. It was widely believed that this would be the most complete version of Lang’s film that contemporary audiences could ever hope to see.
But, in the summer of 2008, the curator of the Buenos Aires Museo del Cine discovered a 16mm dupe negative that was considerably longer than any existing print. It included not merely a few additional snippets, but 25 minutes of “lost” footage, about a fifth of the film, that had not been seen since its Berlin debut. The discovery of such a significant amount of material called for yet another restoration.
This was executed by Anke Wilkening of the Murnau Stiftung (Foundation), the German institution that is the caretaker of virtually all pre 1945 German films, Martin Koerber Film Department Curator of the Deutche Kinemateque and on the music side, by Frank Stoebel.
The result of their work was first seen by the public on February 12 at the 1600 seat Friederichstrasse Palaste, accompanied by a 60-piece orchestra playing the original 1927 score by Huppertz. The public and critical response was ecstatic.
Regarding the quality of the added footage Ms. Wilkening has said:
“The work on the restoration teaches us once more that no restoration is ever definitive,” says Wilkening, “Even if we are allowed for the first time to come as close to the first release as ever before, the new version will still remain an approach. The rediscovered sections which change the film’s composition, will at the same time always be recognizable through their damages as those parts that had been lost for 80 years.”