January 10 – Premiere of a Silent Classic


Posted on January 10, 2018

If you know anything about
Art Deco, you will see this
art movement's influence
on this movie.

If you don't know anything
about Art Deco - well,
go check it out!
Have you ever heard of the movie Metropolis?

This science fiction movie is rated one of the top movies of all time (sometimes as high as #12, of all movies!) - yet many people have never heard of it!

On the other hand, this movie is so old, it not only doesn't have Surround Sound, it has no sound track at all!

That's right, one of the greats (according to many film lovers) is a silent movie! 

On this date in 1927, German filmmaker Fritz Lang released his feature-length futuristic film Metropolis to an audience in Berlin. There was applause - but there may have also been boos. (Reports vary.) The film was ahead of its time in visuals and in special effects - but it some critics thought it was unconvincing, or foolish, or even cliché.  The film was also thought by many to be too long (it lasted 153 minutes - which is more than 2 and a half hours), and after the premiere, the studio cut it down into a shorter version of about 115 minutes (less than two hours); that shorter version was released to audiences in the UK and the US.

Unfortunately, this shorter version messed a lot with the plot.

And, if you found yourself wondering how anyone could have a plot with no sound, remember that silent movies had title cards and intertitles - pieces of filmed, printed text spliced into photographed action - text that provided either dialogue or narrative information that couldn't be expressed with visuals alone.

Apparently, it was really hard for modern movie lovers to find a copy of Lang's original, uncut work. Finally, in 2008, a damaged print was found in the basement of a museum - in far-away Argentina! The film was restored - mostly, and in a difficult and time-consuming process - and in 2010, audiences in Berlin and Frankfurt were able to see the original movie, in all its lengthy glory.

Also on this date:

Farmer Charles Ingalls's birthday

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