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(aka "Metropolis" )

 

directed by Fritz Lang
Germany 1984

Before the multiple restoration efforts (starting with Enno Patalas in 1986), Fritz Lang's masterpiece METROPOLIS was largely viewable in cinema club and library 16mm prints. In 1984, composer Giorgio Moroder (FLASHDANCE) turned Lang's film into a cult hit with his rock-scored, color-tinted, sound effects-enhanced Dolby Stereo edition. The original intertitles and some additional subtitles (intertitles superimposed over the action rather than on black) were derived from a combination of the film's script, a novelization, and various prints, and the tints were reportedly based on Lang's instructions; as such, it could qualify as a sort of restoration even though it recovered no additional footage, and featured added visual effects. The score features some of Moroder's best work as well as some of his worst. In the best moments, music and image come together and transform Lang's film literally into an eighties music video; and in some rarer moments, the modern music accompanies the action as suitably as the vintage cues that traditionally accompanied silent films (at least, for those of us who have only seen films like these in 16mm and videotape). In many other instances, vocal numbers awkwardly fade out at the ends of scenes, while Jon Anderson's otherwise fine "Cage of Freedom" seems ill-suited to the sequence it underscores ("overscores" might be a better description). Of Moroder's American scoring work to this point, his synth passages most resemble his work on Paul Schrader's CAT PEOPLE (more so the album versions of the cues than the film versions) - and perhaps THE NEVERENDING STORY - almost equating Lang's future world with the fantasy lands of the former two films. The standout instrumental cue underscores the Robot Maria's Grace Jones-like debut at Fredersen's lavish party, while the standout Moroder-scored vocals include Billy Squier's "On Your Own", Bonnie Tyler's "Here She Comes", and Cycle V's "Blood from a Stone" (with all respect to Pat Benatar, the thrice-used "Here's My Heart" is one of the less interesting songs).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 10 August 1984

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DVD Review: Eureka Video (Steelbook Edition) - Region 2 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Eureka Video

Region 2 - NTSC

Runtime 1:23:00
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: ~9.0 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio Music-only Dolby Digital 5.1; Music-only Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Eureka Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• THE FADING IMAGE vintage documentary (4:3; 17:55)

DVD Release Date: 23 July 2012
Steelbook

Chapters 15

 

Comments

Eureka's dual-layered, progressive NTSC Region 2 DVD of the Giorgio Moroder version of METROPOLIS is newly mastered from HD, but don't expect the image to be on-par with the restorations of the Lang original. Moroder's version was created using materials available before any of the restoration attempts; and, one might argue, that the scratches, dings, and frame wobbling are part of the texture of Moroder's version (and the restoration technology of the time).

The film, of course, runs considerably shorter than the restorations because 1) it lacks the recovered footage of some of the subsequent restorations, and 2) it runs at sound speed out of necessity to synchronize with the 1984 soundtrack. A 5.1 remix is offered in addition to the 2.0 rendering - itself encoded at 320 kbps instead of the standard 192 for 2-channel Dolby Digital tracks - of the already enveloping Dolby Stereo original mix. The sole extra is the 1984 documentary THE FADING IMAGE about his reconstruction of Lang's film and the state of other silent films during that period.

Eureka's steelbook edition is limited, and a regular keepcase edition will be released in October (HERE).

Eureka has also released the Lang original as part of their "Masters of Cinema" collection (HERE). The 2005 Region 2 PAL 2-disc edition featured the 2001 restoration with an audio commentary by Enno Patalas (who attempted one of the first orthodox restorations following Moroder's version). This edition has been replaced in 2010 - with an additional rediscovered 25 minutes of footage - with a Blu-Ray (HERE) and Region 2 NTSC DVD (HERE) with exclusive extras, including a new commentary (a limited edition dual-format steelbook [HERE] was available but is not out of print).

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Eureka Video

Region 2 - NTSC

 




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