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Germany 1927

"There can be no understanding between the hands and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator."

 

With its dizzying depiction of a futuristic cityscape and alluring female robot, Metropolis is among the most famous of all German films and the mother of sci-fi cinema (an influence on Blade Runner and Star Wars, among countless other films). Directed by the legendary Fritz Lang (M, Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse, The Big Heat, etc.), its jaw-dropping production values, iconic imagery, and modernist grandeur it was described by Luis Buñuel as 'a captivating symphony of movement' remain as powerful as ever.

Drawing on and defining classic sci-fi themes, Metropolis depicts a dystopian future in which society is thoroughly divided in two: while anonymous workers conduct their endless drudgery below ground their rulers enjoy a decadent life of leisure and luxury. When Freder (Gustav Fröhlich) ventures into the depths in search of the beautiful Maria (Brigitte Helm in her debut role), plans of rebellion are revealed and a Maria-replica robot is programmed by mad inventor Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) and master of Metropolis Joh Fredersen (Alfred Abel) to incite the workers into a self-destructive riot.

A 'Holy Grail' among film finds, Metropolis is presented here in a newly reconstructed and restored version, as lavish and spectacular as ever thanks to the painstaking archival work of the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung and the discovery of 25 minutes of footage previously thought lost to the world. Lang's enduring epic can finally be seen for the first time in 83 years as the director originally intended, and as seen by German cinema-goers in 1927.

 

***

Fritz Lang's Metropolis is perhaps the most famous German film of all time, and certainly one of the most influential of all silent films. In its lifetime it has been: drastically re-edited (shortly after release); unseen for decades; revisioned with a modern music score in the 1980s; and thanks to the work of the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung and a network of archives all over the world, restored in 2001. This restoration of Metropolis is almost certainly the most complete and authentic version possible of Lang's original 1927 vision.

Metropolis takes place in 2026, where people are divided into two groups: poor workers living beneath the ground and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of luxury. The tense balance of these two societies is realized through images that are among the most famous of the 20th century, many of which pre-empt such science fiction classics as Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets and jawdropping production values, Metropolis stands today as a testament to Lang's ambitious vision of what cinema could be.


Posters


 

Theatrical Release: January 10th, 1927 - Germany

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 Comparison:

Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 8 - 2 disc) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Kino International - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

1) Eureka (Masters of Cinema - 2 disc) PAL Region 2 - LEFT

2) Kino International - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

DVD Box Covers

 

g

Standard [Reconstructed & Restored] Blu-ray:

Steelbook [Reconstructed & Restored] Blu-ray:

Distribution

Eureka - Masters of Cinema # 8

Region 2 - PAL

Kino International
Region 1 - NTSC
Kino International
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Masters of Cinema
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:58:32 (No PAL speedup as it was intended at 25 fps) 1:58:24 (taken from PAL master at 25 fps) 2:28:54.133 2:29:20.416
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.75 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.22  mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 48,237,376,490 bytes

Feature Size: 37,785,661,440 bytes

Average Bitrate: 26.74 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc Size: 49,783,875,519 bytes

Feature Size: 40,108,497,984 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.93 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Eureka

 

Bitrate:

Eureka (disc2)

 

Bitrate:

 

Kino

 

Bitrate:

 

Kino Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

 

MoC Blu-ray

 

Audio • Musical Score Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround by Gottfried Huppertz (448 kbps)
• Musical Score Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono by Gottfried Huppertz (224 kbps)
• Audio Commentary by Enno Patalas in German or in English

• Musical Score Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround by Gottfried Huppertz
• Musical Score Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono by Gottfried Huppertz

DTS-HD Master Audio 3022 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3022 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps /
24-bit) - Gottfried- Huppertz Score
LPCM Audio 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
- Gottfried- Huppertz Score
DTS-HD Master Audio 2129 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2129 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps /
16-bit)
- Gottfried- Huppertz Score
DTS-HD Master Audio 1669 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1669 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 896 kbps / 24-bit)
- Gottfried- Huppertz Score
Commentary: DTS-HD Master Audio 1662 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1662 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles Intertitles: German
Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish, Italian (all removable)
Cardboard intertitles: English
Subtitles: French, Spanish, none
English Intertitles but English subtitles are non-removable for German text signs, Tomb writings, books, hand-written letters etc. Intertitles: German
Subtitles: English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Eureka Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Original 1927 Orchestral Score By Gottfried Huppertz Newly Arranged By Berndt Heller
•  Full Length Audio Commentary By Enno Patalas
•  28-page Booklet containing extensive restoration notes by Martin Koerber, writing by Otto Hunte, Günther Rittau, Aenne Willkomm, Brigitte Helm, Rudolf Arnheim and a newly revised and updated essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum.
•  The Metropolis Case A Making Of Documentary
•  Restoration Documentary
•  Production Stills
•  Posters
•  Costume Designs
•  Stills Of Missing Scenes
•  Architectural Sketches
•  German Intertitles

DVD Release Date: January 25th, 2005
Double Slim transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 33

Release Information:
Studio: Kino International

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by film historian Enno Patalas
• Commentary subtitles in English, French, and Spanish
• 5.1 surround sound of newly recorded orchestral score
• "The Metropolis Case": a 43-minute documentary by Enno Patalas (with English, French, and Spanish subtitles)
• Restoration featurette (with English, French, and Spanish subtitles)
• Photo galleries featuring production stills, missing scenes, architectural sketches, and poster artwork
• 13 cast and crew biographies
• Facts and dates

• 5 page liner notes by Martin Koerber

DVD Release Date: February18th, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: 33

Release Information:
Studio: Kino International

Disc Size: 48,237,376,490 bytes

Feature Size: 37,785,661,440 bytes

Average Bitrate: 26.74 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:

The Voyage to Metropolis: a never-before-seen 50-minute documentary on the making and restoration of Metropolis (54:42 in HD)
• Interview with Paula Felix-Didier, curator of the Museo del Cine, in Buenos Aires (9:31 in HD!)
• Trailer to the 2010 restoration (2:01 in HD)

Blu-ray  Release Date: November 23rd, 2010
Standard
Blu-ray  Case inside 3D cardboard slipcase
Chapters: 21

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka Video

 

Disc Size: 49,783,875,519 bytes

Feature Size: 40,108,497,984 bytes

Average Bitrate: 27.93 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• Wraparound embossed sleeve
• New 2010 symphony orchestra studio recording of the original 1927 Gottfried Huppertz score in 5.1
• Newly translated optional English subtitles as well as the original German intertitles
• Full-length audio commentary by David Kalat and Jonathan Rosenbaum
• Die Reise nach Metropolis (2010, 53 minutes), a documentary about the film
• 2010 re-release trailer
• 56-page booklet featuring archival interviews with Fritz Lang, a 1927 review by Luis Buñuel, articles by Jonathan Rosenbaum and Karen Naundorf, and restoration notes by Martin Koerber

Blu-ray Release Date: November 22nd, 2010
Custom
Blu-ray Case(s)
Chapters: 23

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' Blu-ray - (November 2010) -  The Masters of Cinema Metropolis Blu-ray comes in two flavors; Both are 'reconstructed and restored' and both, presumably, the exact same 1080P transfer. One, however is a standard (with lone Blu-ray disc noted by the Blue-sticker) and the other is housed in a  'steelbook' case (noted by a green-sticker) and has the 2-disc DVD set (noted by a red-sticker) - available HERE - also included... and so labeled a "dual-format' package.

The visual differences between the US and UK Blu-rays is too minute to make issue with. I had my wife do a double-blind test, using my 60" system, on 3 separate scenes and I wasn't able to state with any certainty which edition one was playing. Technically we can give this to the Masters of Cinema transfer though which has a higher overall disc space size, larger file size for the 2.5 hour feature - by about 2.5 Gig - and hence, a higher video bitrate. Perhaps someone with a sharper eye or larger system could note any disparity.

NOTE: If you are keen enough to find a difference in the screen captures below - be aware that it is possible that I didn't match the exact frame and, more importantly, that in-motion these minor differences can be virtually imperceptible. Both are from the same source and both 1080 progressive.

Audio is likewise indistinguishable - both with two lossless DTS-Master tracks (5.1 and 2.0 channel) of the Gottfried- Huppertz score as performed by the Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Berlin - conducted by Frank Strobel. It sounds so majestic and rich - really magnificently supporting the onscreen visuals.

So, what are the differences? - well, like the DVD editions, Masters of Cinema have recreated the theatrical 'feeling' using the original German intertitles cards - with English subtitle translation optional. I rate this as a huge difference almost akin to a DUB vs. original language audio. Personally, I am put far deeper into the mood and aware of the historical significance of what I am watching. Also the Masters of Cinema subtitle translation is more complete and accurately worded (see our sample below). My Momitsu confirms that the UK disc is region 'B'-locked.

The other ginormous difference is in the extras.  The MoC matches the Kino with the never-before-seen 54-minute documentary on the making and restoration of Metropolis entitled The Voyage to Metropolis (Die Reise nach Metropolis) and the 2010 restoration trailer. What we lose is the 10-minute interview with Paula Felix-Didier, curator of the Museo del Cine, in Buenos Aires. BUT what we gain is fabulous - a full-length audio commentary, recorded in March of 2010, by David Kalat (who, generally, handles production history) and Jonathan Rosenbaum (discussing critical perspectives - also impressions from other journalists). They work very well together and discuss the enduring legacy of Lang's Sci-fi classic, revelations contained in the newly found footage, the power of the images and film language utilized by the iconic director among many other details. It's fabulous - fairly low key - but brimming with relevant information. Possibly this is my favorite commentary of the 2010 year. Lastly, included in the package is a magnificent 56-page booklet featuring archival interviews with Fritz Lang, a 1927 review by Luis Buñuel, articles by Jonathan Rosenbaum and Karen Naundorf, and restoration notes by Martin Koerber. Masters of Cinema handily wins in the supplements department.

It's hard to put into words the importance of this reconstructed film. With the incorporation of the newly found footage this is the most complete we have been able to see Metropolis since January 10th, 1927. With the important supplements the Masters of Cinema should rank as one of the top 3 packages of the entire year. It's a must-own for those in region 'B' or with region-free equipment. It has our highest recommendation! Bravo to Nick Wrigley and the MoC gang... you have my utmost respect.  

 - Gary W. Tooze

***

ADDITION: Kino - Region FREE Blu-ray - (November 2010) -  Firstly, despite information to the contrary - this is indeed a region FREE Blu-ray.

This is the 'Complete' edition with the 25-minutes of found footage.

While I don't think the captures do justice to the image in-motion, I'd like to reserve the bulk of my comments for when we add the Masters of Cinema Blu-ray to this comparison. I have a sneaking suspicion it will 'best' the Kino... on every front. The Kino looks as good, or maybe slightly superior, to the TCM broadcast I saw the other night. It is impressive - contrast has improved over their flawed Kino DVD and we no longer have the improper standards conversion issue to deal with. No rounded corners or pictureboxing either. The 'found' sequences that are scattered throughout the film are pretty rough (see samples below) with extensive scratches and not full 1.33 frames.

We get two lossless tracks - both with the Gottfried- Huppertz score. A DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a buoyant 3022 kbps and a linear PCM in 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps. Both are performed by the Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Berlin - conducted by Frank Strobel. They sound great - very lively and the surround has some separations and deepness in the bass. Kino have the pre-translated intertitles and enforced subtitles for the German text segments. My Momitsu has verified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

Kino haven't brought over the commentary and supplements include The Voyage to Metropolis: a never-before-seen 55-minute documentary on the making and restoration of Metropolis, an interview with Paula Felix-Didier, curator of the Museo del Cine, in Buenos Aires for less than 10-minutes and a 2010 restoration trailer. All are in HD!

Stay tuned - we will add significantly to these comments after we have added the Masters of Cinema 1080P edition.

***

ON THE DVDs: The Kino appears to be a classic example of PAL-NTSC ghosting derived from improper conversion. The Kino - Region 1- NTSC edition uses the same PAL master from the German Transit-Universum (Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung), BUT they did not pre-convert to NTSC for their standards' (Region 1) audience. I imagine it was done for monetary reasons as it was far less expensive than paying for the conversion. Unfortunately, the result is that those viewing the Kino edition DVD will see all the prevalent flaws that this common transference practice produces - 'ghosting' in motion sequences (see below), blurriness, artifacts and in this case some dis-colorization. I find the Kino has a blueish tinge to the more grey sequences. For purists, another huge difference is that the Kino have pre-translated the title cards from their original German into English. This is totally out-of-place or anyone respecting this films origins. The Eureka intertitles can be optionally subtitled.

The Eureka edition (an exact duplicate of the Transit German DVD, and marginally less expensive) is on 2 discs - pushing the The Metropolis Case A Making Of Documentary to its own 2nd DVD thereby not impinging on the data storage/transfer of the feature film. The Eureka menus give an initial offering of 5 language choices.

Side-by-side comparison shows how much better the Eureka DVD looks, with incredible greyscale, detail, definition and without any of the visible artifacts on the Kino.

NOTE: The Kino version carries an English version of the commentary written by Enno Patalas but spoken by an actor reading Patalas' words. Kino refer to this as "Audio commentary by Enno Patalas".

The MoC version, like the German Transit version, features two separate audio recordings of the commentary. One is Patalas speaking in German (with English subtitles), the other, the English re-recording as featured on the Kino disc.

Kino squashed everything onto one disc, got rid of the German language commentary, and converted from 25fps PAL to NTSC.

The MoC and Transit versions are 25fps film (not 24fps) transferred directly to 25fps PAL.

NOTE: DVDBeaver has placed the Eureka DVD on its Top 100 List and also elevated it to the status of an Essential DVD. This is definitely a reason to buy a region-free player if you live in an NTSC country.

 - Gary W. Tooze

 


Associated Reading  (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)



DVD Menus

(Eureka (Masters of Cinema - 2 disc) PAL Region 2
- LEFT vs. Kino International - Region 1- NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray LEFT vs. Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

 

 


 

Intertitle Samples

 

NOTE: Eureka DVD uses the original German intertitles, while the Kino have replaced with English.

 

 

1) Eureka (Masters of Cinema - 2 disc) PAL Region 2 - TOP

2) Kino International - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Eureka (Masters of Cinema - 2 disc) PAL Region 2 - TOP

2) Kino International - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE BELOW  TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Eureka (Masters of Cinema - 2 disc) PAL Region 2 - TOP

2) Kino International - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

NOTE: Classic 'ghosting' blurriness on the Kino International DVD during motion sequences!

 


1) Eureka (Masters of Cinema - 2 disc) PAL Region 2 - TOP

2) Kino International - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Eureka (Masters of Cinema - 2 disc) PAL Region 2 - TOP

2) Kino International - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

SUBTITLING

NOTE: Non-original graphics on the Kino International DVD!

 


1) Eureka (Masters of Cinema - 2 disc) PAL Region 2 - TOP

2) Kino International - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Eureka (Masters of Cinema - 2 disc) PAL Region 2 - TOP

2) Kino International - Region 1- NTSC - SECOND

3) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

NOTE: Once again 'ghosting' is prevalent on the Kino DVD edition - see Maria's right forearm on boys back)

 

Found Footage (Click to enlarge)

 

More Blu-ray captures

 

1) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino (Complete Edition) - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Masters of Cinema Blu-ray

DVD Box Covers

 

g

Standard [Reconstructed & Restored] Blu-ray:

Steelbook [Reconstructed & Restored] Blu-ray:

Distribution

Eureka - Masters of Cinema # 8

Region 2 - PAL

Kino International
Region 1 - NTSC
Kino International
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Masters of Cinema
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray




 

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